Just two years ago, Jawbone was valued at $3 billion and had a sizable staff of 450 employees. But yesterday, the consumer electronics startup began liquidation proceedings, according to the Information.
The San Francisco-based company launched in 1999 as AliphCom, originally specializing in military-grade audio technology. Later, the company gained notoriety for its Bluetooth headsets and Jambox speaker line. Jawbone's chief creative officer, Yves Béhar, who designed the Jambox and Up fitness tracker, told Inc. in 2014 that Jawbone's minimalist design tried to match the functionality and simplicity of the light switch.
"What we want to do, what we're competing with, is the light switch," said Béhar when discussing design in home environments. "And if it's any more complex than that, if it requires any more thinking, it's probably not going to get wide adoption."
While Jawbone adhered to modest designs, its failure stemmed from the company's pivot to health and fitness-tracking devices in 2011. That began a plague of product failures and financial struggles, and then, in February 2017, Jawbone filed a lawsuit against its rival Fitbit. Jawbone sued Fitbit and five former employees in California state court over the alleged theft of trade secrets. Some of the legal proceedings are ongoing.
Jawbone may be unraveling, but the company's co-founder and CEO, Hosain Rahman, has reportedly moved to a new company called Jawbone Health Hub. The new venture will focus on health-related products and has recruited many employees from Jawbone. The Health Hub will service existing Jawbone products after the original company liquidates.