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High-Tech Football Helmet Company Runs Out of Money

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A groundbreaking football helmet company is closing its doors after just six years.

Vicis, a Seattle-based company that broke onto the scene in 2017 with the Zero1 football helmet, made massive layoffs last month and shut down after running out of money.

“This is a difficult day for Vicis,” the front page of the company’s website said as of Friday. “Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to attract the capital needed to sustain our operations. Today we are taking the responsible step to pursue a sale of the company.”

The startup company received acclaim for its high-tech helmets, with the 2018 NFL Player Health and Safety’s laboratory testing showing the Zero1 as the safest football helmet.

The Zero1, and Vicis, was focused on limiting the impacts of head injuries, even being named one of TIME Magazine’s best inventions of 2019. However, it cost $950 and didn’t generate enough revenue after the company went through over $85 million of investors’ money.

Vicis' financial struggles have been evident for several months. CEO Dave Maher, who co-founded the company with Jonathan Posner, Per Reinhall and Sam Browd in 2013, stepped down in November.

Ralph Green Jr. took over and wrote a November letter to shareholders that was printed in a December New York Times article.

“Our employees are currently furloughed and we need to raise capital in order to continue operating, or we may have no other option but to wind down all operations,” Green’s letter said.

They never raised the capital, despite a group of 389 investors on its capital table, according to GeekWire. Football players like Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith and Doug Baldwin were among the investors, along with NFL owners and medical experts. The NFL provided $1.1 million in grants to Vicis, which counted Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes among the high-profile players that wore its helmets.

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