As you may know, we faced a lot of ups and downs in the past 3.5 years. We took up challenges like securing initial funding with our very own money to get things started, hiring people who believe in our idea, develop functional prototypes, creating a crowdfunding campaign in order to let interested people like you participate in this history-influencing product, preparing for production, facing product quality issues as well as positive and negative press. Just to mention a few. The whole Amabrush team worked so hard in the past years and many of you participated in a great way to realize our common dream – a 10-seconds toothbrush.
Unfortunately, we need to inform you that our journey comes to an unplanned end. Amabrush has to file for insolvency today. We are really sorry that we don’t have any better news for you. Still, we want to share every detail with you and wrap up our history, so that you can understand what brought us to this point.
Marvin started to develop the first 10-seconds toothbrush prototype in his living room in the evening besides his regular job. After investing his whole private capital for materials and tools, he teamed up with additional engineers in order to finish development and engineering of prototypes and pre-production units. Back then, a government grant boosted development further. Several months later, we decided to use the great opportunity of crowdfunding to connect with you: like-minded entrepreneurs, early adopters and technology-enthusiasts who are willing to try new and unfamiliar things. The raised funds were needed for high upfront expenses for tooling, development, certifications, studies and minimum quantity purchases.
Thanks to you, the success of our crowdfunding campaign was overwhelming – we reached our funding goal within just one hour. We had a really stressful, yet good time with you during these days. However, as some of you have already pointed out while and after our campaign, too many orders for a small start-up lead to many unpredictable and unforeseeable challenges.
Switch to other Manufacturers
Due to the sheer amount of pre-orders, we had to switch to manufacturers that were able to handle mass production. The search for a capable manufacturer took substantially more time as expected and we invested a lot of money for advisors, who were supposed to support us in finding high quality suppliers. An Austrian sourcing group was commissioned with the task of finding a capable manufacturer, and after talks with many European manufacturers, the decision was been made to partner up with an Asian producer together with an Austrian counterpart. Unfortunately, most of the European producers were hesitant to work with us, due to our complex mouthpiece, as they needed to manufacture the Amabrush fully automated in order to keep prices at an acceptable level for you. However, automated machines are expensive and building a working production line for this almost certainly comes with delays and unexpected costs. As Asian producers “tend to accept every challenge” and our timeline for fulfillment was quite tight, we thought this is the perfect decision to go with this manufacturer option.
In the beginning everything looked promising, despite some small contradictions which we thought were normal with such enormous and novel projects. But in October 2018 it was clear that both partners were not able to keep up with the promised performances. Not only were we forced to take over a lot of engineering steps that were clearly the task of our manufacturer, furthermore we also needed to change a subcontractor for a very crucial component – the mouthpiece – as this subcontractor was totally unsuitable for the given task. After several improvement loops we decided to ditch the Austrian counterpart completely, and to take over the task of quality assurance and production engineering as a whole. This was a costly, time-consuming and legally very tough task that was absolutely crucial in order to keep things rolling. We were not planning to take over the task of production-engineering anytime soon as this is not our expertise, but we had to. We expanded our team with great and capable people, who are experienced in this area, so that we can smooth out production related issues very soon.
Early this Year
Because of the above mentioned problems, we faced high and unexpected costs, as well as several delivery delays and high product replacement rates. This led to a lot of negative feedback from you, which was definitely understandable. Some of you gave us great and valuable feedback, and some a lot of critics. We tried to implement every single concern and critics we got from you into development and production. Due to our efforts to take over the task of quality assurance and our expanded team, we were able to drop quality defects tremendously after some weeks.
Additional Funding Needed
Due to those unexpected costs caused by the bigger team and other factors mentioned above, we realized that additional funding was needed to cover not only the ongoing production and fulfillment, but also the development of side products and next generation products. Talks with several investors who were eager to invest were held till date and we put a lot of effort into looking for new funding.
Self-Appointed Consumer Protector
Beginning with April 2019, a private association for consumer rights, founded and run by an Austrian politician, who left his political party because of internal troubles, decided to focus on Amabrush on of his first projects. Well connected with the media world, he needed a story to raise attention.. He sent a statement about Amabrush to public prosecutors to let them decide on the truthfulness of the statement. Knowingly or not, critical facts in this statement are simply false. No matter the lacking merits of the allegations – the story about criminal proceedings was out and the damage was done for Amabrush, as the word has spread also to the very important German market. At this time, we were in final rounds with two independent investors (venture capitalists), who decided to skip the current funding round as they were – understandably – concerned about this whole situation.
Forced to hire a professional press agency as well as lawyers and additional costs later, we came to the conclusion that a positive forecast for the continued existence of our business is not possible anymore. Such determinations requires us to file for insolvency under Austrian law. This was a hard pill to swallow for us, as many good things are in the pipeline right now, and we thought that we are on a good track for a stable future – after several years of hurdles and obstacles. The situation is hard for us, but to tell you about it, is even harder. We are deeply sorry for this current situation and we can not thank you enough for your great participation along this journey. We want to sincerely thank you for your trust that you have placed in us, this idea and our product.
As we’ve mentioned several times, we really appreciate your support. Without you, we weren’t able to get this far. Actually, at least we all together managed to realize a first version of a 10 seconds toothbrush. This idea wouldn’t be real, without you. However, we strongly apologize
- that not all of you received a unit,
- that for some Amabrush didn’t meet their expectations and
- that those of you who are happy with their Amabrush will not receive any further supplements.
We want to assure to you that we have done everything in our power to avoid this situation. We learned a lot and we’d be happy to share our experiences with all who want to realize their ideas. So do not hesitate to contact us. We encourage you not to stop supporting and believing in novel and innovative ideas that rethink the status quo and that promise to make the world a better place. We will keep fighting for our idea and project. We truly wish you the best of luck and we hope that one day our paths will cross again – with great benefits for you.
What Happens Next
The company will now be handed over to a trusted (most of the times a lawyer with good business knowledge) appointed by the Commercial Court Vienna (Handelsgericht Wien), who will be in charge of taking the next decisions. Please consider the official message from the Court trusted, which will possibly be posted here in the next few days.