SF Earbud Startup KANOA Shutters

SF Earbud Startup KANOA Shutters

A San Francisco-based startup has shut down operations, leaving many customers who paid upwards of $139 for a pair of wireless earbuds empty-handed. 

Like many startups that came before, Kanoa Inc. ran out of capital, according to a statement on its website. But this startup, which one customer called "the Fyre Festival of wireless earbuds," flamed out after two years of promises.

"This is not the outcome we had foreseen, and with the quick turn of events, we are emotionally overwhelmed," the company wrote in its statement. "We know you are disappointed, and can only ask that you understand that we genuinely tried."

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One such unforeseen event included a scathing review on YouTube on Aug. 19. Cody Crouch was one of a number of reviewers and backers who received headphones earlier this month, says Fortune.

In his 27-minute review, Crouch lists a handful of complaints about the earbuds, claiming they struggled to pair with the app, failed to cancel ambient noise as promised and disconnected from the phone when in his back pocket. Crouch also alleged that the company bribed him with $500 in exchange for a "good review."

Less than one week later, Kanoa's investors backed out and the company shuttered. The farewell statement even appears to reference Crouch's video. 

"Setbacks and some bad publicity, like reviews of non-shippable beta units, stirred our audience," it says. 

The statement also indicates that customers who pre-ordered the headphones, which were set to retail for $300, probably won't get their money back. 

"We are in negotiations with investors for funding, and also large tech companies on an acquisition, while prioritizing our commitment via KANOA to you," it said. "Unfortunately, without that investment, we do not have enough capital to stay operational while we find a solution." 

The company also said it had let go of all employees. 

 

Read more from SF Gate here

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