When BlackRock invested $300 million in Jawbone to keep it afloat, Bloomberg News called it "a loan and a leash". Now, according to a new report in Fortune, the beleaguered tech company is tugging on that leash. Fortune reported this week that Blackrock is pressuring the company to sell, but CEO Hossain Rahman believes the company has the funds to stay afloat.
"I believe everyone knows one of our larger constituents has been pushing for us to sell Jawbone,” Rahman allegedly wrote in a leaked email, published by Fortune. “Even as we have a clear path towards funding, they continue to fight against the company and the rest of our shareholders.”
In the email, Rahman goes on to say that the company solicited offers at Blackrock's behest but received no satisfactory offers. He goes on to say he has signed term sheets to raise more than $150 million and restructure the company.
Jawbone has been in some trouble lately, that much is certain. Tech Insider reported last month that customer service company NextRep had abruptly ended its relationship with Jawbone after Jawbone failed to pay them. Before that, in July, The Verge noted the departure of Travis Bogard, one of the company's top product execs. Jawbone ditched its speaker business in May, but denied reports that it was getting out of the wearable business around the same time, when the company sold off its remaining inventory to third party vendors. The company has also had to contend with flagging sales compared with competitor Fitbit and countless legal battles with the same.
We do have some indication of why Rahman thinks one more round of funding could save the company, however.
Jawbone's Hail Mary seems to be a clinically-focused device, likely building on technology acquired when the company quietly bought Spectros last year and hired its founder David Benaron as chief medical officer. An 11-year-old company with at least six patents and numerous published studies, Spectros specialized in using spectroscopy to create a range of non-invasive molecular sensors. In particular, commercial applications of the technology used it for pulse oximetry, and detection of perfusion and ischemia. The company's On-Call remote monitoring product allowed doctors to monitor their patients using a smartphone.