Feeds

Segway confuses investors with 'liquidity event' vow

IPO or trail of tears?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Prepare yourselves for a second round of Segway hype. The company behind "IT" is eyeing an IPO.

Despite much slower than expected sales, Segway Inc thinks it might have a play in the public markets. The company's CEO, James Norrod, has started a media blitz, trying to convince potential investors that Segway sales are growing at a steady rate and that the company could make an attractive long-term bet. The IPO chatter that's sure to extend over the next couple of years will haunt many of you out there so very tired of the Segway "buzz".

Norrod, who stepped in as Segway's CEO last year, has already mastered the vague diction required of a public company's chief.

"(The investors) thought it was the right time to bring me in to really lead this company through this crucial period and to a liquidity event," Norrod told the AP.

We take liquidity event to mean an IPO and not the pool of tears investors have shed over Segway's most unspectacular sales.

Back in the glory days, the likes of Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Apple's Steve Jobs celebrated the Segway as some type of miracle. The device could travel faster than a speeding turtle and change entire city designs in a single scoot. Humble inventor Dean Kamen vowed that "IT" would "be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy".

These days, however, Kamen is literally drinking his own urine, and Segway Inc is pitching its scooter as a niche play. Law enforcement groups like the device, as do those concerned about gas prices.

"That (high price of gas) has been a driver, a real driver of our business (in Europe)," Norrod told the AP.

Of course, self-respect and bicycles have had a devastating impact on sales.

The AP notes that venture capital firm and Segway investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) once expected scooter sales to reach the $1bn per year mark. At $5,000 a pop, it would take 200,000 units to reach that revenue goal.

(Rather comically, the AP claims that KPCB is "best known for its early investment in Google". And here we thought the likes of Intel, Sun Microsystems, Genentech, Amazon.com and EA impressive.)

Segway doesn't release sales figures, and shipments are thought to be just a fraction of KPCB's ambitious dream.

The Segway has been such a poor seller that a cottage industry has sprung up around the scooter, poking fun at Segway culture. A new mockumentary, in fact, has just come out in which a couple of yuppies trek across the US on a Segway. We profiled the stunt in 2004.

Segway has already burned through three CEOs and a host of other executives, but we're pretty sure this Norrod chap knows what he's talking about. Like it or not, lazy cops and high oil prices guarantee a successful IPO bid for Segway. Read all about it here. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.