Electric Motorcycle Startup Mission Motors Ceases Operations After Losing Talent to Apple

Mission-Motors-EMElectric motorcycle startup Mission Motors has ceased operations after losing some of its key talent to competitors such as Apple, and failing to develop a viable business model, according to Reuters.

"Mission had a great group of engineers, specifically electric drive expertise," [former CEO Derek] Kaufman said. "Apple knew that - they wanted it, and they went and got it."

The report claims about six engineers from the San Francisco-based startup were recruited by Apple since last autumn, and the company's assets are now controlled by its largest investor Infield Capital.

Mission Motorcycles, a related company created to sell the electric motorcycles, is reportedly in the process of filing for bankruptcy.

Apple never attempted to acquire Mission Motors outright, according to Kaufman, instead drawing from its pool of specialized engineers working on electric drive systems and battery algorithms for charging and cooling.

Mission Motors was founded in 2007 with ambitions to create a world-class electric motorcycle, and it launched an early prototype in 2013 to positive reviews. The company was reportedly often cash strapped, however, and some investors backed out as engineers left for competitors.

Mission Motors never released an electric motorcycle for sale to consumers.

Apple has been rumored to be working on an electric vehicle, codenamed "Project Titan," for several months, with its secretive automotive team reportedly including former employees from Tesla, Ford, GM, A123 Systems, Samsung and other competitors. Earlier this year, it reached a settlement with A123 in a poaching lawsuit.

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

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62 months ago

That was a dick move by Apple, and those engineers too.

HOW DARE ANYONE PICK TO GO TO A COMPANY WILLING TO PAY THEM A HIGHER WAGE AND OFFER THEM MORE OPPORTUNITIES! THE NERVE OF SUCH PEOPLE. :rolleyes:
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago
"Some close to Mission Motors said it had reached a point of no return by last fall, when departures to Apple, and other companies, accelerated after a long struggle to find funding and a sound business model."

So, 1. no funding and 2. No sound business model.

Yep, all Apple's fault.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago
I find it hard to believe that with all the engineering talent in this country, they have that much trouble finding people.

My guess is the company simply ran out of money and was unsuccessful, and that they are using this as an excuse.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
62 months ago
I can see how this can become a life-threatening issue for a start-up facing a giant such as Apple. These start-ups are often comprised of only a handful of people and if Apple (with its deep pockets) makes offers-they-can't-refuse to essential people, then they are dead in the water.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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62 months ago
An Apple car is cool, but an Apple iCycle would be pretty neat.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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62 months ago
Apple is the Big Bad Wolf everyone complained Microsoft was years ago. The only difference is Apple is far more unethical than Microsoft ever was in going about it's business when it came to situations like what this article is about. Screw everyone over and try to pay them off after like A123. One day it will bite them in the butt again.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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