shuts down, Idealab blamed

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From: Mike Masnick (
Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 13:09:58 PDT

Forgive me if this has been posted before. Keeping up with FoRK (and
constantly clicking on seems to be a full time job these
days, so I'm consistently a few days/weeks/months behind (what's this?
We're discussing politics now? What happened to the rants about love and
marraige and kids and stuff?).

However, I'm very surprised that Modo is shutting down so soon. While it
might not be the greatest solution out there, I'd heard from quite a few
people who actually thought the device was pretty cool and useful.
According to the article, sales were increasing at a good pace. They blame
Idealab for pulling the funding, which also seems odd. You'd think that
Idealab would like to have a successful company in a hot space that isn't a
clear "me too" play like so many other companies they have. I have no idea
if the Idealab rumors are true, but it seems like a bad move to me.


Modus Operandi Fails

By Jayson Matthews 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 project will be closing its doors,
effective immediately. Though reasons for the closure were not given, a
former employ that spoke with 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, 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, 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


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