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View Full Version : Financial condition of Slim Devices, Inc. ?



JayNYC
2005-08-02, 15:15
Does anybody know what the business and financial condition of Slim Devices is? There are loads of companies with a killer peripheral or leading-edge product with a fierce and loyal early-adopter customer base that never "make it" beyond the beginnings. Is Slim Devices venture funded (if so, which firm), are they profitable, are they planning to be, does existing management own the company or have they sold out to investors, etc..

Just the other day Tapwave with their Zodiac went out of business. What a cool device!
http://www.tapwave.com/

Any info greatly appreciated.

Chris Laplante
2005-08-02, 16:20
re: Tapwave, I would not call that a fair comparison. They had some
pretty big strikes against them.

- Going against the big boys like Sony / Nintendo even if they had a
better device long before them.
- Being way ahead of their time
- Focusing too much for too long on being a gaming device, when it was
really a great all-around box.

We have a friend who was working there, he would come to parties armed
with his device. As soon as people saw the nice bright color screen
they would gather 'round and chant "I want one" until they heard the
price. It just did not have the appeal to offset the price. Really
even the person that worked their and considered it the best place he
ever worked acknowledged these things.

I'd say slim had their price more in line for what you get, and the
net result (more music in one's life) is seen as a huge improvement on
a an every-day basis moreso than a game device that's novel for a
while and gets old.

Or at least that's my opinion.

-Chris

On 8/2/05, JayNYC <JayNYC.1t5r3b (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
> Does anybody know what the business and financial condition of Slim
> Devices is? There are loads of companies with a killer peripheral or
> leading-edge product with a fierce and loyal early-adopter customer
> base that never "make it" beyond the beginnings. Is Slim Devices
> venture funded (if so, which firm), are they profitable, are they
> planning to be, does existing management own the company or have they
> sold out to investors, etc..
>
> Just the other day Tapwave with their Zodiac went out of business.
> What a cool device!
> http://www.tapwave.com/
>
> Any info greatly appreciated.
>
>
> --
> JayNYC
>

Dave D
2005-08-02, 18:00
Does anybody know what the business and financial condition of Slim Devices is?...Is Slim Devices venture funded (if so, which firm), are they profitable, are they planning to be, does existing management own the company or have they sold out to investors, etc...Any info greatly appreciated.

Strange way of fishing for non-public information. I wouldn't expect that anyone at Slim would publicly divulge this information (especially in a forum setting).

If your interest is in investing in the company, why don't you contact Sean Adams privately?

If you are more like I was, that is, interested in a reasonable expectation of long-term support after buying a $300 (now $280) box, then take note:

-- Slim Devices has a market-leading product with a user interface second-to none. I really see only two direct competitors, currently: Roku (whose products have been reviewed and compared to Squeezebox2 on this and other forums), and Sonos, which is essentially in a different class because of the price. Apple could be an indirect competitor. Roku has an interesting external design with (what I consider to be) a sub-standard user interface implementation. Apple could do more with their iPod products if they wished (but why? they've got iTunes). The iPod add-ons from lots of companies are out there. But SlimServer has features which would be hard for iPod add-ons to effectively mimic.

-- Slim Devices has a volunteer cast of (well, I really don't know how many!), around the world, helping to develop software. They, and Slim's own employees, including CEO Sean Adams are very responsive on this forum.

-- Financially? Well, they just lowered the price on their fairly-new Squeezebox2. There are plenty of possibilities for this, a few being: (1) price drop is justified by margins vs. expected sales; (2) some percentage of boxes were already being sold at a discount (the pony, now retired) which made the price the same as it is now; (3) better competition against what some would consider as their "most direct" competitor (Roku M1000). (Believe me, it isn't. Go try one.)

Of course Slim Devices will face more and more competition, also from companies integrating these features into more conventional equipment like receivers, DVD players, and game boxes. And that will keep Slim on their toes, which is good. :)

- Dave

m1abrams
2005-08-02, 18:09
And if you are cencerned about the support for the software. Well since EVERYTHING but the firmware is opensource you really have no concerns there. The server software would continue to be supportted long after Slimdevices closed doors.

However since this product is currently in its 4th hardware version, I would hardly call it an early adopter anymore. Generally companies that are not doing so well do not make new models of hardware ;)

Todd Fields
2005-08-02, 18:50
--- JayNYC <JayNYC.1t5r3b (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:

> Does anybody know what the business and financial condition of
> Slim
> Devices is? There are loads of companies with a killer

I doubt you will get any kind of real response to this question
(I work for a privately held company that is doing great and we
would not respond to such questions either.)

This is an old article that does mention what I assume to be a
venture capitalist:

http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=26806405

pfarrell
2005-08-02, 18:51
On Tue, 2005-08-02 at 18:00 -0700, Dave D wrote:
> JayNYC Wrote:
> > Does anybody know what the business and financial condition of Slim
> > Devices is?...

> Strange way of fishing for non-public information. I wouldn't expect
> that anyone at Slim would publicly divulge this information (especially
> in a forum setting).

I agree, but I was gonna answer that they must be doing well,
there is a backlog of orders and I keep sending them money.

Plus, the device itself costs a tiny bit of money, folks spend
more on a cell phone that is useless in a couple of years.
All the costs that I see are in the CDs and time and effort
to rip them. And in the disk farm to hold all the files.
(Not that I want Sean and company to raise their prices).

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

whizkid
2005-08-02, 20:08
Fair enough, many private companies typically do not want to disclose financials, there are good reasons for this. Mostly, it keeps competitors guessing.

However, it is also a reasonable request given the huge quantity of apparently solid companies and products which vanish leaving users stranded.

How many people want another AudioTron? Clearly, in that case a well resourced company with a beautiful product couldn't make any money in this space. What's to say that Slim isn't experiencing the same situation ??

Could be that everything is great, software's awesome, hardware is best deal around -- except we cannot sell enough of them to keep the lights on!

Price reductions because margins are too good? Great problem to have! Except it might be, price reduction because we need to start shipping some damn product, or else!!

How many are out there? 500, 5000, 50000 -- that is important and not unfair to ask. Speaks to the strength of the business and community.

Kevin O. Lepard
2005-08-02, 20:33
>However, it is also a reasonable request given the huge quantity of
>apparently solid companies and products which vanish leaving users
>stranded.

I disagree. I don't think it's a reasonable request. Even huge
companies that are still in business drop products.

If SlimDevices drops dead tomorrow (and I bet with my money that
don't) you still have functional hardware and software. You still
have a fully functional unit with completely open-source server
software. Not exactly "stranded."

Kevin
--
Kevin O. Lepard
kolepard (AT) charter (DOT) net

Happiness is being 100% Microsoft free.

whizkid
2005-08-02, 21:06
Not suggesting they have to post their entire financials!

Most companies, public or private, give some sense of their company and market strength. Perception is too often not reality in the tech biz.

As for "if they drop dead tomorrow you still have a functioning system". True, but for how long? Right up until the next standard or needed feature requrires hardware/firmware changes and at that very moment you become stranded.

Ben Sandee
2005-08-02, 21:16
On 8/2/05, whizkid <whizkid.1t67an (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
> As for "if they drop dead tomorrow you still have a functioning
> system". True, but for how long? Right up until the next standard or
> needed feature requrires hardware/firmware changes and at that very
> moment you become stranded.

Umm.... what? Are my MP3's and FLAC's all of the sudden going to
expire, my linux box no longer run SlimServer or my ears will no
longer be licensed to hear the sound coming out of my speakers?

SlimDevices is rightfully careful about what they promise their
players will do and if you *expect* them to do more than they promise
then you may end up disappointed. However, if it works out that they
*do* do more then you really should just consider it gravy IMO.

There's been a lot of gravy flowing the last few years as a result of
SlimDevices.

Ben

radish
2005-08-02, 21:33
Most companies, public or private, give some sense of their company and market strength.

Really? Public companies have to publish accounts. These are sometimes accurate (see Enron, WorldCom). Private companies needn't publish anything. They can say what they like about their status. Some say nothing but are very wealthy (see Goldman Sachs until a few years ago when they went public), some say they're doing great then vanish in a puff of smoke (see any number of dot coms). SD could say "we're doing just fine thanks!" and it would mean nothing. They may as well say nothing.



As for "if they drop dead tomorrow you still have a functioning system". True, but for how long? Right up until the next standard or needed feature requrires hardware/firmware changes and at that very moment you become stranded.

I buy products because of what they do now. Not what they might do in 12 months time, or what I wish they would do. If SD go bust tomorrow my SB2 will still do what it does now, and that's all I ask of it. In reality SlimServer will continue to be updated and improved for probably years to come, with or without SDs guiding hand.

Of course if we were all Apple or Roku customers, we'd be in a different boat. That's just one reason why open source rules.

WSLam
2005-08-03, 01:21
The most important thing we can do is to make sure we do our own share of 'marketing'. I'd assume we all here love our SB2 and how it has changed the way we listen to music. But given the SD is still a pretty small company, they can't really afford marketing like Sonos. If we all do our share to spread the word, I think that is the best thing we can do to make sure any diaster to happen down the road. We, the people who gave it a fair try, know the SB2 is a wonderful product. But if you go to say audioasylum.com, you will see people who are so stuck up and insist in using a noisy PC as their music server (running some fancy ASIO sound card)... they just don't see the beauty and simplicity of the SB2... we need to do our share to make sure words get spread out.

I am going to give a demo to a group of friends tonight. =)

Aylwin
2005-08-03, 01:32
That's correct. Public companies are required by law to submit financial statements. Naturally, they need to answer to their stockholders. And this information is available to the public. Private companies only have to answer to the government (taxes). How much of this financial information is available to the public probably depends on the country (or state?).

Personally, I see no sense in asking Slim Devices about their financial condition in a public forum. Regardless of what the real condition may be, why on earth would ANY company say anything other than "We're doing fine"? Whether you're raking in lots of money or on the brink of bankrupcy it doesn't do any good by saying so.

If you're a potential investor, contact them directly. If you're a customer, there have already been explanations why there's no need to worry. If you're simply curious, well, they're doing fine. :)

Dave D
2005-08-03, 05:09
Most companies, public or private, give some sense of their company and market strength. Perception is too often not reality in the tech biz.

"Most companies?" Please name some examples of small private companies who have posted financials, or any REAL information about their financial state which can be proven to be truthful. Slim Devices has no obligation whatsoever to divulge *anything* about their financial state to *anyone* but their own private investors. (And you know what? I hope they don't! I sure wouldn't, and never on a forum.)


As for "if they drop dead tomorrow you still have a functioning system". True, but for how long? Right up until the next standard or needed feature requrires hardware/firmware changes and at that very moment you become stranded.

They could close their doors right now. I'll have a functioning system, which does everything I want to do, until the hardware dies or until Slimserver stops functioning with Windows XP (or whatever comes later). I can write some Perl and I have tons of folks around in this forum, willing to help me figure it out. I'm willing to bet I would not be "stranded" for years, even with no other products to choose from. And judging from the fact that a co-worker has had a SliMP3 for several years and has only recently upgraded Slimserver in that time, I'm not too worried.

I don't know why I'm even replying to this silly thread.

oreillymj
2005-08-03, 06:28
I notice that the orignal poster has not been back to give any reason for their request. Unless he/she can give a legitimate reason for requesting this info, I think this thread should be ignored.

It seems to just be a way of creating FUD.

superbad
2005-08-03, 06:31
OT

I'm sure our friends in the UK can elaborate (or correct me), but in the UK all companies, public or private, must be registered at Companies House, and submit financial statements. Those statements are available to the public. I used to enjoy reading the financial statements for all the F1 teams.

I like the openness of that system.

Bruce Hartley
2005-08-03, 08:54
This is true, all "Limited" companies have to submit basic accounting statements to companies house.


http://www.companieshouse.co.uk/

These are then publicy available.

seanadams
2005-08-03, 09:20
I am happy to comment on some not-really-secret details for those who are curious, but first: THIS IS NOT AN OFFER TO BUY OR SELL SECURITIES. AS A MATTER OF POLICY AND LAW WE DO NOT DISCUSS INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES PUBLICLY. FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME DIRECTLY IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS.

Some info:

- Slim Devices is a five year old, privately held, California C corp headquartered in Mountain View, CA.

- We have not raised venture capital, only relatively small tranches of "angel money" from customers and friends (accredited investors per SEC).

- The founders are in control of the company now and for the forseeable future.

- We are in great shape, and we've been in this market longer than anyone. As others have pointed out, you don't otherwise get to your fourth hardware revision.

- We are not disappearing any time soon.


I hope that answers most of the questions. This is the extent of what I'm comfortable sharing publicly.

m1abrams
2005-08-03, 09:29
I would also like to add.

Slimdevices has been a pretty standup company for the consumer.

One revision to the hardware was an upgrade to the VFD display to give it graphical abilities. They did NOT have to offer to current owners an upgrade path to the better display, but DID and even gave us a rebate if we shipped back the old display. Not many companies would touch that level of support and upgrade.

They show through action that they truly want their customers to be happy with the product they bought. And want you to buy more :)

I will be purchasing as many as the wife will allow, however that right now is just one :(

JayNYC
2005-08-03, 09:44
Sean, thank you.

Fifer
2005-08-03, 10:13
I'm sure our friends in the UK can elaborate (or correct me), but in the UK all companies, public or private, must be registered at Companies House, and submit financial statements. Those statements are available to the public. I used to enjoy reading the financial statements for all the F1 teams.
Not really true. Public companies and private limited companies do. Private unlimited companies, of which there are many, only have to share their accounts with the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise AFAIAA.

Todd Fields
2005-08-03, 12:53
--- m1abrams <m1abrams.1t75jz (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:

> I will be purchasing as many as the wife will allow, however
> that right
> now is just one :(

I know how you feel. Ever since they reduced the wired SG2 to
$199 and sent the $20 coupon in the mail I've had to do
everything I can to restrain myself from buying one because my
wife would kill me. (New baby on the way so I guess every new
toy I buy for myself is one less new toy for the baby.)

jimdibb
2005-08-03, 13:09
Or in this case maybe 10 or 20 less toys for the baby. :)
(Just had my second 10 wks. ago).

On 8/3/05, Todd Fields <jtfields91 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com> wrote:

>
> I know how you feel. Ever since they reduced the wired SG2 to
> $199 and sent the $20 coupon in the mail I've had to do
> everything I can to restrain myself from buying one because my
> wife would kill me. (New baby on the way so I guess every new
> toy I buy for myself is one less new toy for the baby.)
>

jimdibb
2005-08-03, 13:25
Actually, I fully agree.

On 8/3/05, T <st2_ (AT) ticino (DOT) com> wrote:
> > Or in this case maybe 10 or 20 less toys for the baby. :)
>
> Trust me, toys are more important for the parents than the baby.
>
> Tom

Todd Fields
2005-08-03, 13:29
--- T <st2_ (AT) ticino (DOT) com> wrote:

> Trust me, toys are more important for the parents than the
> baby.

So true. Our toys may be more expensive but at least we don't
outgrow them in two months!!!!

T
2005-08-03, 14:14
> Or in this case maybe 10 or 20 less toys for the baby. :)

Trust me, toys are more important for the parents than the baby.

Tom

Philip Meyer
2005-08-03, 14:20
>-- Financially? Well, they just lowered the price on their fairly-new
>Squeezebox2. There are plenty of possibilities for this, a few being:
>
Another possible reason is perhaps there's a new model on the way, which they want to price similar to the original SB2 price.

Pure speculation, of course!

Steven Moore
2005-08-03, 15:57
Good to hear.

Steven Moore

On 3 Aug 2005, at 17:20, seanadams wrote:

> - We are not disappearing any time soon.

Aylwin
2005-08-03, 23:16
WARNING: Off topic.

Congratulations to all the new parents out there! Double that if it's your first! I have a 2 month old myself. Our third child.

I can surely identify with wanting more SB2's. The recent reduction in price and the discount on international shipping is very tempting indeed. Still, I know I'm going to get hammered by customs when it gets here so I'm holding out. I got my first SB2 through a friend in the US who happened to be coming for a business trip. Now, I'm waiting for anyone else I know who may be coming over...

By the way, I've been watching Slim Devices since the SliMP3. At the time, it wasn't practical for me to get one. Now, with the SB2 and it's wireless capability it was time. Although I'm a new customer, Slim Devices has appeared to be a solid company for the past 5 years. I wish them the very best for the next 5!

takashi37
2005-08-04, 18:26
Congratulations to all the new parents out there! Double that if it's your first! I have a 2 month old myself. Our third child.

We have a 3 month old first child here... and the spoiled brat already has her own SB2 :)

David Ranch
2005-08-05, 21:22
Hello Everyone,

It's been ages since I've posted on the list as my oringinal Slimp3 has always
"just worked"! No need for the newest code as it has always done what I
needed.

So over the years I've been advocating the Slimp3 to /many/ users and more
recently, I've been helping a buddy install his encoding Linux box using Grip
and a cool script I wrote to encode to both MP3 and FLAC for a given
disk. [it's posted on my homepage if you'd like to check it out]. Anyway, he
appreciated my help so much, he bought me a SqueezeBox2!

So.. my original Slimp3 hardware has been going strong but to use the SB2, I
need new code. MANY upgrades later:

1) Had to use the .tar.gz file as the RPM file throws the following errors:
--
rpmlib(PayloadFilesHavePrefix) <= 4.0-1 is needed by slimserver-6.1.1-1
rpmlib(CompressedFileNames) <= 3.0.4-1 is needed by slimserver-6.1.1-1
--

This is probably due to the fact I'm running an old version of RPM.


2) Using CPAN to meet all the requirements: (Upgrading perl 5.6.0 to 5.8.7)

3) Going through many faulty passes of "build-perl-modules.pl" later (I'll send
another email about that script's issues later)


Now I'm at a point I can't get past. My old Slimp3 hardware works fine but if
I plug in the SB2 and tell it to connect to the server (via wired Ethernet),
the daemon crashes and both players go offline.

/usr/local/slimserver/slimserver.pl --user slimserver --httpaddr 192.168.0.1
--cliaddr 192.168.0.1 --audiodir /home/hpe/SOUND/MP3s-archive/good/ --cachedir
/usr/local/slimserver/Cache/ --prefsfile /etc/slimserver.pref --diag

Uncaught exception from user code:
Your vendor has not defined Socket macro IPPROTO_TCP, used at
/usr/local/slimserver/Slim/Networking/Slimproto.pm line 78
at /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.7/i586-linux/Socket.pm line 392
Socket::AUTOLOAD() called at
/usr/local/slimserver/Slim/Networking/Slimproto.pm line 78
Slim::Networking::Slimproto::slimproto_accept('IO: :Socket::INET=GLOB(0x98440a8)')
called at /usr/local/slimserver/Slim/Networking/Select.pm line 115
Slim::Networking::Select::select(0.746625185012817 ) called at
/usr/local/slimserver/slimserver.pl line 636
main::idle() called at /usr/local/slimserver/slimserver.pl line 579
main::main() called at /usr/local/slimserver/slimserver.pl line 1175

Help!

--David
..----------------------------------------------------------------------------.
| David A. Ranch - Linux/Networking/PC hardware dranch (AT) trinnet (DOT) net |
!---- ----!
`----- For more detailed info, see http://www.ecst.csuchico.edu/~dranch -----'

seanadams
2005-08-05, 21:47
David,

I remember your name from the early, early, days! The Linux install can be a bit of pain - since we've added the database functionaly there are a few more opporunities for a problem on Linux.

However for Windows and MacOSX, the install is very easy because our download includes everyhing neeeded for Win/Mac.

For forther help, it's possibly best to contact support@slimdevices.com. Otherwise maybe someone can help? I'm running our latest relase on Mandrake 10 with no problems and no additional installs. Maybe something we need is missing or oudated on your system?

seanadams
2005-08-05, 21:50
Oops, we are posting offtopic in an existing thread... please reply in a new thread.

pfarrell
2005-08-05, 22:01
On Fri, 2005-08-05 at 21:50 -0700, seanadams wrote:
> Oops, we are posting offtopic in an existing thread...

Actually, David started a new thread. Or at least
subject. It is Mr Benz sidewalk parker that is using an old
thread.

Of course, this may be due to the wonderful forum software :-)


--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

Fifer
2005-08-08, 01:14
How many are out there? 500, 5000, 50000 -- that is important and not unfair to ask. Speaks to the strength of the business and community.

According to the 'Al Gore invented the Squeezebox' EE Times article linked to from seanadams.com, 'the 25-year-old Adams has sold some 10,000 MP3 players'. I assume they mean Slim Devices (unless Sean is selling iPods from a market stall as a side-line) and the article is dated September 2004, so that number should now be significantly higher.