The slow and painful demise of Jawbone is finally coming to an end, as yet another effort to rejuvenate the business is beginning under a familiar name. After a multi-year struggle to maintain relevance in the consumer wearable market, Jawbone is now liquidating — and thanks to an injection of capital from a new, unnamed investor, some of the driving forces behind the original company are forming a new business called Jawbone Health Hub.
The move was first noted in a report by The Information, and TechCrunch has since independently confirmed the findings with a source close to the matter. It’s not a particularly surprising bit of news — CEO Hosain Rahman has been planning an exit from the consumer market for some time now. We reported earlier this year that the executive was planning to shift the company toward clinical health services rather than continuing to compete with the Fitbits of the world. The same source has since confirmed the new focus.
In spite of the confusingly similar name, Jawbone Health Hub is a new company with a new, unrelated investor — though some employees have reportedly begun transitioning over to the new team. The company also has posted multiple job listings as Jawbone Health, seeking hardware and software developers and confirming the shift in strategy from the consumer to the clinical. According to its own description:
Jawbone Health is at the forefront of revolutionizing primary care for millions of patients worldwide. Combining more than 20 years of proprietary wearable technology with clinically relevant signals, Jawbone Health connects patients and physicians like never before with continuous, data-driven dialogue. This unique position of daily directed guidance stands to redefine primary care, while helping people live happier, healthier and longer.
We’ve reached out to Jawbone on the matter, but both Rahman and company are staying quiet — as they have during much of the last couple of years. Jawbone’s Facebook and Twitter accounts went radio silent at the beginning of the year, allowing customer service complaints to pile up in the comments section, unanswered. Last June, Rahman attempted to put to rest rumors that it was abandoning wearables or going away altogether with the less that reassuring sentiment “we’re still committed.”
That lukewarm commitment came a year after funds managed by BlackRock pumped $300 million of additional funding into the company — we’ve also reached out to them and also don’t anticipate a response there, either. Not until the company decides to go public with all of this, at least. In all, the company appears to have raised around $951 million over the years, from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, JP Morgan, Mayfield and Khosla.
It’s been a long, drawn-out ending for Jawbone, which has origins dating back to the late-90s. Its once-mighty Jambox speaker business was already out of the picture when we reported the company’s pivot earlier this year — and the company appears especially hard hit by the ongoing decline of the wearable industry.
Sherwood Partners is said to be handling the liquidation process, and will be taking charge of the company’s ongoing legal war with Fitbit — one of the last few needles that needs threading for what’s left of Jawbone. In March, the law firm representing Jawbone stepped aside from the fight, citing “professional considerations.”
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