Back in August, a startup called Otto comprised of former Apple, Microsoft, and Nokia workers, unveiled a stunning-looking smart lock. But the hardware came at a hefty price: $700 for one unit. Now, just over four months later, the company is suspending operations.
The device, which was also called Otto, would have allowed owners one-touch, key-less access to their homes via Bluetooth and a phone app—though there's also the option to enter a PIN number. It features marine-grade 316 stainless steel construction, a backup battery in case the main battery runs dry, and the ability to allow friends and family to enter a home via the app.
Even with all that tech, $700 made it a difficult sell. But according to CEO and ex-Microsoft employee Sam Jadallah, the price wasn’t a factor in Otto’s failure to get its first product to market. In a Medium post titled ‘So Close,’ he explains that it was about to be acquired by an unnamed company and that the deal Otto signed restricted its ability to raise funds. For unexplained reasons, the buyer pulled out of the acquisition on December 11, leaving Otto without the money to continue working.
“To our beta users, pre-order customers, suppliers and partners, I’m so very saddened that we can’t deliver Otto, which was planned for first revenue in just four weeks,” writes Jadallah. “Otto will not ship next month and it may never ship. We will evaluate our options in the coming weeks and see what is open to us.”
While some may wonder if the buyer’s doubts were related to the lock’s restrictive price, Jadallah told TechCrunch this wasn’t the case. In fact, the company buying Otto was convinced it could sell the product for even more than $700 in certain markets. But it seems we may never find out.