Jolla, the Finnish startup that rose from the ashes of Nokia’s mobile dreams, may have once again beaten the odds. After near bankruptcy and after “temporarily” letting go of half of its workforce, Jolla has happily announced that it has received some much needed monetary infusion thanks to a delayed Series C funding round. But although the company can momentarily breathe a sigh of release, its battle is far from over, with its employment situation, tablet deliveries, and its business future in general still in question.
Jolla isn’t saying how much it received from the funding, partly because it’s just the first of a series of financial packages to be delivered over an also undisclosed period of time. Names aren’t also being given, other than it’s from a group of investors, both old and new. Yes, plural, which could inspire a bit of confidence. The secrecy is also partly to stop speculation on how long the money will last. Jolla chair Antii Saarnio does say that it’s a sizable package that will help stabilize the company’s financial situation and continue its operations. At least in theory.
Those operations might still be put on hold, if not at least slowed down, more due to lack of manpower than funds. Jolla only temporarily let go of some employees with the goal of hiring them back should things start looking favorable. Unsurprisingly, some have actually permanently resigned. Jolla won’t probably be able to get half of that number back, which should severely affect its operations.
There is also still some concerns regarding its highly successful crowdfunded tablet, which still hasn’t been delivered to all backers. Again despite coming into more money, Jolla itself is uncertain about the future of those tablets. It is mulling over still pushing through with producing the tablets, a Herculean task given its delays, or scrap the tablet and give backers a refund. Either way, Jolla will take a hit, both in terms of money as well as reputation.
Jolla still seems to be confident in that reputation, which will be crucial to its Sailfish OS licensing business, which is, of course, Jolla’s core business now. It says it has several interested customers, mostly from corporate and government sectors, that want to use Sailfish OS with some customizations. Jolla is looking into supporting that type of business, not unlike Cyanogen Inc’s spiel with Android. How it will manage to pull that off, however, especially with its tarnished history, is something we have yet to witness.