Geek icon Segway has been bought out by a Chinese backed start-up called Ninebot.
Ninebot is backed by the mobile outfit Xiaomi and makes electric-powered personal transportation products.
Segway made a two-wheeler upright scooter which looked so daft that it became a bit of a running joke – especially when they became popular amongst security staff in malls who could not be bothered walking anywhere.
They were trademarks of geeks who felt that walking was beneath them and best left to those who could not afford technology.
In 2003, the US president George W. Bush fell off a Segway and in 2006 all of the company’s 23,500 vehicles had to be recalled due to a software glitch which caused the wheels to reverse.
Generally though Segway’s failed to take off in any useful way, but Gao Lufeng, chief executive, said there is still some value in the Segway. He has written a cheque to buy the US company for an undisclosed amount. Lufeng confirmed that Ninebot had also secured $80mn in funding from Xiaomi and venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.
This is a strange end to the story, given that Ninebot was being sued last year by Sedgeway. The US International Trade Commission agreed last November to look into the Segway complaint which sought to block imports of Chinese Ninebots into the US.
Now it seems that Segway president Rod Keller is fully behind the deal. With the new deal between the two rivals it is unclear how the investigation will unfold.
“The strategic alliance with Ninebot will enable us to provide more intelligent and valuable products for our customers,” he said.
I’m positive that the Mageek must surely be still running the competition for the most obscure pics of the Segway scooter? So I claim my £5 for this beauty. It shows to Spanish policemen in a Alicante street.
The picture is there to help promote an Alicante restaurant – simply called El Restaurante -which somehow got hold of this TechEye hack’s business card.
Naturally, we’ve all had our memory lapses – particularly as members of the infamous Monday Club or Old Farts Drinking Club as it is occasionally known.
But how can you forget travelling to Alicante and ending up in an obscure restaurant? On that premise, Techeye decided to look through the restaurant’s phot gallery. It’s here under the option marked simply – El Restaurante.
For those withour schoolboy/girl Spanish the caption actually just says, “A secure street.”
A British multi-millionaire from Leeds has bought motion company Segway for an undisclosed amount.
The story was revealed by US site TG Daily, which quotes a source close to the company as saying that he expected it would start outsourcing manufacturing of its components to another country – but not the UK.
Segway responded to a TG Daily’s reporter’s request for information by pointing to an internal blog. That said the deal occurred on Christmas Eve, when it was sold to businessman Jimmy Heselden, the chairman of Hesco Bastion. He already owned a share in a Segway UK distributorship.
Segway also received additional funding from Hesco Bastion. Heselden’s wealth is considered to be over £200 million.
The TG Daily story is here.