Blockchain firm Sirin Labs – which has footballing sensation Lionel Messi as a brand ambassador – has laid off 25% of its staff following poor smartphone sales, according to Israeli news outlet Globes.
Sirin Labs is run by Moshe Hogeg, chairperson of the Singulariteam fund and owner of the Beitar Jerusalem football team.
The company raised more than $157 million during its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) early in 2018. It had previously also raised $97 million prior to the ICO, meaning it has raised roughly $254 million in total since its inception.
However, it has been revealed that 15 out of 60 employees have now been let go from Sirin Labs.
Recently, Sirin Labs released its blockchain smartphone called the ‘Finney‘. It was available for pre-order at a price of $999 – providing customers held Sirin tokens (SRN).
The Finney boasts a crypto wallet and other apps designed to work with cryptocurrencies alongside its blockchain capabilities.
However, Sirin Labs has revealed that sales of the smartphone “were not what we expected” and that “the global market is not in the best state”.
Reports had surfaced suggesting Sirin Labs had failed to pay wages to its employees, but the firm has denied these claims.
“The company gives some of its work to outsourcing, and plans to focus on development and distribution of the software,” Sirin Labs said.
Reportedly, this isn’t the first of Hogeg’s start-ups to lay off employees or close down recently. In late 2018, STX – which operated on the Stox blockchain – closed down its activity in Israel after letting go of all of its employees.
In 2010, Hogeg founded Mobli, which also shut down operations in 2017 after reporting it had raised $86 million to develop a picture sharing app.
Haven’t heard about the blockchain-based smartphone developed by Sirin Labs? Discover how the final design was unveiled at an event in Barcelona in late 2018.