Back in 2012, company Ouya caused quite a Kickstarter stir when they funded their Android-powered microconsole of the same name. The $99 Ouya was meant to fill the gap between mobile games hardware and console games hardware. At $99, the unit was teetering on the edge of “impulse buy” territory, and while the Ouya itself proved to be a neat little piece of tech, it hasn’t cleared the sales targets it was meant to.
Fortune.com has acquired a “confidential email” from Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman, which indicates that the company is currently up for auction. The reason: they’ve defaulted on a debt repayment scheme. By how much is unclear, and what Ouya is hoping to be sold for is also not mentioned, but the amount of investor capital that has been pumped into the company is quite staggering.
The Ouya console rode a wave of media positivity leading up to its launch. In July 2012 the company began a Kickstarter campaign looking for $950, 000.00. They got $2 million within 48 hours and eventually ended the campaign with just over $8.5 million from around 63, 500 backers.
Between then and now, Ouya received an additional $15 million from numerous investors, including Nvidia. Shortly after that, TriplePoint Capital pumped more money into Ouya, but that exact figure is uncertain. Fortune does state that the TriplePoint Capital injection was more than the $10 million additional funding from online retail store Alibaba. The Alibaba funding occurred in February this year.
Taking all of that into consideration, Ouya is sitting on a sizable amount of venture debt. Unfortunately, the company is unable to settle that debt and now finds itself in a position where a buyer is needed, and fast. According to Uhrman’s leaked email, that buyer needs to materialise by the end of April: “Given our debtholder’s timeline, the process will be quick. We are looking for expressions of interest by the end of this month.”
Ouya is not responding to requests for comment on the matter, but I’m sure we’ll know what’s going on early next month.