Category Archives: investors

Space Nation comes full circle

“Space Nation konkurssi” Google suosittelee, kun etsii firmaa sieltä. Tuore tilinpäätös puhuu samaa kieltä.

As promised – here is the 5/2018 balance of “space tourism company” Space Nation Oy (formerly Cohu Experience Ltd) from Helsinki, Finland.

SpaceNation balance 2018 (PDF)

Initial sales from the Space Nation Navigator game app were negligible: Revenue was 4006€ (I predicted 4000). The overall result is a 2,9M€ loss (my prognosis 4-6M).

Of the 5,2 million given by crowdfunders and other private investors last year, 58.000 was left in May 2018. That is probably burned yet, also. The company owed 1,2M to banks and addtional 952K to suppliers. In the books are mainly immaterial rights and contracts – such as the (non-commercial) Space Act Agreement with NASA. No substance.

Now that’s clearly a serious situation, which explains the abrupt stopping of the “Astronaut Training program” in August. The app’s downloads have come to a standstill by October. It’s not far-fetched to expect the app disappear from the Google Play Store and Apple Store within 12 months, as it happened to Cohu Experience’s first app, CarbonToSoil.

In time for Slush 2018, Space Nation seems to come full circle where it started two years ago.

Valkee: Turnover up 50% – 1 million loss as usual (update)

Korvavalofirman tilinpäätös 2/2018 loppuneelta tilikaudelta tuli julki. Liikevaihdon odotettu 50% kasvu toteutui, summa on lähes sama kuin 2013/2014. Henkilöstömäärä laski kuuteen. Tasesumma puolittui. Tappio on silti saman verran kuin viime vuonna, yli miljoonaa. Firman kulut olivat edelleen €1,10 jokaista liikevaihtoeuroa kohden.

Kokonaistappio on siis virallisesti ylittänyt 10M€-rajan. Viime vuosien huimat pääomalainat, jotka pitivät firmaa juuri ja juuri elossa, on tilinpäätösasiakirjoissa s.8 ja 9. Suurin ongelma lienee se, että uudet laitteet pitäisi valmistaa tuoreella rahalla. Tällä hetkellä myynti on nolla. Tilintarkastaja arvioi että Valkee tarvitsee pääomalainojen lisäksi uutta rahoitusta jatkaakseen toimintansa.

Valkee Balance 2018 (PDF)

The finnish earlight manufacturer Valkee Ltd has grown sales of its HumanCharger device again by 50%. With only 6 employees (peaked at 21 in 2014), the company made still roughly the same loss as last year, over €1 million. It survived until now on capital shot in by previous investors as convertible loans, amounting to 2-3 million in 2 years. Ernst&Young’s accountants suspect, that Valkee won’t exist through the present fiscal year, unless it gets substantial funding in addition to such loans.

Valkee has given up on Finland, where the HumanCharger is considered a national embarrassment. Sales to US “biohackers” susceptible to all kinds of such scams and supplements go well, especially since earlightswindle.com was unlawfully removed from Google’s index* and there’s no independent information available. (I’ll do nothing about that until the content on the classic site is updated.)

Still, all independent research to date has demonstrated that the fake “light therapy” through the ear canal has only a placebo effect. The company’s budget does not allow for new marketing “research”, and it seems no evidence is needed to ensure international sales.

 

*the important static site with all the key information about the Valkee case (under earlightswindle.com/index.htm and else) was removed, while the blog is still visible.  It looks like the content URLs were removed manually.

UPDATE 21.9.2018:
earlightswindle.com is back in the Google index. It wasn’t me!

“Avaruusyhtiö” Space Nation Oy kertoo olevansa vaikeuksissa [update]

Suomalainen “avaruusturismiyhtiö” Space Nation Oy kertoi eilen dramaattisessa ilmoituksessa sovelluksensa käyttäjille [>>] olevansa taloudellisissa vaikeuksissa. Tämä tuli vain päiviä viimeisen postaukseni jälkeen [>>], jossa varoitin juuri tästä kehityksestä.

Teksti muutettiin kun kirjoitin Twitterissä tästä [>>]. Ennen siinä luki we have encountered financial difficulties – nykyversio sanoo sen eri sanoissa

Eli varat ei riitä “astronauttiohjelman” jatkamiseen. Tämä on siksi erityisen vakava, koska astronauttiohjelma oli ainoa lupaava operatiivinen rahanlähde. Tässä vaiheessa kassavirta ei tule muualta kuin sovelluksesta, joka – lievästi sanottu – ei menestynyt*. Se saattaa nyt lisäksi sukeltaa, koska porkkanaa (avaruuslento) ei ole enää. Ainoa optio on nyt lisärahoitus yksityishenkilöistä.

Jo 10-14 päivää sitten jotkut sijoittajat yrittivät myydä osakkeensa Privanetin kautta pilkkahinnalla. Näyttää siltä, että sisäpiiri tiesi mikä oli tulossa.

Muutama päivä ennen Space Nation Oy:n hätäilmoitusta hinta laski jopa 3 Euroon. Tästä poliisi voisi ilman muuta aloittaa esitutkinnan.

On erikoista, että Privanet, joka on laskenut nuo osakkeet firman ohjeistuksesta liikkeelle, ei kerro mitään vielä. Pörsissä tästä olisi pakko tehdä julkinen varoitus. Tämä näyttää taas, että Privanetin asiakkaana olet heikossa asemassa jos sijoituskohteelle käy huonosti [>>]. Tietämättömästi joku voisi ostaa nyt Privanetin “jälkimarkkinnoilta” Space Nation-osakkeet ja ei olisi minkäänlaista mahdollisuutta selvittää, miten firmalle oikeasti menee.

Space Nation ei uskalla antaa uutta aikataulua, mikä on aivan ymmärrettävä, kun lähitulevaisuus on täysin epäselvä. Ja ennenkin firman aikataulut tuskin pitäneet paikkansa. Blogi informoi jatkossakin.

 

*käyttäjämäärän arvio: Google Play Store Downloads 10.000+ (20.8.2018) 4,5 kk jälkeen, eli 10.000 – 50.000 välimaastossa. Vasta Kesäkuussa ylitti 10.000. Alussa lineaarinen kasvu, viime aikana hidastunut. Tästä kertoo arvostelujen määrän kehitys, alkuryntäyksen 200 lisäksi tuli vain 20 enää kk:ssa 08-09/2018. Plus Apple-käyttäjät; 40.000 on siis ystävällisesti arvioitu.

UPDATE 26.8.2018: Kuvankaappaus.
& Joku riskisijoittaja tarjoaa nyt 1,00€ per osake. Antikurssista -93%. Liian kallis?
[EDIT muodollisuudet]

Finnish “space launch” misfired (Crowdsucking pt III)


[see Crowdsucking I and II]

Finnish “space tourism startup” Space Nation (formerly Cohu Experience) is struggling to get traction. Their astronaut training app Space Nation Navigator – which is actually a collection of simple space-themed mobile games – saw little success with the community. Instead of the astronomic user counts which they promised to investors, it hovers around 40.000. And that may be a stretch.

In December 2017, Space Nation forecasted 4.000.000 for today. In reality, they reached 1% of this already down-written prognosis. Even when the app’s late launch is taken into account, it missed the milestone by -90%.

 

The projection above is taken from a presentation for Space Nation shareholders which was circulated some 9 months ago. The company was mugging for fresh money, again collected by Finland’s Privanet Securities Oy.

The material was not for the general public, but it’s interesting because it gives insights into a failed strategy. Download it here: spacenation-investors.pdf.

 

Failed highjacking

A takeover of NASA’s MISSION X campaign was planned for Q4 2017. That would have been a major coup: Mission X reaches out to >100.000 school children worldwide, which would be a perfect (though ethically suspect) marketing base.

It did not happen. The only thing Space Nation took over was the slogan. They plagiated the theme.

 

Especially annoying: With Mission X, kids actually do train. With the Space Nation app, it’s the opposite. Only the least intelligent churnalists could mistake scratching around on a smartphone screen for something related to real astronaut training.

 

Financial turmoil

The planned profit of 84 million Euro by May 2018 evaporated in the corrected forecast. Now the financial result was projected to -2 million. Taken into account the low user recruitment, the real number could be -4 to -6 million. The company hasn’t made their last balance public. This blog will, when the documents become available.

However, it’s 90 million less than promised to their crowdfunders and other investors.

Another investment round, that was officially announced for Spring 2017, was called off without further notice. Space Nation aimed to pocket another 2,8M from the american crowdfunding platform fundable.com. The 625.000 Euro raised in Finland (according to Privanet) could hardly fix anything. The company will need more funding soon.

The stocks issued for €13,67/share in Februar and December 2017 last traded in March at €8 in the Privanet propietary platform. Now they’re offered like foul fish, but nobody is buying them for as low as 4,99. Desperate shareholders now have to stick with Space Nation at any cost.

 

Only one thing may rescue the risky enterprise: Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which is finally at the edge of commercial space flight. The space tourism pioneer could take Space Nation candidates on board – possibly in 2019. Space Nation could win a hard-fought over seat by promising Branson added publicity – but does Virgin need support from a finnish startup that has (quote) nothing than “an app and an idea”?

With the money already raised and the current fees, 20-30 people could go to space without the need for startup bullshit, Slush events, business models and merchandise.

Five years from now, when people think space, they will think Space Nation. (-a finnish entrepeneur)

ps. Like the earlight company Valkee Ltd, Space Nation is a client of finnish PR hazardeurs Netprofile Oy. Bingo!

pps. Valkee is no longer able to purchase such services, unlike Space Nation, which is midways in its Gaussian-shaped carreer.

Valkee Humancharger shutdown – temporary or final?

This blog – as the previous earlightswindle.com – was once reporting exclusively about the multifaceted scamming activities of finnish company Valkee Ltd, maker of the fake “light therapy device” HumanCharger.

Now it seems they are finally phasing out of business. The company is technically bankrupt since March 2017, but now

The finnish trade register says, that in May 2018 the main shareholders LifeLine Ventures, Vera and Merieux forgave the company another 230.000€ convertible loan; i.e. was converted into worthless shares. The same happened to several other such loans during the last two years, rising the amount of burnt money to more than 10 million Euro.

The next months will now be decisive. I am looking forward and will inform as always.

Vihdoin tieteellisesti todettu: Ac-Kysteiini ei auta krapulaan

NAC (N-Asetyyli-L-Kysteiini) sisältäviä “krapulapillereitä” on hyvin suosittuja, vaikka niiden todellisesta tehosta ei ollut tieteellistä näyttöä. Mutta nyt tulivat maailman ensimmäiset lumekontrolloidut tutkimustulokset julki.

Ne koskevat Rohtos Oy:n kohuttuja SUOJA-kapselia ja toissijaisesti myös L-kysteiinivalmisteita: BioHitin Acetium sekä Catapult Cat. Nämä ovat Suomen myydyimmät “krapulalääkkeet”. Niitä myydän myös ulkomaille.

NAC eli Asetyylikysteiini ei auta krapulaan.

 

Mikä tutkimus?

Lumekontrolloitu krapulapilleri-tutkimus tehtiin jo Elo-Joulukuussa 2015 Yhdysvalloissa. Järjestäjänä toimi St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network Pennsylvaniassa.

Siihen osallistui 62 henkilöä. 2/3 olivat miehiä. 49:n tuloksia pystyttiin käyttämään analyysissa. Heidät satunnaistettiin kahteen ryhmään (23:26), jossa jokainen toimi sekä toisen että oman kontrollihenkilönä (nk. crossover-tutkimus).

Osallistujille juotettiin olutta, kunnes puhalluskokeella saatiin 1,0 promille-lukemaa. Bierdeckel-menetelmällä* lasketun olutannoksen perusteella annettiin 600mg asetyylikysteiiniä sisältäviä kapseleita, 1 kps 3 annosta kohti. Toinen ryhmä sai lumekapseleita. Seuraavana aamuna tutkittavat täyttivät Hangover Symptom Score eli HSS-kyselylomakkeen.

Tulokset saattavat järkyttää NAC-kauppiaita ja heidän asiakkaita: Plasebolla oli identtinen vaikutus kuin NAC:lla. HSS-pisteitä oli 0-35 ja 0-38. Tämä myös tarkoittaa, että krapulaa oikeasti saatiin aikaan. HSS voi maksimissaan olla 52.

Vielä pahemmin, NAC aiheutti huomattavasti enemmän sivuvaikutuksia. Asetyylikysteiini-ryhmästä aine toi haittoja 11/49:lle (22%). Lumeryhmän luku oli 4/49 (8%).

Tulokset saatiin julki ennen vertaisarvioitua julkaisua clinicaltrials.gov-rekisterin Study results-toiminnolla, jonka käyttö lakimuutosten takia yleistyy. Siihen voi ilmoittaa tuloksia perusmuodossa. Rekisteri tarkastelee niitä jkv. ja laittaa näkyviin yhteydessä tutkimuksen alkuperäiseen rekisterimerkintään.

Tärkeät tiedot vielä puuttuvat, esim. todellinen NAC- ja alkoholiannos. Kannattaa siis odottaa vertaisarvioitua julkaisua. Nämä tulokset silti “virallistettiin” jo. Se on eri asia kuin konferenssiposteri, jolla usein etukäteen tiedotetaan tuloksista, jotka ei välttämättä pääsekään journaliin. Toinen, vielä isompi tutkimus on samassa paikassa meneillään.

***

Tätä tulosta odotettiin maailmalla vuosikausia. Tarinoiden ja NAC-kauppiaiden lupausten perusteella käytetään NAC ja kysteiinivalmisteita laajasti “krapulan torjumiseen”. Tämä on todistettavasti humpuukia.

 

p.s.: Sanoma Media käytti taas luvatta blogini sisältöä. TS:n Krapulalääke-juttu toistaa kirjoituksiani [1] [2]. Second-hand-toimittaja toki ei tiennyt, että keskeiset faktat ja arvioinnit ovat vanhentuneet. Earlightswindle.com/gloom-blogi on uutisoinut asiasta ensimmäisenä maailmassa. Muistutan vielä, että lehdistökin ei saa käyttää muiden tuottama sisältöä ilman lupaa. Ollaan tarkkana.

/-Ed. | earlightswindle@gmail.com

*Bierdeckel-Methode: lasinaluselle tehdään merkintä aina kun anniskellaan. Näin tehdään kapakoissa Saksassa juoppojen laskuja. Tässä tutkimuksessa osallistujat saivat pahvisen kaularinkin, johon tehtiin reikä per annos.

Space Nation’s “office in space”

slush-spacenation

Finnish start-up Space Nation made headlines with their “office in space” on the ISS. For £17.000 the company has bought a box which should be used to fly “payloads” to the space station – an offer to research institutions, universities, etc.

Space Nation’s CEO Vähä-Jaakkola has shared information about that “office” in a presentation.

space-ad

The box looks like that (for comparison, a mid-size paper shopping bag at the right):

spacebox-photo

The bananas would unfortunately not fit into one of the subunits which Space Nation plans to rent out for more than $52.000. One would have to rent the next size (3U).

spacebox-costs

To be fair, Space Nation has made clear, that this will not be their core business.

However, their core business looks no more promising. The app has had somewhere 100 to 500 downloads in the first week and is losing traction. Space Nation had planned with 100.000 users daily.

Will a finnish startup “democratize space travel”?

After failing all previous deadlines, finnish cross-media startup Space Nation Oy (formerly Cohu Experience Oy) is set to launch its long-awaited app tomorrow, 7th April 2018. The best users are to take part in a reality-TV “astronaut boot camp” and, finally, one of them will go to space. At least, that’s the plan.

R3MP

The company promised high profits from the beginning and predicted a landslide success for their app, comparing it to Supercell’s Hay Day and Clash of Clans. But there are striking problems, which remained largely unclear to the crowdfunding investors that made the story possible.

 

The User Base

Gaming apps have different target groups and user base than Space Nation’s “astronaut training” app. Not everybody wants to go to space, and certainly it’s not even worth a try for most. Why should I take part in a contest I can’t win?

Me going to space?

Me going to space?

Space Nation promised several prizes and rewards to fix this. But is there a need for a “NASA-approved game app”?

 

No spaceflight, no TV rights

As I wrote before, there is no space flight in sight that would be available for Space Nation’s wannabe astronaut. Virgin Galactic has been “months away” from its first space tourist flight for more than a decade. SpaceX does not attempt manned flight in the near future, and BlueOrigin seems to be late still.

And what if there’d be really the possibility to send a reality-TV winner to space? That would mean, that space tourism is nothing special or interesting anymore. At a time when hundreds of fare-paying hobby astronauts did already go to space, a Space Nation candidate is just another civilian on a suborbital seat. The only difference is that he didn’t pay for the trip by himself.

 

Nothing won, nothing lost?

The probable course of events will be, that the app will generate some moderate income through in-app purchases. Micropayments will keep Space Nation Oy afloat for some time. The crowdfunders will not get their exorbitant returns, but if they are lucky, their losses may not be 100% of the investment.

The idea of financing a space trip through media rights is nothing new. The blueprint came from MarsOne, which is still existing (but failed). In the beginning, they managed to start a gigantic media hype – but they planned for something extreme, a mars mission. A several minutes suborbital flight, as promised by Space Nation, is not close to that in any way.

One thing seems clear already: Space Nation will hardly “democratize space flight“. That’s as if I’d promise to democratize wealth by means of a lottery. An illusion to keep users interested, as any lottery does by promising life-change through a jackpot win.

Crowdsucking

Privanet Securities Oy myy kyseenalaisten yritysten arvottomat osakkeet sijoittajille joukkurahoituslain avulla. Oululainen laturifirma Asmo Solutions Oy on jo konkursissa, mutta tämä oli vain jäävuoren huippu. “Megaluokan vedätykseksi” kutsuttu Space Nation (ent. Cohu Experience, ent. Cohu Entertainment) on johtanut sijottajia harhaan annin yhteydessä. Luvattu tuote ei vieläkään tullut, ja firma jäi jo yli 80 miljoona Euroa tavoitteestaan.

In February 2017, Privanet Securities announced a new record on its AROUND crowdfunding platform: Finnish startup Cohu Experience Oy had successfully raised more than €3,2 million from investors, the first million of which in only 43 minutes. The business idea was to organize a competition via a smartphone app, where the winner would be going to space. The app was announced for fall 2017, and the contest should begin in early 2018, with the first space flight in 2018 or 2019 at the latest.

Cohu Experience was founded as Cohu Entertainment. It renamed itself to Space Nation in Fall 2017. Its achievements have got a lot of media attention so far. It would have been better to check the facts every single time, instead of reprinting press releases.

 

The Forbes Fake

Cohu/Space Nation claimed in many press releases in 2017, as well as during its public offering, that “Forbes” had ranked it as Europe’s most promising company for 2017. It’s reassuring for a wannabe investor, when such a respected body analyses the offering company and confirms its great potential.

Privanet faking facts

Privanet faking facts

This was a complete fake.

In reality, there has never been such a ranking. A staff writter at a Forbes.com blog had composed an opinion piece, where he listed some interesting european start-ups, and accidentally Cohu was described first. The text says clearly, that it’s only a personal opinion – not a “Forbes list”, whatever that means.

forbes-fake

 

The NASA Agreement

The company told in September 2017, that it had entered a sensational (“giant leap”) agreement with NASA for broad-scale commercial cooperation “never heard of before“. In fact, this was a simple sign-up for a Space Act Agreement. NASA said that clearly in its own press release: The collaboration is limited to content provision, there is no further cooperation, and the agency has had similar agreements with other apps and educational programs before.

 

UNWTO Member

Cohu/Space Nation made the historic achievement to be the first UNWTO (affiliate) member from the space travel sector. This looks more profane with a glimpse at the other UNWTO affiliates on the same list: Space Nation meets Freixenet and the Santa Claus Foundation.

CU!

CU!

 

Office Space at the ISS

The space travel pioneer then announced it had bought “office space” at the ISS for rent to researchers or other interested customers. In fact, they paid £17.000 for a  50x50x30cm box. Space Nation gave conflicting accounts what to do with that box. Anyone could be sending a 10x10x10cm experiment to space – or SpaceNation could conduct “own exciting experiments”. Because it’s not a scientific organization, and has no competence whatsoever in the field, it’s obviously a £17.000 PR gag.

 

Where’s the money?

The bigger problem than the questionable PR stunts, however, is the failure to accomplish the milestones of Cohu/SpaceNation’s business plan. According to the documents published for the public offering, the company should reach a profit of nearly €84 million by May 2018.

Bold.

Bold.

That’s two months left to make 84 million.

The obvious reason is the still incomplete app. It was first announced for September 2017, then for early 2018, then February 2018, and it’s still not published. Even if it hits the market this year, and some kind of contest starts, there will be no spaceflight as promised.

Virgin Galactic, the only possible carrier for SpaceNation’s suborbital flight, was booked out in May 2017 until 2021. 650 More than 700 persons were are already on the waiting list. Even if SpaceNation has booked in advance (which should be impossible, VG only accepts individual applications): regular flights have to start yet with the VG spacecraft still undergoing tests. There is no TV content or licensing rights to sell yet.

Stupid money is out there

While I would certainly love to see a civilian going to space, organized by a finnish space travel start-up, it doesn’t look good. Space Nation promises that the app would produce income and user retention as did Supercell with HayDay or Clash of Clans. But space travel and everything related to astronaut training is still more complicated – and actually more boring –  than building virtual farms with your thumb on a smartphone. The sky does not look as good on a 5 inch screen as it does from the Hubble Telescope.

SpaceNation will need more money soon. And if the whole project does not work out, you can still blame it on the many unforeseeable problems and players. SpaceNation then could rename itself and start something totally different, with fresh funds from new investors. Cohu Experience did so, after their CarbonToSoil project failed.

But that’s a different story.

UPDATE 27.3.2018: SPACENATION CEO Kalle Vähä-Jaakkola told that “the app will launch in March, and the rest is history”. That’s 2 days on, if it’s not to happen on Christianity’s holiest weekend (which would be idiotic, to say the least.)

Look’s like an Olkiluoto app.

HumanCharger’s “global breakthrough” fake

Last autumn I came across a deceptive piece praising Valkee and its HumanCharger at goodnewsfinland.com (part of Finpro, a state-run agency). I complained to the editors about the fake news they spread, prompting them to delete most of the misinformation from the text. It took several weeks, and there is no mention of the changes in the article.

The diff is documented here, as a perfect example of how Valkee deceives others, which in turn deceive people about the HumanCharger.

fakenews1

The Interbrand report of 2017’s “breakthrough brands” was a marketing stunt for the HumanCharger. In the small print, the report admits that companies could submit themselves and their stories were not challenged (p. 61 in the PDF). An embarrassing glitch for Interbrand: They faithfully listed what Valkee said, although the company should not be even in there. The limit for inclusion was 10 years in business and the HumanCharger company was already older than 10 years – it was founded in February 2007, and the product is even older.

Then it gets absurd: Interbrand has never “valued HumanCharger’s brand at 64,67 million”. Impossible – it’s a known scam, and as such, a toxic brand in Finland and most of Europe. The 65 million was, back in 2013, the valuation, i.e. investors paid ~10 million for a 16% stake, which put the whole company in theory at 65 million.

This is fairly outdated. Valkee lost its share capital and is now worth Zero.

65 million x 0/share = 0

That the earlight does not work by “stimulating the brain” is clear, at least to everybody who had ever to do with neuroscience. Silently deleted.

fakenews2

The name of the notified body or its claimed image doesn’t tell anything about the earlight. It just looks better, when it’s in Germany. Changed.

Valkee’s CEO Aki Backman then claimed that the FDA somehow testified that HumanCharger is harmless. That’s a breathtaking misrepresentation. In reality, they could not provide evidence for the device’s health claims. Therefore it got no approval as a medical device, but fell in the underclass “General wellness” category. As such, the device cannot give any kind of (light) therapy despite misleading advertisements. Deleted.

 

“Breakthrough brand” is a struggling micro-business

The aging scam company meets the tight finnish criteria for a micro-business and is therefore exempt from certain standards in financial reporting. The firm uses this in its balances and managed to survive to this day – being technically bancrupt – as detailed in its 2/2017 balance. A mysterious person has recently pumped millions of private funds into Valkee, to keep it alive.

Earlightswindle.com makes the balances traditionally available to the public. Here it is.

Valkee-balance 2017 (PDF)