Healbe announces "new" investment, "independent" testing, and "shipping" "date"
After six months in the journalistic trenches with Healbe, the Indiegogo crowdfunders who put the scam into scampaigning, I returned from vacation last week to see they’d a) closed a $2.6 million investment round, b) published independent tests and c) announced that they would begin shipping out their “miracle”, calorie-counting wristbands on September 22.
Healbe 3, Pando 0? Well... no. Like with everything surrounding our friends from Moscow, even when we’re dealing with the most promising headlines out of its campaign yet, when you read past the hype you’re still left with a quagmire of confusing lies and half-truths.
So let us unpack this all...
$2.6 million in investment
In mid-August, Healbe announced that it had raised $2.6 million in new investment.
All along, Healbe CEO Artem Shipitsin has said that Healbe needed $6 million USD to get its GoBe wristwatch to market, much more than the $1.1 million it banked on Indiegogo. As the campaign approached its end in April, Shipitsin said that Healbe had raised $3 million, including its Indiegogo haul. Team Healbe told me at the end of June that it had banked $300,000 in pre-sales. The $2.6 million takes us up exactly to the $6 million Which indicates that with this new investment round, Healbe has succeeded only in funding its initial promises. You could consider this funding round to be them breaking even.
When I sat down with Healbe’s CEO Shipitsin and Head of Sales Stanislav Povolotsky at the end of June, they’d teased that they were close to sealing new investment and that this round would include major American backing. Not so. The only investors named in this new round were previous Healbe backers Dmitry Chaly, Alexander Tarakanov, Alex Jilin and fund Starta Capital Accessor Fund. Everything else is listed as being private and undisclosed.
Last week, Healbe quietly published independent tests on its company blog. Independent testing was originally promised to be released in May. When I sat down with Team Healbe at the end of June they told me it was coming, ASAP and were apologetic about the delay. Allegedly, InterTech and Sloan Kettering were lined up to clinically test the Healbe GoBe (even if Sloan Kettering denied having ever heard of Healbe).
Instead, what was released as the final a-ha piece of proof that the GoBe really, really works was a 500-word write up of tests done by the Saint Petersburg State Institute of Health’s Medical and Sports Clinic, done over five days with just five volunteers. As if that wasn't weird enough, the "independent" test results were published by Healbe itself and, for some reason, all five volunteers were female, aged over 30 and of a similar height.
This we have to take Healbe’s word on, but as backers wait for their new GoBe, it is worth mentioning that the six month old promise to send product samples out to journalists for review has long ago been set aside and isn’t even referred to in passing anymore.
If the September 22 promise is kept, this will likely be Pando’s last Healbe update before the GoBe -- which Healbe has admitted to us doesn’t work close to promised -- reaches backers. We look forward to the early reviews...
Although, the spate of one-star reviews cropping up on in the App Store for the recently released GoBe app portends extremely badly for the company.
“The app does not work and [is] poorly made.”
“The only choices for weight are in feet!”
“crummy app probably a crummy device”
“I sure hope their hardware I paid good money for is more reliable than this piece of garbage!”
“Not worth [a] single star”