updated 01:00 pm EST, Thu December 22, 2011
Fusion Garage chief says new investment vital
Fusion Garage CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan has reemerged after unusual silence. In an interview with Engadget, the chief of the tablet designer acknowledged that the company had been "uncommunicative" and explained it as the company focusing its efforts on staying solvent. The company needed a new round of funding to "continue surviving," he said, and was talking to a number of possible investors.
"If we are unable to close the funding that we need, then we will certainly be in trouble," Rathakrishnan said. "I think that it's best that the company focuses on finding the funding it needs before proceeding."
He understood the reasons for the press firm and lawyers quitting, since the company had been unusually silent but reportedly honest about its position when it spoke.
While he thought reviews were at times harsh for the Grid 10 tablet, he claimed to understand the criticisms and noted that the company "fell short" of the benchmarks set by the iPad and other tablets. Hardware startups are rare, the CEO said, especially ones that customize the software as well. Fusion Garage wouldn't talk about actual sales numbers but did admit it was a "fairly small amount," if bigger than for the JooJoo.
Complaints of failed orders and a lack of refunds for returns were acknowledged, and would be fulfilled, Rathakrishnan said. Sales were on hold as the company didn't want to risk problems with new orders.
While possibly settling some questions, the interview supports notions that Fusion Garage may be out of the running as a tablet competitor if its options run dry. The company hoped for a strong launch after riding the attention of the CrunchPad for the Linux-based JooJoo, but it never sold in significant enough numbers. New funding and a complete rethink saw it launch the Grid 10 this summer using Android, but its major interface redesign and emphasis on writing custom apps hurt its chances.