AR helmet maker Skully investors boot founders, replacing them with Martin Fitcher as CEO

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Anonymous sources have confirmed to TechCrunch that Skully co-founders Marcus and Mitch Weller have been kicked out of the company by investors. Marcus served as CEO of Skully while his brother Mitch served as chief of staff and provided business operations, product management, and material logistics support to the company.

Skully jumped into the tech scene two years ago after a highly successful Indiegogo campaign for the company’s augmented reality motorcycle helmet that lets riders see traffic behind them. The device also allows wearers to play music, receive directions and check weather information, hands-free.

The founders have been on a different page than investors regarding the future of the company for quite some time, according to a source close to the matter.

Both Marcus and Mitch are on the Skully board of directors along with Victor Westerlind from Intel Capital and Nicholas Brathwaite from Walden Riverwood Ventures.

Skully has sold thousands of its heads-up display helmets so far but has been troubled with shipping delays. One source we spoke to told us that Skully has only shipped 20 helmets so far, which conflicts with another source who said it was more than that but under 100.

Part of that may have been due to a manufacturer issue, which held up production and is a common scenario with hardware startups.

Reports are conflated regarding cash flow with some saying that the founders are running out of capital.

Rumors have also come to light that the company was simultaneously trying to sell itself and raise a Series B. 

One source told us that the last straw for Marcus appears to have been a botched acquisition by LeSports, a subsidiary of Chinese company LeEco – though another source said it was unclear who was responsible.

This source also told TechCrunch Skully talent has slowly been poached without direction from the management team. Tesla lured away the company’s head of engineering in May.

Marcus’ loyalty to his brother may have ultimately cost him the position. Marcus had been under investor pressure to remove Mitch but did not take action, according to a source.

Martin Fichter, the current chief operating officer, will be taking over as acting CEO. Martin was previously on the executive team at HTC America. Fichter joined Skully in February and has been heavily involved in providing direction for the company. 

Skully has raised $14.95 million from two investments and an Indiegogo campaign over the last two years.

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