A helmet on screen in the entry of the Vicis headquarters setting up in Seattle’s South Lake Union community in December 2019. ( CommunityPhoto / Kurt Schlosser)
Soon after a unexpected downfall past year that still left large-tech soccer helmet maker Vicis out of funds and no longer in small business, a New York Town expenditure company has purchased the property of the failed Seattle startup out of receivership, with options to type a new enterprise.
Innovatus Cash Companions paid out $2.85 million for Vicis’s belongings pursuing a 3-thirty day period method to salvage what was remaining of Vicis, in accordance to King County Superior Court docket information. In October, Innovatus made a $18 million investment decision in Litchfield, Il.-primarily based Schutt, a person of the foremost U.S. soccer helmet brands and a Vicis rival.
Previously: What took place to Vicis: Within the collapse of the substantial-tech helmet maker, as board decides its fate
“Under new possession from Innovatus Funds Associates, Vicis and our belongings will variety a new organization in order to satisfy our mission of protecting athletes of all ages,” a concept reads on Vicis’ site. “Together, we will proceed to apply our passion and knowledge in engineering, drugs, and activity to elevate the sport for this year and several to arrive.”
Court docket files demonstrate that Innovatus was the only bidder for Vicis’ assets, even while acquisition inquiries were despatched to additional than 100 possible buyers. Innovatus originally agreed to shell out $3.1 million but negotiated a more cost-effective price because of to uncertainty with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Just one resource close to the receivership procedure said several buyers balked at making an supply because of to the difficult mother nature of the helmet manufacturing approach, particularly for groups with little industry experience. The COVID-19 outbreak was also a component in discouraging bids. Traders are extra careful with their spending, and it is unclear when soccer at all levels will be allowed specified the social distancing mandates place in spot.
Court filings also demonstrate that Riddell, the major U.S. football helmet company, threatened to sue Vicis past thirty day period over alleged patent infringement. Riddell and Schutt have fought over patents for additional than a 10 years as the two goal to establish a better soccer helmet amid ongoing worries about participant protection.
Previous Seattle Seahawks huge receiver Doug Baldwin sports the Vicis Zero1 helmet in a preseason video game in opposition to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs back again in 2017. Baldwin was also an investor in Vicis. ( CommunityPhoto / Kevin Lisota)
Vicis was a 1-time Seattle startup standout that elevated in surplus of $85 million from more than 400 buyers just after spinning out of the University of Washington in 2014. Top engineers and health-related industry experts created a helmet with several, specialised layers developed to mitigate the impacts thought to trigger concussions.
Last yr the enterprise experienced extra than 20 NFL groups with a starter who wore its helmet, and 180 faculty plans had bargains with Vicis. The enterprise also produced inroads with youth football. Its youth helmet rated to start with in Virginia Tech’s inaugural youth football helmet safety rankings by a important margin and was named to Time Magazine’s 100 Best Innovations of 2019. Vicis also frequently positioned to start with in the NFL’s helmet protection take a look at and reviewed designs to build helmets for other sports.
But as Communitypreviously claimed, the company ran into many complications more than the earlier handful of many years. Insiders say the firm place too significantly concentrate on grabbing current market share from incumbents these as Riddell and Schutt, rather than turning a earnings. The difficulties came as a surprise to some shareholders. Vicis was not able to elevate a lot more cash in advance of shutting down the company and laying off far more than 100 workers in December.
Related: Seem at this mad cap desk: Almost 400 investors backed Vicis in advance of superior-tech helmet maker folded
Vicis reported $13.8 million in income very last year, with a net decline of $28.8 million, in accordance to receivership paperwork. The startup had a lot more than $10 million in pre-receivership liabilities.
Vicis backers — who misplaced their investments — involved present and previous NFL gamers Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Alex Smith, Roger Staubach, and Jerry Rice. Other backers involved popular backbone and neurological surgeons Cincinnati Reds minority proprietor Harry Fath angelMD W Fund Alliance of Angels and Trilogy Fairness Companions.
Vicis was launched by For each Reinhall, chair of the UW’s mechanical engineering office Samuel Browd, professor of neurological surgery at the UW and previous CEO Dave Marver, who stepped down in November. UW engineering professor Jonathan Posner is another co-founder he still left the corporation in 2015.
We’ve attained out to Innovatus and will update this tale when we have additional details.