US firm Doppler Labs has raised more than $51m since 2013 to make its range of smart headphones, telling media in 2015 that “we want to put a computer, speaker, and mic in everyone’s ear: We have very lofty visions of the future, everything from real-time translation to personal assistants.”
Yet those lofty visions are coming to naught: Doppler Labs is shutting down, after failing to secure new investment or get bought by one of the big technology companies.
Wired has a good feature explaining the downfall of a company that had close links with the music industry: it was operating out of Universal Music Group’s San Francisco office for a time.
Among the details: Doppler Labs sold 25k units of its Here One earbuds, having hoped for sales in the hundreds of thousands.
Founder Noah Kraft’s summary of Doppler Labs’ main mistake may give some other music-gadget companies collywobbles when they read it though: “We f***ing started a hardware business! There’s nothing else to talk about. We shouldn’t have done that…”