A press release earlier this month announced that the wellness company Aetrex Worldwide Inc. acquired the 3D printing footwear startup SOLS, but sources tell us that's not the full story. According to multiple people with direct knowledge, SOLS had essentially been closed for months before the acquisition took place.
In January of last year, TechCrunch reported that SOLS laid off 20% of its workforce. The company then tried to raise a round of funding to keep it afloat, sources say, but was unable to do so. It turns out, SOLS laid off most of its company last June and some time after that shut down all production of its 3D-printed insoles, according to sources. In the following months, the company was essentially dead, although a core team attempted to sell off its proprietary technology. That appears to be what happened with the Aetrex acquisition.
To date, SOLS has raised $23.7 million in venture funding.
UPDATE: I reached out to founder Kegan Schouwenburg for comment, asking about each of the points alleged above. She wrote the following statement:
In June we shifted directions to focus on partnerships with shoe brands like RYKA, and began developing a new product SIZERIGHT that leveraged our proprietary technology to tackle shoe fit for online shoppers. We realigned the team to meet new needs which resulted in both reductions and hiring.
The product was enthusiastically received by our beta partners, one of which ended up acquiring us before we brought it to market.
Photo: courtesy of SOLS CGW