The poop from inside reveals that this article is pretty accurate. Idealab! snatches defeat from the jaws of victory once again..
There is some incredibly innovative technology built into the Modo. I was just about to get involved in helping them with their next round of financing when everything blew up this week.
Modo.net wanted to break the mold in the portable lifestyle space, but became just another casualty in the online war for profitability today.
In an email to registered users late last night, San Francisco-based Scout Electromedia announced that its Modo.net project will be closing its doors, effective immediately. Though reasons for the closure were not given, a former employ that spoke with SV.internet.com under conditions of anonymity blames an alleged pullout of financial support from idealab!, one of the company’s backers.
Debuting last September in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, Modo.net was hoping to “idiot proof” the wireless space by developing a simple yet stylish portable “lifestyle device” (The Modo) for the 18-34 year old demographic. The Palm-sized device’s brightly-colored, graphically rich design offered a daily guide to bars, restaurants, clubs/DJs, live music, movies, sporting events, coffee shops, museums, shopping, and just about everything else its staff of 12 editors could hunt down in each city. Running off a pager network, the device updated itself automatically each day, requiring only a one-time $100 purchase fee.
“Our retail was doing incredibly well,” says the former employee. “Orders were doubling and tripling. That’s why this came as such a shock.”
The source points to rumors that venture capital firm idealab! pulled its $10 million majority investment in the company without notice, but officials at idealab! denied the rumor.
In its short history, Scout had enlisted several big name retail, content and technology partners to push Modo.net, including Virgin Megastores, DKNY, Fred Segal, Village Voice Media and PageNet.
“I think everybody’s assumption was that we’d at least make it through Christmas,” continues the former employee. “That’s when we really expected to pick up even further in the retail space.”
October 25, 2000