Israeli specialist handset developer Modu, which has spent the last couple of years trying to generate interest in its tiny, customisable mobile phones, is reportedly finally shutting up shop. According to news reports on the Israeli news site Ynet, and translated via Google by the BGR blog, the company owes $123 million to investors and a further $21 million to the Israel Discount Bank.
Modu may also owe a substantial sum to former employees, who today filed a liquidation request with Israeli courts in an effort to recoup salaries they are allegedly owed. It now appears as though modu will be forced to close in early February and until then, only a small sales team will remain in place to sell off remaining inventory.
News of the company’s plight first emerged last November, following a failed IPO attempt. Israeli financial paper ‘Calcalist’ said there was simply no interest in the company. “My heart hurts but I had no choice,” CEO Dov Moran told the paper.
At the time, Modu employed 130 people.
Modu’s rather unusual approach was to design a tiny modular cell phone, one which could be paired with accessories and ‘jackets’ to create new functionality as and when required. Goodness how it thought there was a market – and goodness knows what its investors saw in it.
The company added to its 2008 model with a touchscreen version based on the Brew platform and a Wi-Fi only Android model. Earlier in 2010, the company had also announced plans to sell its phones in emerging markets such as Nigeria and Romania, having apparently given up on the more mature markets.
Incredulous investors included Qualcomm and SanDisk (Moran sold his previous company, msystems, to SanDisk for $1.6 billion).
Via BGR and Google Translate
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