Tag Archives: bankruptcy

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!

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.

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.

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)

Valkee Ltd collapses as predicted: All share capital lost

UPDATE: My original story has reached more than 500.000 800.000 readers.
See ILTALEHTI | KAUPPALEHTI | TEKNIIKKA&TALOUS | ILTA-SANOMAT etc.pp.

The finnish trade register has just announced, that the HumanCharger manufacturer Valkee Ltd has lost all of its share capital. That means, that all of the company’s ressources are depleted, and new capital is not in sight – not even theoretically.

valkee-bankrupt

In other countries, the firm would have to file for immediate insolvency or bankruptcy, which is regulated in the same chapter of finnish corporate law.  In Finland, however, business could go on for a while – under extreme conditions, as purchases must all be paid in advance, and credits are stroke off. All business partners are now informed officially, that Valkee cannot fulfil upcoming liabilities.

Because of the consequences, such a notification is usually done in the least possible moment. It may be driven by the fact, that management and owners can be held liable personally from now on, if they don’t declare the final state publicly.

If anyone has claims against Valkee Ltd, now is the time to demand.

Personally I think, that the company will exist on paper for a few months, until its chairman Timo Ahopelto resigns from the board of TEKES, Finland’s tax-financed innovation funding agency. TEKES has shot in more than 100.000€ last year into Valkee, despite the obviously desperate state of the company, which was strictly documented in the 2016 balance.

Probably it’s the political dimension of the case. The snail media will report more soon. The source is earlightswindle.com – just in case they “forget” it again. /-Ed.

Valkee ist pleite

Wie die finnische Registerbehörde PRH gestern mitteilte, hat der Ohrleuchtenhersteller Valkee Oy aus Oulu am vergangenen Donnerstag den Verlust des gesamten Stammkapitals gemeldet.

valkee-bankrupt

Während nach deutschem Recht die Gesellschafter zum sofortigen Insolvenzantrag verpflichtet wären, kann die Firma in Finnland unter Umständen fortgesetzt werden. Wegen der Auswirkungen auf die Geschäftstätigkeit (Einkäufe nur noch gegen Vorkasse, Kündigung von Kreditlinien, usw.) ist aber eine Insolvenz mit Gläubigerschutz und Sanierungsversuch oder ein direkter Konkurs wahrscheinlicher. [s. Abschnitt 20, §§23-25 des finnischen Kapitalgesellschaftsgesetzes: Stammkapitalverlust, Insolvenz und Konkurs]

Die Meldung über den Stammkapitalsverlust erfolgt in der Regel zum allerletzten rechtlich möglichen Zeitpunkt. Unterbleibt die Anzeige, oder erfolgt sie zu spät, können Geschäftsführung und Gesellschafter im Falle des Konkurses in Anspruch genommen werden. Hiermit zeigen demnach die Verantwortlichen bei Valkee an, dass sämtliche finanziellen Möglichkeiten ausgeschöpft sind, und sie nicht persönlich haften wollen.

Da das Schicksal von Valkee in Finnland wegen der Verwicklung der Regierung politische Bedeutung hat, könnte die Skandalfirma auf dem Papier noch fortbestehen – etwa bis zum Sommer 2017, wenn der Firmenchef Timo Ahopelto vom Leitungsgremium der Innovationsförderungsbehörde TEKES zurücktritt. TEKES hat im letzten Jahr noch über 100.000 € in Valkee nachgeschossen, obwohl die Geschäftsführung öffentlich zugegeben hat, dass die Ohrleuchtengeräte in Finnland unverkäuflich sind und der sinkende Auslandsumsatz maximal 1/4 der Kosten deckt.

Wenn Sie noch Ansprüche an die Firma Valkee haben, dann ist jetzt der Zeitpunkt, sie anzumelden. Das Zeitfenster kann sich bald schließen.

Earlight revenue implodes further, Valkee receives audit warning: The 2014/2015 Balance

Valkee Ltd, the maker of the earlight headset called HumanCharger or Valkee 2, has published its 2014-2015 balance as required by finnish law. The good news for the company: Loss per fiscal year is down from 2,9 M€ to 2,3 million.

The bad news: That’s because the turnover fell again by 40% from 3/2014 to 2/2015 . The earlight made only 654.000€ last year. 2013 revenue was still 1.080.000€, 2012 nearly 2 million. Valkee shrunk by 2/3 in 2 years.

Traditionally, earlightswindle.com makes the balance freely available. Here it is:

Valkee Ltd balance Mar 2014 – Feb 2015

 It is an absolutely catastrophic result. Debt to institutional creditors alone is 1,650 million, 500.000€ was a convertible bond for (quote) “a very serious economic reason”. Cash flow is less than 600.000€: From 7,3 million invested 6,7 million are burned.

I don’t comment any further, see for yourselves. One thing is worth noting: The auditor of Ernst&Young remarked that the balance is problematic, because the development costs are partially booked on the +side. Actually, this is burned money, which will not be recovered with future sales. Recalculate with this in mind, the balance would be a crazy  3 million less than it shows now.

The auditor did not want to sign this without an explicit warning. Interestingly, this is what one commentor predicted last year on this blog, when earlightswindle.com broke the news about Valkee’s nose-dive.