BetaKit has confirmed via multiple sources familiar with the situation that Nymi President Andrew D’Souza is no longer a part of the company. D’Souza is one of several Nymi employees let go last week, including Director of Platform Balaji Gopalan, in a move that sources believe was forced by Nymi’s board of directors.
First announced in mid-2013, Nymi’s heartbeat authentication wristband found immediate interest, securing a reported 10,000 pre-orders and raising a $14 million Series A from Ignition Partners, Relay Ventures, MasterCard, and Salesforce Ventures.
However, as we reported in our wearable year in review, Nymi has faced significant delays shipping hardware. Originally expected to ship in early 2014, Nymi only began shipping limited edition bands to select app developers back in October. They recently started shipping Discovery Kit featuring final hardware to devs this month. In December, Nymi Founder and CEO Karl Martin indicated to us that the final public release of the Nymi band would come in early 2015 (we’ve reached out to Martin for comment).
Our sources have indicated that the personnel changes were directly related to shipping delays with the Nymi band. As well, there may be some dispute between the board and the executive team regarding the initial target market for the band, with the board hoping for a major consumer play when a targeted enterprise rollout was more likely to gain traction. Martin had indicated to BetaKit that enterprise security would be a major application focus for Nymi in 2015.
While the news is troubling, it should be taken as a shakeup to get back on track rather than an indication of failure. It should also be a reminder that hardware is hard. Nymi still has an exciting product, as well as $14 million in the bank.
Update: After we reached out for a response, Balaji Gopalan gave this statement to BetaKit:
“Solving the Identity problem *is* important and persistence is the only future-proof way to do it. Karl has the broad vision and patience to make this kind of huge paradigm shift a reality, in an industry and tech trend full of sparks and hype. The team is talented, motivated and honest and they’re in it for the long haul. I’m still a fan.”
Update: We were able to sit down with both Andrew D’Souza and Nymi CEO and Founder Karl Martin for an extended interview.