Otto, a startup company which planned on releasing a high-end smart lock for doors, has suspended its operations. Now it seems unlikely that the locks will ever ship.
Otto announced its Otto Lock in late August. The Wi-Fi/Bluetooth door lock carried a hefty price tag ($699), but that’s apparently not what prevented the product from hitting the market. Otto founder Sam Jadallah wrote a post about the reasons behind the suspension of operations — the post has been published in full on Medium’s Hackernoon.
Jadallah writes that a larger public company had plans on acquiring Otto, but the company withdrew their acquisition plans and abandoned the proposal. “The reason is still not understood,” Jadallah wrote. “We had extended our cash to get to the closing date, and now were left without alternatives.”
Jadallah told Techcrunch that Otto had actually gotten all the way to the manufacturing process — there are currently a bunch of Otto smart locks sitting in a warehouse somewhere, perhaps never to be sold.
For what it’s worth, not everyone is giving the same exact view of how Otto’s situation came to be. Ben Havilland — who says that he was an Otto team member — wrote his own post on Medium, accusing the company of poor management and greed. Havilland also claims employees received two days notice before being let go, and no severance.
Whatever the story may be, it appears that Otto’s smart lock may never hit the market. Despite the smart lock maker getting a lot of buzz last year, it seems to be a somewhat typical tale of a promising startup that didn’t get to the final level.
If you’re still interested in smart locks, there are plenty of options out there which don’t carry a $699 price tag. Not only that, but we expect to see more devices introduced in the coming weeks as we near the start of the annual Consumer Electronics Show.