How Sleek AF Biker Helmet Startup SKULLY Went Bankrupt
Back in 2013, two brothers, Marcus and Mitchell Weller, founded SKULLY with the goal of revolutionizing the motorcycle industry.
But somewhere along the way, they said screw it and went on a bunch of vacations and bought sports cars instead… using other people’s money.
In the beginning…
The Weller brothers had a dream: let’s make motorcycle helmets that Tony Stark would be proud of, complete with transparent screens in the visor for GPS directions, a rearview camera, and voice control.
The idea quickly gained momentum, and before they knew it, Marcus and Mitchell had $2.4m in the bank, courtesy of 2,200 backers on Indiegogo.
They then raised an additional $11m within 6 months of launching and things were looking bright, to say the least.
Flash forward to last month…
After struggling to hit its shipping dates, SKULLY (yes, all caps) brought in the former VP of HTC North America, Martin Fichter, to fix the problem.
But despite Fichter promising that the company would deliver 400 helmets by the end of the July, not a single one shipped.
Then, a few weeks later, the company filed for bankruptcy and shut its doors, leaving early backers who had pre-ordered helmets for $1,400 with nothing to show for it.
But it gets worse…
According to a recent lawsuit filed by a former SKULLY employee, the whole thing was a sham, and the Weller brothers used corporate accounts as their “personal piggy banks.”
Specific examples of things they purchased include 2 Dodge Vipers, an Audi R8, and a $2k trip to the strip club.
The former employee, who was responsible for the company’s bookkeeping, claims Marcus and Mitchell routinely demanded she conceal the true nature of expenses by entering them in as legitimate business expenses when they clearly weren’t.
Friendly reminder: Most of the time, crowdfunding is great. Other times, you get SKULLY-ed.