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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
Disturbance in the force lets phones detect gestures with Wi-Fi
These are the movement detection devices you're looking for
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of 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?