Smart lock company Otto is suspending operations after a failed acquisition agreement. In a blog post late last year, CEO and founder Sam Jadallah says the company made an acquisition deal that limited its ability to fundraise, but the buyer pulled out at the last minute, leaving Otto with no remaining cash. The first locks were supposed to ship within the next few weeks, but “Otto will not ship next month and it may never ship,” says Jadallah. The company will “evaluate [its] options” for moving forward in the coming weeks.
The Otto Lock was pitched as a tiny and stylish, but very expensive, smart lock. It sold for $699, and was intended for wealthy homeowners. Despite this limited niche, Jadallah told TechCrunch that Otto didn’t anticipate problems with the price, and neither did its potential buyer. “This isn’t the story of an ambitious product that didn’t have a market,” he said, asserting that the would-be buyer believed it could sell for even more in certain markets. The buyers, who Jadallah wouldn’t name, apparently never gave a reason for abandoning the deal.
Since Otto hadn’t shipped its locks, consumers at least won’t be dealing with the fallout of a security company suspending operations. But for anyone who was a fan of the Otto Lock’s sleek design, it’s bound to be a disappointment — especially because there’s no clear reason for the company’s woes.