ROLI goes bankrupt and starts a new business
LUMA is dead hi Luminary 06/09/21
Probably the least surprising news in the industry:
ROLI, the new tech company behind Seaboard, Blocks and LUMI Keys, goes into administration with pre-tax losses of £ 34million on income of £ 11million, which essentially means a third-party management company intervenes and restructures the business. This can include selling assets to try to pay off creditors – starting with the biggest one first.
On September 3, ROLI announced it and added to its Wikipedia page that:
“Administration is not the same as bankruptcy”
while informing us that it is also launching another company: Luminary – a “subscription-based keyboard teaching system for novice keyboardists. Luminary uses an illuminated keyboard that shows you which notes to play.”
ROLI cites COVID and its “niche market” were major factors in the company’s downfall. Although many companies in the creative music and tech industry have reported increased revenue and profits.
Many foreigners saw the writing on the wall several years ago as rounds of investments were used to fund the business that does indeed manufacture niche products and did not appear to be selling in sufficient numbers to support the model. .
However, the ROLI Seaboard and the Seaboard Block were instrumental in the rise and adoption of MPE technology – they made for a very compelling and expressive gaming experience. Indeed, if you are willing to spend more time modifying your playing technique, it can be extremely rewarding.
But in addition to the excellent Equator, the softsynth engine associated with the Seaboards, the result of the early purchase of FXpansion, ROLI’s strongest acquisition was perhaps the Juice platform – a highly specialized and optimized software platform focused on audio and processing adopted by many third-party developers.
The fact that ROLI is now under administration is likely to worry many developers who have invested in this system for their own products and whose future is uncertain.
So what happened? It certainly seems clear that the skills of ROLI’s senior management have enabled them to sell attractive investment opportunities to millionaires who would find the allure of a more creative, rock’n roll industry more alluring.
But the sales pitch overstated the likelihood of the market supporting a comeback. By 2019 they had already raised £ 101million and people were asking questions.
But with ROLI’s aggressive hiring and spending on office space, there was an obvious rate of depletion of that capital, raising eyebrows for the more cautious and thrifty, until they started to tighten their necks. belt in 2019.
The problem with a failure of this magnitude is that it affects confidence in investments in music technology in general, the financial world is certainly fickle and is likely to be nervous about where to put the $. $.
Which, given that art and culture is a big part of what attracted many of us although the pandemic has so far been a worrying fact – we were hopeful that society would start to value the creative arts again and would see them with value rather than just a digital product that streaming platforms have turned it into.
However, as the administrators step in to manage what remains of ROLI, the new company Star appears to have already raised £ 5million (via Hoxton Ventures) for its beginner’s course subscription offer, presumably based on ROLI’s latest hardware version: the LUMA keyboard which, at $ 299 for 2 octaves, was a sale difficult, but the term subscription will always make the eye of a savvy venture capital manager shine …
According to other articles, the current 70 employees of ROLI will be transferred to the new company. We wish them well, but it’s likely there will be layoffs – sustaining a payroll of 70 is a big financial commitment.
70 x £ 29.6,000 (current UK average salary) = £ 2,072,000 per year + premises and other costs
Whatever the end result, it’s a sad day for music creation companies looking for investment.
Even more news …