Tuesday 3 May 2016

[News] Jolla agrees debts, financing of $12M, new employees

Application for debt restructuring cancelled. Year 2016 secured with new financing. New employees being interviewed.

In autumn 2015 there were sad news: Employees laid off, debts on hold, file for debt restructuring. Jolla's 3rd death valley, pretty close to actual bankruptcy, was passed on December and now Jolla shares quite positive news.

This is a news analysis on Jolla's Press Release published on May 3, 2016, reflecting the latest news to those shared back in 2015. Sailfish OS seems to be having the sails up quite well right now. Will there be some wind too?

[News] Jolla agrees debts and hires again

Worth a read? Please share:

Financial updates

The death valley, Jolla's third one, started when Jolla didn't get the financial round C of $10.6M closed in time. Jolla shared news on lay-offs, search for debt agreements and finally filing for debt restructuring in The Court of Finland. December 2015 brought Jolla some new wind into their wavering sails when they got the round C closed, but without disclosing the amount of financing. The hardest hit was taken by ongoing Jolla Tablet campaign, remaining without the final resolution but the customers currently being refunded by half.

Today, Jolla shared positive news on that they've received all together $12M since December 2016, suggesting that the round C financing ($10.6M) was eventually completed with some extra. Antti Saarnio, Head of The Board at Jolla tells that this secures Jolla's main operations: Developing and licensing the gesture based mobile operating system Sailfish OS for the end of this year.

Schedule updates

Knowing Jolla's earlier announced schedules pretty well, the press release carefully informed about some delays still happening:

  • Instead of April 2016, the upcoming Intex Aqua Fish smartphone is expected to be launched "during the upcoming months". The expression used seems to me that the project is either facing some difficulties, or Jolla just wants to be extra careful on announceng anything exact right now. 
  • As a minor delay to the ongoing refunding process, 1st half of refunds was postponed to the end of May (this month)
  • Also, a possible delay was shared to the 2nd half of the refunding process. Instead of January 2017, round two is now scheduled as "within a year of round one - depending on Jolla's financial status". This could be either earlier or later than what was stated before, and seemingly related to an upcoming financing round D
The most positive parts: New employees, debt agreed
  • Jolla is currently interviewing new employees. While the Sailfish OS development has seemingly suffered from the lack of resources, delaying Jolla's release schedules for new system updates by months, this will surely help them to catch up. James Noori, Community Manger at Jolla:

    "We are currently at 40 employees, looking forward to make it about 50. We currently have 6 open positions out of which 3 are in interview phase and the other 3 are fully open. Positions are filled when we have the right candidates."

    The software business is strongly dependent on the speed of development, and the competitors have sure gained some lead during the difficult times of Jolla. Now the sails are up and new sailors are to trim them for full sailing speed. We hope!
  • Jolla cancels the file for debt restructuring, sharing that they've come to an agreement with their major creditors. Additional to the press release comment on being "in a strong path out of the death valley", Antti Saarnio added to Finnish press (Talouselämä):

    "Even our lawyers office stated that during their careers they have never encountered such a positive attitude of the creditors. Clearly there was a desire to keep the company afloat."
On the "upcoming" department (read as promises)
  • Jolla is preparing a new special community program which will be announced in the near future. Antti Saarnio:

    "what I can say already now is that it will include a special device related treat for our fans"
  • Jolla has made a Sailfish OS licensing agreement and is developing the software for the upcoming Turing smartphone. Antti Saarnio:

    "Sailfish OS is already running fast on the Turing phone, and we are now working together to get all the needed software in place. We at Jolla believe that it is possible to produce niche target group smart devices in Finland, as Turing is now planning to do. Our aim is to support them in the best way we can."
Analysis: Why such news, and why now?

It's obvious that first of all Jolla wanted to shout out loud that they are alive and doing well with their core business. This is important for both their business partners, possible new partner candidates and the community. The press release manages to ease the press, hopefully the positive side affecting both in the community and within the sailors on board. The times haven't treated them exactly nice in the past months, maybe even for a year.

Second, they needed to share something about the current delays to keep up with the openness expected by their valuable community. They've had enough of nasty comments during the TabletGate regarding their communications, and reading this press release it seems that Jolla has taken the lesson. Few parts might be seen as vague, but the most parts are written with openness up front as much as currently possible.

Third, including a few things from the upcoming front is most likely to support some positive buzz hopefully spreading. The community is surely interested on a special device addressed to them in the upcoming program, currently hidden behind the curtains. We know about an upcoming translate tool, maybe Jolla is going to reward their community on this?

On the timing, it could have not been better. Just before the delays might have been asked about, especially regarding the India launch and the refunding process, and on spot for raising some positive buzz within Jolla / Sailfish OS supporters. The correct timing reduces the stress also for any general worries on how the sailors are actually doing there? Just fine, it seems.

Analysis: What was left untold?

Nothing about Fairphone and Jolla having negotiations going on was a surprise to me. While the Fairphone 2 could be seen as the current unofficial flagship device for Sailfish OS, among with OnePlus X and Nexus 5, and while there are no official devices currently available, it might be that one of these is related to the mysterious "special device" and so left unmentioned.

Left out of the financials news was the source of financing. We know that the most of the funding on December came from Russia, India and China and it's clear that a big part of the company decisions are made together with the biggest financing parties (especially during agreeing on debts), leaving this kind of  information out is most likely a well reasoned business matter. Jolla is, and remains profiled as a Finnish software company.

In my analysis, I also need to mention the word "open" used in the first sentence. I was a bit surprised that Jolla didn't further explain what does that currently mean. Ok, Jolla is open in many ways, and with one exception the Mer core used in their operating system is open too, but everything open on top of the Mer core are two applications: Sailfish Browser and Sailfish Office. In other parts, Jolla's user interface is proprietary code. Jolla seems to be wanting to be profiled as a developer of open operating system, while the promise of publishing the scale of open sourcing "very soon" has its first anniversary in few weeks.

Analysis: The overall impression

Great news and a great read both for the sailors, the partners and for the community. A press release filled with passion, desire, love, transparency and respect towards the community. Facts were stated clearly, not focusing too much on promises. Easily adapted by the media to write news on, enabling sharing the word out. Sailfish OS is worth getting to know, and I hope to see more posts like this from Jolla. At least it inspired me to dig down even between the lines :)

Share and Shout! Your friends might read it.

By: Review Sailfish OS
Cover photo: Antti Saarnio, Chairman of The Board at Jolla in the Meeting of the BRICS Communications Ministers, BRICS15
Source: Jolla Press Release
Published: 2016-05-03 18:02 UTC
Updated: 2016-05-03 18:10 UTC


  1. Let's be realistic. Intex Phone project posponed indefinitely. No commitments on refunds. Fairphone efforts cut. All hopes on Turing.
    And more promises: a program for developers (have not done anything for developers in the past)including "a special device related treat for our fans".... I do not read that as a device or a Phone. Maybe at best a TOH or a battery..... or a sticker for that matter.

    1. End of june now, so the may or early june promise of Turing Robotics probably missed. And still no word on Intex.

  2. And Turing today, announced a delay... sounds familiar doesnt it? See the report on ZDNET.

  3. There are a lot of reasons for pessimism / skepticism still left after a long period of failing in the communications. In my realistic point of view, I just see people (the Sailors on board) who have suffered from all the difficulties, and a boat (Jolla) which many of them would like to see fully repaired. But while announcing refunds for this month, it's a clear commitment in a close future - failing on that would be a complete failure of the whole press release. I don't think so.

    But Intex is a question mark indeed - what's up there? Is it released when Sailfish OS 2.0.2 is released? On the Turing case everything is a question mark and I don't put much weight on that quite now. While hoping all the best for them, it's the 7th time they are late on shipping their first product, and probably not the last time. It's one big question mark, tho whole thing.

  4. If you have been with Jolla from the start you should know how to interpret their statements by now. Look back on all their announcements on partnerships and what-have-you-not and face the fact that none of them has ever materialised. With the tablet desaster they screwed their fans and lost credibility. No device related treat will ever bring back trust. If Turing or any other Phone supplier succeeds with sailfish it will be despite Jolla.

    Jolla's best communication strategy would be to completely shut up and surprise everyone with results.

    1. Any treat won't help in getting the already lost part of the community back right now, and you're probably right on that it won't affect to the trust for those still left. I find a whole different meaning for that treat, getting those who are left activated on certain area of importance.

      A complete shut up... Pros and cons on that strategy. Personally, I see more of the cons. For example leaving this information on financing untold would keep possible investors away, but telling them that the company is secured for another year is a clear positive signal. Results are unfortunately still unseen :/

    2. "A complete shut up... Pros and cons on that strategy.Personally, I see more of the cons. " maybe it is a pro indeed... remember they work on system which are more privacy care.
      Would be contradictory if actors who work on privacy care systems, babbles all the time...
      It works! we don't have so much information from them ! lol

      (ok... bad joke for you)

  5. Maybe there is a motivation from jolla & partners, which comes after the announcement from sirin labs about their seed round of 72M$ for producing a secured smartphone for executing.
    The phone would cost around 20,000$ but i eared that sirin labs is the direct concurrent of jolla, who interest himself on the same type of market...
    I understood on an other source (sorry in french: http://www.nextinpact.com/news/99723-jolla-leve-12-millions-dollars-pour-sailfish-os.htm), that they develop a variant of android by themselves.

    Strange for me too is, that this announcement comes near of the "convergence" timing event from canonical...
    May I believe that those three firms are in competition directly on the same market type?

    1. The markets might be awakening on several levels (common users, governmental parties, businesses, high end demanding customers, education etc.) Maybe the interest towards privacy is finally reaching the point of actions for several providers. Everyone needs to focus and serve their customers well - including Sailfish OS. But while Android still has a strong position in overall, I'd like to see smaller players cooperate to bake a bigger cake together instead of searching for a small piece on these markets. Everybody have something to offer.

  6. Ola Simo, maybe the point that surprise you is the rest that it comes later.
    As i remember on a jolla official bulletin (don't remember which one). The Fairphone 2 has part like TOHs et and the Dirk would work on some parts of it (officially?).

    Sometimes the absence affect the missed part with emphasis.
    Maybe comes the fp2 highlights.

    1. Hi cemoi71! FP2 smartcovers were introduced during Fairphone talk at Fosdem2016, maybe you found it here. Connection between Jolla and Fairphone is pretty interesting, thanks for bringing up the community involvement like what Dirk and Matti (one of the porters) are doing. Nothing official yet, but that's nice speculation around the treat. How about a TOH for Fairphone2 which would install Sailfish OS on it, and of course the phone as well :)

    2. Hi Simo,
      many thanks for the link, i already read your article on the past.
      Found it quite interesting.

      And what i thought was a bulletin from jolla as pdf file, with really short descriptions. but don't find it anymore. Some of the jolla short pdf bulletins are quite difficult to snap again later.
      But is not really important.

      If i could bet i'll do for fp2, otherwise a puzzlephone may have its place on it (because nearer location, and finish-city subventions). Both make more sense for jolla needs and strategy.
      As wish for my use, then would be better a powerful JP1 TOH (with nfc power-charging and data exchange for example, or second epaper display).

      i'm really curious about the content of the next news.
      Like the proverb say "wait and see"...

      Trick or treat!!?? (ok, that's not the right season yet for it, and April jokes are behind us)

    3. Thanks :) The next news already went out about Russia, but let's see what this trick or treat will bring us for more news later

  7. Ohoy! Sima Trick or treat... then it is a nice trick from jolla regarding the amazing surprise.
    I never thought about it.
    But i guess (or better told i can imagine), that the announcement of the community translation of the OS may give you satisfaction.
    As i saw you seems to be a translation contributor too.
    Will you give a little share on it?
    What do you think of it?
    Have a great share-time ...

    1. Transifex (which I've been using) seems like a better platform, but the Pootle which Jolla chose does its job somehow too. I've been translating open source apps before, for example Ricochet and several Sailfish OS apps, and I was happy to join translating the open source parts of the OS as well. So far there are just 8 such parts listed, but maybe my contributions on those will encourage Jolla to open more of them. Always happy to contribute.

    2. Just to clear out a bit more: I'm translating 8 parts out of 64 listed, and I'm not too fancy about that the 8 open parts are not separated/marked. Having proprietary parts and open source parts mixed in the tool is somewhat confusing and makes it a bit unclear for people on what they are contributing to. Related TJC post

    3. Oh yes i understand what you mean. Really interesting what you tell.
      I didn't open my mouth about it, because all was satisfied with it. But i didn't get the organisation of the poodle. Wanted to wait a little bit to observe some reactions. Not that i shout too fast to give me as an fool or stupid.
      Shortly i wanted to get check and contribute to a small wording in French, but i didn't find it... Even by searching with keyword.
      I could ask you for help, but something tells me it wouldn't be the good solution.
      Then i happened then if i need to find an other one? Still the same problem.
      Because that should be to jolla to let's appear as more simple...
      One thing could maybe help if they put all the screenshot of the whole gui online, that we could have at last the meaning of the based gui in English.
      It's annoying to change the language all the time, and having the system restarting for for it...
      Have a nice share ;-)