Why Fitbit's Interest in Pebble Must Be About Tech and Talent
Fitbit to acquire Pebble for $34 to $40 million
Pebble came to fame as the company behind the most funded Kickstarter campaign of all time in 2012. Back then, the Pebble E-Paper Watch raked in $10.2 million in Kickstarter funding, an amount that was only bested by three other campaigns on the crowdfunding platform to this day, two of which were also created by Pebble. In total, Pebble received more than $58 million in funding over the years, which is why the reported value of the acquisition must be disappointingly low for the company’s shareholders. Even more so considering that watchmaker Citizen was reportedly ready to pay more than $700 million for the company in 2015.
The Pebble brand, which has built a loyal fellowship over the years, will reportedly be faded out should the deal go through. Given Pebble’s recent struggles (the company had to lay off 25 percent of its workforce in March) and the size of its business (see chart below), most experts think that the deal is mostly about Pebble’s talent and know-how, which could help Fitbit in building its own smartwatch platform.
This chart shows worldwide device shipments of Fitbit and Pebble in Q3 2015 and Q3 2016.