Say goodbye to ‘Hello,’ creator of this overvalued sleep tracker
How much do you value sleep?
Not as much as Silicon Valley investors, apparently. The founder of the startup electronics company Hello, James Proud, quietly announced Monday that he’s shutting down the company after just five years of operation. What’s worse is that Hello’s only product ever — a glowing orb that sits on your nightstand and tracks your sleep — will also likely be killed along with the company.
The untimely death of Hello serves as a cautionary tale about what can happen when gadget startups go belly up. Even though Hello raised $2.4 million in one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time, and raised an additional $40 million in venture capital funding, huge stacks of cash weren’t enough to save the company from its own demise.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I share with you the news that Hello will soon be shutting down,” Proud said in a blog post. “The past few weeks we have been working hard to find the right home for Sense and we are still focused on that. There will be lots of questions to which I don’t currently have the answers.”
He later added that he’s “unsure” whether Sense will shut down with the company.
Proud was the recipient of human vampire and billionaire Peter Thiel’s entrepreneurial fellowship in 2011. Proud was awarded a $100,000 grant to jumpstart the company as part of the fellowship, and the only catch was that he was asked to skip (or forgo) college as part of the deal. Forbes reports that Proud would have been the first in his family to attend college, but decided not to after receiving the Thiel fellowship grant. Now, the 25-year-old entrepreneur must fend for himself without a college degree or a vampiric financier to support him.
Despite Hello’s five-year march toward failure, sleep tracking is still very much a thing major tech companies are investing in. Wearables like the Apple Watch and Fitbits are equipped with the same accelerometer technology used by the Hello Sense to track movement while someone is sleeping. The only difference is that the accelerometer on the Sense clipped onto you pillow and most others need to be worn like a watch.
Now, Proud must pick up the remaining pieces of his life and try his best to protect the only thing his company has created. Proud did not specify in his blog post when he’d be able to reveal more information about his company’s failure. Mashable has reached out to both Proud and Hello for comment, and we’ll update if and when we hear back.