COMHEAR YARRA 3DX - NEWS & BACKGROUNDS

Anything related to Kickstarter
Post Reply
Edwin
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:35 pm

Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:39 am

Starting this thread as a temporary platform to engage with backers who are looking to find a way to get a definite solution to the backers who have pledged for the product - non delivered by Comhear.

For most recent comments:
Kickstarter comment board>>
IndieGogo comment board>>


MOST RECENT NEWS: More news.....

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. The backer story - Summary
2. Detailed information
3. Key persons & companies involved
4. What's next? - backers' initiatives
5. Recommended backer actions - Templates and tips
6. Filing your own complaints - Templates and tips
7. Financial watch dogs & precedents
8. Press releases
9. Press coverage
10.Kickstarter resolution

IMPORTANT NOTES/DISCLAIMER!!
  • Do NOT post a link to this thread on Kickstarter or IGG
  • This thread has been started by me as a concerned backer;
  • I am not in the lead of any legal action nor the key person to contact the project's creator/Comhear;
  • Do not consider this thread to be an outlet for frustrated people, any form of hatred or to invoke your demand for refund;
  • The thread starter (or any of the posters) is not a lawyer and none of the comments or links presented should be considered legal advice.
  • Please do not post any revealing information here other than widely available on the internet;
  • If you do have relevant/insider information, please do send a PM to those members you think should be in the know;
  • Please do not post your personal data or anyone else's.
Feel free to post your comments below by replying to this comment section. Any helpful suggested option or valuable information that could contribute to this write up in a positive critical way will be taken seriously. Your response may be placed on page X -from Y-, rest assured it will be picked up.
Last edited by Edwin on Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:26 pm, edited 189 times in total.
Edwin
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:35 pm

Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:26 am


< work in process >
In the past year a lot of information has been gathered and uncovered. It would be simply too much to present to you, therefore a comprehensive overview can be found below to give you a general view. If you're interested in detailed information just keep on reading the next sections.

Image

Introduction
In 2017 the San Diego based Comhear Inc. presented the themselves as being a start up company. As such they have launched crowdfunding campaigns to raise money for what was then presented to be an innovating consumer binaural 3D audio soundbar called YARRA 3DX. We're here to summarize the events and presenting facts in a way all backers are able to comprehensively read the full story and have justice take its course as we believe consumer and investor's rights have being violated by misrepresentation of the facts and intentionally misleading the backer communities.


Pre-Crowdfunding events
Prior to the Kickstarter launch Comhear had already developed a product called ProAV (also known as MBPro-12) as a basis for the Yarra 3DX soundbar; a nearly completed (derived) product, to which only a few components had to be added and slightly redesigned, with a lot of preexisting knowledge to build the production version of Yarra 3DX. As stated later on the campaign website it would require only marginal feature additions and a new industrial design, which had even already been finalized and made by Tandem Design

Zylux, Comhear's manufacturer came on board before the Kickstarter campaign had started, as it appeared they were already Comhear (OEM)manufacturer for B2B. In addition to the initial USD$ 8.7M investment in the company, mid 2017 Zylux made another investment of USD$ 12M by Zylux Acoustics, a stake of nearly USD$ 20M makes Zylux the main investor.

With Zylux represented on the board, Mr. Gerry Chastelet was appointed CEO and Mr. Andrew Arno named Chairman. Former CEO was put 'in charge' of business development. To potential backers of the upcoming Kickstarter campaign it seemed that the original Yarra 3DX 'team' was not affected, the investment contributed to the feeling this company was well prepared to live up to its promises.

Prior to launching the campaign Kickstarter organization’s dedicated Tech team has given their approval for starting the campaign, they even marked it “Project we love” upon launch.


Crowdfunding
Comhear first launched a successful Kickstarter campaign on 12-09-2017 (ended 27-10-2017) and continued raising extra money through Indiegogo days after by setting up a pre-order campaign. The company successfully raised a total of USD $1,112,111 , smashing the initial goal of USD $50,000 by nearly 1500%! Funded by 2,679 individuals of the crowdfunding community, this exceeded the initial goal for ramping up mass production and fulfilment of the backer rewards, scheduled for March 2018.

In the course of the campaign the backer community was shown a pre-production version of the YARRA 3DX immersive soundbar as a proof of concept. According to the very few that have actually been able to auditioning The YARRA 3DX the soundbar is a very promising product. With all assurances, endorsements by the audio world’s finest and press feedback, the backers at that time did not have any indication Comhear could or would not deliver on their promise.


Main reasons for non-delivery of rewards
We know Yarra 3DX soundbars have been manufactured, several photos of the process have been made available.

Image

Manufacturing is prepared, components have been manufactured and registered at the FCCID. Pre-production unit has been delivered and the community was invited and presented an unboxing video.

The manufacturer has halted the production and shipment awaiting unpaid invoices by Comhear, which should have been paid with the backers' money.....

....if it wasn't for Mr. Gerry Chastelet, who had been put in the saddle as the new CEO, clearly taken over from the forward thinking the former C-suite, passionate people who - along with consultants Mr. Peter Otto and Mr. Mark Waldrep - had been responsible for conceiving the Yarra 3DX consumer based soundbar - . They had to make space for Mr. Chastelet's vision and way of doing business, not disturbed by any form of self-enrichment or self-dealing policies.

We have every reason to believe the collected money from Kickstarter and IndieGogo backers have been used as a ‘temporary’ way to finance the business-to-business process (B2B) and basic finance operations (including fees). Whilst searching for new customers - proving this was an ongoing concern as opposed to being a startup -, the company ran out of cash. According to the latest annual report and publicly announced B2B deals there were only a few customers. Comhear must have thought the crowdfunding route could be the easiest way to raise money.

At the risk of not being able to materialize potential deals, the Kickstarter funds aka our money had been used to gamble of preserving and expanding the B2B market, to then simply dry up, resourced evaporated until the last drop. Comhear already being short of money to finance their ONGOING business in the B2B market it is safe to say the crowdfunding cash has not only been allocated to pay for fees, rent but also to fill gaps. Relentlessly targeting the big boys in the B2B market (+costs involved to get to a final transaction), in their believe a big hit could secure their already fragile financial position, going south on one of those contracts could be catastrophic. There weren't any cash funds left.

We know that 'the working environment became very toxic'. Employees left after Mr. Chastelet took leadership. There are several statements that besides the people that were 'unloaded' as part of the Zylux investment deal (getting Mr. Chastelet at the wheel). Mr. Chastelet could have pushed the start button when the Kickstarter campaign had ended. IndieGogo backers provided the extra cash. All things were in place, but employees were leaving the company, however that had nothing to do with manufacturing process (especially not the Yarra) because Comhear was able to fulfill B2B orders (see ‘Companies’ involved’) and set up a B2B deal with Stampede Global distributor.

Despite our requests for paying back the crowdfunding money none of the backers received a refund. There wasn’t any money to make refunds….we have been a very convenient piggybank for Comhear, completely smashed to pieces and still Mr. Chastelet had the nerves to state in the newspaper that the raised money (being 1500% of funding goal) was insufficient and needed an extra $4-5 million just to keep the business going, no promises on delivering our Yarra 3DX soundbars. Arguments used by Mr. Chastelet for non-delivery were invalid (see below for details). Comhear has displayed a total and utterly lack of respect to our community and therefore we have lost every confidence - especially in the CEO -, to the current C-suite (delivering/refunding) the backer community is just an afterthought.


Comhear Inc. history – need to knows
According to Comhear statements at the launch of the campaign again Comhear Inc. presented themselves to be a start up company – the truth being far from it – and thousands of backers were presented a fully working prototype based on the Pro AV series already selling to the B2B2C market.

Comhear Inc., formerly known as Taida Corporation was founded by CEO of Jabra (Randy Granovetter) has been trying to raise funds on a continous basis.

Zylux Acoustic Corp. is a big Taiwan based company, also Comhear's main investor and board member represented by Mr. Wyatt Briant[/url]. Zylux is the appointed ODM manufacturer for Comhear Yarra 3DX units. Coincidently (..) the company happens to reside at the same address as Taida Corporation.

Zylux should be capable and solvable to produce the Yarra 3DX units we’re all waiting for. Why did Comhear go the Kickstarter crowdfunding route when Zylux already boosted the company financially?

On the campaign page and in press releases Comhear insinuated that they have the patent ownership on the technology for the Yarra 3DX. As it seems they have been granted a license for that technology. The license will expire in February 2019 if the underlying conditions will not be met by then. For the Yarra 3DX the company only has the ownership of the trademarks, not of the patent(s) for the technology.

Since the new CEO was appointed many key persons have left the company. The new CEO then shamelessly appointed well willing people like his own inexperienced son - who he even has to graduate – and friends like Mr. Chuck Labitan.


< work in process >


Position Dr. Mark Waldrep
There have been no recent updates by Comhear representatives, all recent campaign updates have been by Mark Waldrep, a consultant with no direct affiliation with the company. Mr. Waldrep’s actions and statements are credible because routinely interacted directly with current and former management as the consultant Comhear Inc. hired to run the Kickstarter campaign. Marks efforts to try and keep the community up to date, applauded by the community, are limited due to an NDA he signed.

Comhear's CEO has rejected Dr. Mark Waldrep’s offer to take over the Yarra 3DX, the best solution for Comhear to take this burdon of Comhear shoulders and their chance to walk away from this mess we hold them responsible and accountable for.

Mark Waldrep stated in his blog (http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=6311):
a) “The funds raised through the campaign were sufficient to pay for the tooling, development, parts, and manufacturing of 2700 units. Unfortunately, the company spent the money on normal company operations and do not have the resources to complete the remaining tasks — including manufacturing and shipping”.
b) “The company is trying to raise additional funds to complete the manufacturing of the YARRA 3DX. As a result, there is no ship date. And there is a very real chance that the company fails to deliver the promised YARRA 3DX sound bars at all.”

Dr. Mark Waldrep stated in his farewell postfrom February 12 2019 administrative control has changed hands, he is no longer attached to Comhear Inc.
Update #38 Feb 12 2019
Administrative Control Changing Hands - Thanks and Goodbye!
Posted by Comhear Inc. (Creator)

Since the beginning of the YARRA 3DX adventure several years ago, I have been the administrator for the Kickstarter campaign. I assembled all of the content, designed the graphics, produced most of the videos/animations, managed the community, and helped promote the very promising technology developed by my friend at UCSD and which was incorporated in the YARRA 3DX product. My consultancy ended in May of 2018 and I ceased all activities related to this campaign. Most notably, I stopped responding to comments and posting new updates at the direction of company management.
This will be my last update as administrator of the KS site. Comhear's CEO has requested that I relinquish my role as administrator of the KS campaign. I will comply with his request today by communicating with the appropriate people at Kickstarter. My email address will be removed from the KS administrator system. Any further updates or responses will be coming from current Comhear employees.
I also agreed to return the YARRA 3DX demo unit that I was provided last summer. I've enjoyed demoing it for friends, audio enthusiasts, the tech team at Abbey Road, and potential investors. While there are still things that I couldn't get to work, the YARRA 3DX is a solid piece of engineering and will be a welcome additional to your systems — if Comhear manages to raise the funds necessary to manufacture and ship it. I believe they want to meet their obligations. I hope they do — I pledged for 2 of them.

The CEO also paid my final invoice for which I'm very thankful. It took 6 months but we're finally square. I want to apologize to those backers that pledged for a YARRA 3DX because of my personal recommendation. I believed in the people, the product, the technology, and the future of 3D audio as represented by the YARRA 3DX. I trusted company management to live up to its commitments. Sadly, things in product development and company operations don't always go as planned.

Thanks again for supporting my efforts. It has been a long and educational process. Most of you know how to reach me...please feel free to contact me outside of this forum.
Based on the above one can reasonably conclude the reason we don’t have our YARRA 3DX sound bars is because Comhear Inc. misappropriated Kickstarter and Indiegogo backer funds to pay for it’s money losing ProAV business.

Comhear accountability





Current situation
The backer community have no assurance our Yarra 3DX will (ever) be manufactured and delivered, no transparency with Comhear’s operations over the past several months either. Also, we have yet to read a statement from Mr. Chastelet that gives us any actual information on business dealings during the mass silence.

Comhear's ODM/OEM manufacturer Zylux Acoustics (represented on Comhear board and being main investor) obviously wasn't willing to grant Comhear the additional money Comhear has been seeking for. They already had to shut all Yarra 3DX operations down as seemingly the costs for that had not been paid either.

The company presented fraudulent information in order to secure our backing. Over the last year they have made several dishonest statements in updates.

All we have now are hollow reassurances that do not ease backer unrest. It’s the secretive attitude that is rubbing folks the wrong way. Comhear clearly is not bothered nor affected by self enrichments and self-dealing at the cost of Comhear reputation, their employees and potentially great product release of the Yarra 3DX.

We want to see documentation and meeting minutes that show what’s been discussed and planned in regards to the Yarra production. This includes evidence of due diligence and breakdown of where the money went, which was said to be spent on manufacturing and prototyping since the campaign began. After that, the detailed plans to get Yarra production complete and into backers hands or immediate refunding of pledged+shipping fee collected.


Allegations & conclusions
The key allegation is Comhear misappropriated backer funds to pay for non-YARRA 3DX expenses, ie ProAV company operations, rent, moving HQ to LaJolla, fees, PR, marketing and sales cost budgets spent on existing (B2B) PROAV company operations, costs involved for Stampede deal, shows and events (flights, hotels, for the Comhear team, etc) instead of manufacturing the sound bars backer funds were explicitly raised to produce. Failure to ship YARRA 3DX is breach of contract.

If documented, misappropriation of backer funds would be fraud. So far Comhear has ignored repeated requests to provide a full accounting of how backer funds were spent.

Comhear committed fraud in that as part of their Kickstarter campaign by stating that all the company needed to do was "ramp up production". As opposed to CEO Mr. Chastelet's comments to the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Yarra 3DX could not be manufactured by crowdfunding alone. In short, Comhear Inc. is in breach of contract. Pursuant to Kickstarter Terms of Use the individual backers demand the company to immediately provide a full accounting of how backer funds have been used.

A summary of allegations:
*
*

For detailed information and backgrounds please see <<HERE >>


Position Kickstarter
Kickstarter has made a statement on Februari 4th 2019
From: Edwin
Date: Wednesday 20 February 2019 19:55
Recipients: Kickstarter (recipients email address undisclosed)
Onderwerp: RE: [Kickstarter] Re: To: @Will, Director of Trust & Safety


Will and Jon,

If you even care at all:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ya ... 4/comments

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ya ... e/comments

Regards,
Edwin
From: Edwin
Sent: Sunday 17 February 2019
To: Kickstarter, Director of Trust & Safety and Senior Director of Strategy & Insights

Anything?
See no evil hear no evil?
Come on guys!

BR,
Edwin


From: Edwin
Sent: Wednesday 6 February 2019
To: Kickstarter, Director of Trust & Safety and Senior Director of Strategy & Insights


Hello Will and Jon,

Thank again for your message and allowing to share this with the backergroup.

@Jon:
Reason for including you in this reply is to inform you about the status. The events will be of impact of backers and future creators on this platform. Personally I hate to conclude Kickstarter is no longer worthy being a proud member of, being a Super-super backer does not seem to mean anything anymore, I therefore removed my avatar as it doesn't serve a purpose, what a shame, I thought we were all working towards a better and responsible platform.

Like others I'm boycotting Kickstarter and will undo my ‘superbacker’ status too as soon as the current project I pledged for has ended. However if you'd like to contact me to (re)solve the issues at hand or if you'd like an open discussion about Kickstarter future, I'm open to that regardless the outcome of the Comhear debacle, because of the relationship we have built.

@Will (and @Jon):
For the backergroup your message really makes no sense. With all information, documentation and evidence handed to you on a silver platter, what did you investigate? It is evident that all the money has been spent (1500%) and funds misappropriated, the CEO even confirmed that in the San Diego tribune! Comhear does not respond, not even to our open letter, and they will only buy time. To the backers Mr. Gerry Chastelet just fools around with us, knowing now he even has Kickstarter on a leash!!

What is Kickstarter waiting for? It is clear Comhear Inc. violated the Terms of Use they commited themselves to prior to the launch of the project, especially #4. We gave you all the ammunition we have - still have a few aces up our sleeves - , what does it take (what evidence should we provide) for Kickstarter to really take action? It looks like Kickstarter is in a safe harbor no matter what happens. If you don’t have the guts to step up against the bad creators you might as well remove your Terms of Use. Why should we backers even consider future pledges (to honest creators) knowing Kickstarter will *not* back us up when creators will be let of the hook in one way or another, even when presenting all evidence they have failed?

If canned replies is all we wind up getting, it will ultimately bring an end to the industry.

Don’t get me wrong, we all signed up for the good reasons years ago and are well aware of any risks involved. We did not however sign up to get robbed in broad daylight and having Kickstarter stand watching it happen and do nothing. I hate to see malpractices, abuse of our beloved platform and future creators to pick the sour fruits, not being able to get their funds for their dreams to become a reality, because the hard core backer community is turning their backs and walk out on the platform.

This doesn’t blow away.
If you allow this to happen, companies will come to the platform like flies to the a pile of shit, running fake projects *BECAUSE* you let them - not having restrictions or teeth to prevent them from ripping off backers (in good faith).

It's your turn!

For what it's worth to you I have put some of today’s first thought/comments below to indicate how the backergroup feels about Kickstarter message to the “Comhear YARRA 3DX: The Most Advanced 3D Audio System In The World project.”

Remember: 1,848 backers pledged $738,184 to help bring this project to life - excluding furious IGG backers of which many are Kickstarter backers who were late to the KS campaign and chipped in for another roughly $500K -

Some of today's comments
“Reposting in case my original was missed below:
Totally agree and what I've been saying for a long time. Unfortunately Kickstarter is part of the problem. Things will not improve until Kickstarter begins to feel the pain of Facebook because public awareness rises to the point that NYT articles are written about the problem and legislators begin holding hearings. Facebook got away with all kinds of crap until public awareness got to the point that they went under the magnifying glass by media and politicians.”


“Thanks @Edwin, I agree with Trogdor's comments in that it's all nice fluffy 'we have done our best but realistically we don't have any idea or power to do anything'.”


Edwin Superbacker
@all:
As per Kickstarter:
"if you have any other documentation or information you'd like us to review, feel free to share here."

I haven't replied to Kickstarter to have them see for themselves what our backergroup thinks of their response and the impact it will have on us as well as KS backer community as a whole.
Please keep your thoughts coming, for many this may be the last opportunity to do so and be heard.


Edwin Superbacker
Filed complaints with ESMA, FTC, Attorney Generals Office, local financial watch dogs and credit card company and others.


Edwin Superbacker
Rite Team KS project is another recent example of the new trend


“Hi @Edwin, many thanks for this and all the other great work that you have done. I think KS’s response is as expected, my take on it is they will do nothing substantive to get Comhear prioritise fulfilment above all else. In other words this is a let’s wait and see, I don’t want to get my hands dirty admission by KS. Honestly I doubt that KS will do anything material even when the campaign is officially dead and we are left in the lurch. Our assault on the publicity side should target KS’s skewed model generally as much as Comhear’s crookedness specifically. Only backers walking out on them in large numbers will get KS to take any meaningful action I think. Personally I’m in a boycott, hope a significantly large number of others are in the same boat.”


“Totally agree and what I've been saying for a long time. Unfortunately Kickstarter is part of the problem. Things will not improve until Kickstarter begins to feel the pain of Facebook because public awareness rises to the point that NYT articles are written about the problem and legislators begin holding hearings. Facebook got away with all kinds of crap until public awareness got to the point that they went under the magnifying glass by media and politicians.”


“Edwin, so I guess that KS lackey, wasn’t impressed that Gerry “The Crook” Chastelet, basically admitted to the press, that the whole KS campaign was a scam, when he said the Conhear, had no response intention of producing the soundbar from the funds raised. What a naive, fucking idiot the KS lackey is.”


“Thanks for your efforts Edwin. I remember you had mentioned you had more contacts with KS than the average person.

I need to think on this a bit but my first impression is nothing has changed. Of course Gerry is going to say that they are going to committed to this project (up until the time we receive notice of Chapter 7 or 11 reorganization - as an example) - they would be fools to say otherwise.

Other random thoughts:
//"We did request..." -- No teeth here. No enforcement. No action.
//"Moving forward, Kickstarter will continue to keep an eye...". No action here either.
//"After a thorough investigation...". What was investigated by KS? Items you and others had found? What actually was done here?

KS has given the creator the, "Benefit of the doubt" it would seem. To do otherwise would set a dangerous precedent for them. The ball remains, as it has been, in the backers arena and a high cost/effort ration to push back.

In short: If it makes some feel fuzzy and warm that KS is, "...keeping an eye.." on this, so be it. Nothing new here unfortunately.”


“Cool! With this letter and 6 bucks I can get a cappuccino. Ever hoping to receive the product. Not holding my breath.”


“Unfortunately I agree with the above - a lot of words that essentially say nothing. Political speak with no substance that buys time. Basically just a personalized version of the boiler plate that backers normally receive from KS when they complaint. In other words: Bupkis!”
From: "Kickstarter Trust & Safety (Kickstarter)
Feb 4, 11:24 AM EST


Hello Edwin,

Thank you for your patience and for passing along your letter to Comhear. I wanted to give you a quick update on our investigation into Yarra 3DX.

After a thorough investigation, we recently spoke to Comhear, Inc. CEO Gerry Chastelet. During that conversation we were told that Comhear is still committed to fulfilling the Yarra3DX product to all backers and actively working towards that goal. They indicated that they are taking successful fulfillment of the product seriously and understand the frustration backers have experienced.

We did request that Comhear more actively engage with the community, including posting more regular updates and offering more transparency into their ongoing efforts to fulfill the campaign.

Moving forward, Kickstarter will continue to keep an eye on their fulfillment progress, but if you have any other documentation or information you'd like us to review, feel free to share here.

Best,
Will"
(red: Director of Trust & Safety)
As stated by one of the backers: "The Terms of Use were written by lawyers for lawyers. Based on the responses backers have received thus far Kickstarter does not seem to care. Comhear has taken backers' money, on the statement all that the company has to do is "ramp up production", they didn't. Therefore, they are in the wrong. And no weasel words in the terms of use will change that."
......awaiting Kickstarter reply to the response sent out 02-06-2019, mostly based on the general tone of voice ofcomments from the backers (and scrolling up)

What's next?
Knowing what has happened to date, given the contradicting statements on the campaign website - misleading to say the least - and other matters that have been uncovered, it is very hard to believe Comhear intends to deliver the Yarra. Not mentioning anything of the above, hence the ‘gap in communications’, the backer community can not and may never understand the Comhear board was unable to make any definitive statements and serious issue remain in keeping patient and understanding.

Even if Comhear will ever resume production of the Yarra 3DX it will be done with minimum effort and minimum quality assurance, just to fulfill what was promised. Nobody now stand behind this product and nobody will protect backers interest in this company.

Increasing evidence is coming to light that crowd funding money have been misappropriated and used for purposes other than those stated in the campaign. The tenuous financial position of the company was not disclosed to backers.

The backer community is taking actions and is working on finding ways to increase the awareness of this process, including ways for exposure and demands.

The community will continue and persist in their effort to conduct thorough research, filing relevant information/evidence of malpractice/misrepresentation/withholding of facts, be conducted by highly regarded tech and equity reporter journalists, as well as appropriate investigation by market watch dogs. Backers will continue filing complaints of violations by Comhear, take appropriate legal actions, planning and take actions we feel necessary to bringing Comhear Inc. way of doing business to the attention of the public and authorities.

<< BACK TO TOP >>
Last edited by Edwin on Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:57 am, edited 111 times in total.
Edwin
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:35 pm

Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:28 pm


note: This section is in the works and will be containing information based on the 'Working document' (to be processed)

Throughout the campaign some of the backers discovered and revealed some disturbing facts, indicating Comhear('s):
01. withholding material information while raising funds
02. making false statements to facilitate raising funds

Next overview is compiled of false or highly questionable statements/misleading statements.
“Our goal is to reimagine immersive, 3D audio using innovative cutting edge technologies. We've made incredible progress towards this ambitious goal but we need your help in bringing our patented technology to you.”

“The new consumer version offered as part of this campaign requires only marginal feature additions and a new industrial design. We are VERY confident that we can meet our commitments.”

"The founders of Comhear Inc. envision a future where immersive, 3D audio can be delivered without multiple speakers or headphones. They reached out to a Peter Otto, Director of Sonic Arts R&D at the Qualcomm Institute at UCSD, and initiated a series of research projects into beam forming and spatial audio realization. The results of those projects resulted in several patents and products — AND Peter leaving his directorship after 25 years to join Comhear in July of 2016 as the company's Chief Science Officer."

“The research has been done, concepts validated, working prototypes assembled and tested, and now we simply need to ramp up manufacturing. We've secured strong relationships and know the costs needed to produce tooling, purchase materials, manufacture units, and distribute the YARRA 3DX smart bar to consumers.”

“The beamforming technology at the core of the YARRA 3DX is already part of our commercial ProAV devices. The new consumer version offered as part of this campaign requires only marginal feature additions and a new industrial design. We are VERY confident that we can meet our commitments.”

“We will remain in regular contact with backers and make sure that you receive all news related to the YARRA 3DX sound bar — good and bad. We're committed to exceeding your expectations.”

“We know that building a state-of-the-art audio product is worthwhile and potentially disruptive to an industry anxious for change, but we want our efforts to inform and alter the consumer audio marketplace.”

Source

Mr. Peter Otto did not leave his directorship, he still is the Director of Sonic Arts R&D (patentholder). Mr. Peter Otto (consultant and contractor) and his friend Mr. Mark Waldrop were 'Consultants', both left Comhear.
03. Comhear (re-)allocation of the raised funds, funding other business activities
Comhear first launched a Kickstarter campaign on 12-09-2017, successfully raising $738,184 (by 1,848 backers) on 27-10-2017 and continued raising extra money through Indiegogo days after by setting up a pre-order campaign, raising another $373,927 (by 831 backers) to a total of USD $1,112,111 funded by 2,679 individuals. The initial goal for ramping up mass production and fulfilment of the backer rewards was USD $50,000. According to Comhear statements at the launch of the campaign again Comhear Inc. presented themselves to be a start up company – the truth being far from it – and thousands of backers were presented a fully working prototype based on the Pro AV series already selling to the B2B2C market.

Following earlier statement, confirmation on delivery of B2B2C product 'Vicky', Comhear technology incorporated
"Vicki also uses directed audio technology to communicate with customers in a highly personalized manner. A camera in the machine detects where the consumer is standing, enabling the audio system to direct beams of sound to the customer.
A speaker array embedded in the machine below the monitor screen calibrates the audio beams to a tight sound envelope that creates a personalized, transactional area in front of the machine, according to Paul O’Callaghan, senior vice president of sales for Comhear, which provides the audio technology.
The sound directed to the consumer will not be heard by other people in the area, according to James Winsor, ViaTouch Media’s chief technology officer and IoT director."
According to this information Comhear business customers are (still) being served, meaning Comhear beamforming tech in Viatouch' "Vicky" vending machines are (being) manufactured. This would implicate that - while Yarra 3DX has been halted - Comhear has/will ordered these Vicky units at Zylux Acoustics (Comhears' manufacturer) and paid for them while halting the consumer Yarra 3DX soundbars based on outstanding payments by Comhear. Ergo, our money had been spent elsewhere.....
04. making false statements about the production schedule
The campaign website states:
"The industrial design of the YARRA 3DX system was developed over many months after extensive research and market surveys. Tandem Design — a Santa Monica-based design firm with years of experience with sound bars — provided the YARRA 3DX team dozens of potential designs, revised countless details, and produced working prototypes in both black and silver."
05. actual reason for halting the final manufacturing run
06. plans to (non-)fulfilment and non-delivery of the campaigns rewards
It's apparent Comhear's decision to not fulfill rewards was by CHOICE evidenced by the fact that Comhear declined Mr. Waldrep's proposal which would have provided both the funds and the means to fulfill backer rewards.
07. company background, not being a start up company at all
"Comhear Inc., the company behind the product was founded in *2013* and looks forward to releasing a range of products based on *their* portfolio of patents. We'll be here for our backers"

Comhear was formerly known as Playbutton. With the help of Taida LLC. (Randy Granovetter) was then named Comhear. For details on the transition from Playbutton to Comhear see this 2014 Marketwatch article

"YARRA 3DX as a consumer project was initiated in late summer of 2014. The research done at the Spatial Audio Lab at UC San Diego under the direction of CSO and faculty member Peter Otto, resulted in our first sound bar — the ProAV model."
The company has been depending on UCSD Peter Otto from the start. At the time of the crowdfunding campaign they were an ongoing business, according to this article (May 14, 2015) the company even had to move because of growth and expanding.

Reference the overview in 11. 'Funds raised': According to most recent filings Comhear has raised over $24 million since 2012 plus another $2 million by crowdfunding (Kickstarter + Indiegogo) makes a total of $26 million to date. Main investors are Zylux Acoustics, (+MSQ + Tice Capital). Funds raised in 2016+2017 alone was nearly $20 million. Again, this proves Comhear wasn't a startup.
08. planned (non-) communication
"However, it is possible that unforeseen circumstances could derail our timeline and delay deliveries. We will remain in regular contact with backers and make sure that you receive all news related to the YARRA 3DX sound bar — good and bad. We're committed to exceeding your expectations."

Mr. Gerry Chastelet gives directions for posting comments on the Kickstarter comment board, doing so through Mr. Waldrep - who is officially no longer working for Comhear or consulting the company effective May 5, 2018.

Mr. Chastelet has explicitly chosen not to issue an update, only when the company is 'ready' for it. However he agreed to an interview with The San Diego Tribune
09. planned non-refund policy
10. way of conducting business, non compensation of outstanding payments and invoices
11. stakeholders and their investments
"An investor in the company, Zylux Acoustic Corporation is a privately held Taiwan based Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) Company. They specialize in the design and development of consumer electronics systems, servicing major brands with a focus on life-style audio products. Zylux was founded in 1980, and has grown into a multinational company with a global presence in Asia, North America and Europe."

Investors
Taida, PlayButton (Granovetter)
• Peter Lynch (Fidelity Investments)
• Brad Buss Comhear board member, Tesla board member and former CFO of SolarCity)
Zylux Acoustics (OEM/ODM manufacturer)
• Zylux America, Irvine Ca. (board member, subsidiary Zylux Acoustics, investor)
• Street Capital Inc.
• (MSQ)
• (Tice Capital)

Funds raised
According to most recent filings Comhear has raised over $24 million since 2012 plus another $2 million by crowdfunding (Kickstarter + Indiegogo) makes a total of $26 million to date. Main investors are Zylux Acoustics, (+MSQ + Tice Capital). Funds raised in 2016+2017 alone was nearly $20 million. Again, this proves Comhear wasn't a startup.
ComHear, Inc. Filings
Date: 2017-05-15
Filing Type: New Form D
Offered: $12,000,000
Sold: $9,961,102
Remaining: $2,038,898
Min. investment: $500
Invest. count: 76
Exemption / Exlusions: 06b
[SEC Filing]

Date: 2014-08-14
Filing Type: New Form D
Offered: $2,500,000
Sold: $150,000
Remaining: $2,350,000
Min. investment: $0
Invest. count: 2
Exemption / Exlusions: 06b
[SEC Filing]

Date: 2014-03-17
Filing Type: Amended Form D
Offered: $15,244,240
Sold: $14,220,474
Remaining: $1,023,766
Min. investment: $0
Invest. count: 37
Exemption / Exlusions: 06b
[SEC Filing]

Represents the private offering of 4,065,041 shares of common stock at $1.23 per share and the issuance of 8,328,651 shares of common stock valued in the aggregate at $10,244,240 in connection with a business acquisition.
Date: 2013-12-13
Filing Type: New Form D
Offered $15,244,240
Yet To Sell: $15,244,240
Min. investment: $0
Invest. count: 0
Exemption / Exlusions: 06b
[SEC Filing]

Represents the private offering of 4,065,041 shares of common stock at $1.23 per share and the issuance of 8,328,651 shares of common stock valued in the aggregate at $10,244,240 in connection with a business acquisition.
Date: 2012-10-31
Filing Type: New Form D
Offered: $7,000,000
Yet To Sell $7,000,000
Min. investment: $0
Invest. count: 0
Exemption / Exlusions: 06
[SEC Filing]


Represents (i) total offering of 2,000,000 units, at $2.00 per unit, each unit consisting of 2 shares of common stock and 1 warrant to purchase 1 share of common stock at $1.50 per share and (ii) value of the exercise of the warrants included in the units
ComHear, Inc. raised $24,331,576 in total.
(Source: whoisraisingmoney.com)
12. company drain of key persons (+ effects) leaving since Mr. Gerry Chastelet was appointed CEO
"Comhear Inc. Appoints Three Executives for Next Phase of Company Growth
Comhear Inc., the San Diego-based award-winning audio technology company, today announced the expansion of its leadership team with three seasoned executives. The company brought on Eric Haskell as Chief Financial Officer, Paul O’Callaghan as Senior Vice President of Sales, and Greg Thener as Regional Vice President of Sales. The three business professionals join Comhear on the heels of the company’s recent completion of a $12 million capital raise.
Comhear CEO, Gerry Chastelet commented, “We’re pleased to have Eric, Paul and Greg join the Comhear team. Their individual skills and operational experience will be instrumental to our planned 2018 growth initiatives.” Sept. 3rd. 2017


"The only person that has access to the Creator account is me. I have written to the CEO and copied several board members — including the chairman — about the situation unfolding on this site. I have not heard back yet but expect to after they've reviewed the comments and discussed their next move. There are not a lot of individuals actively employed by the company but the [email protected] format gets to those that remain."
(source: KS Comment board, 11-11-2018)

"Company management and technical team members were behind the product until new money was raised and Gerry Chastelet was put in charge. The former employees left the company when the environment became toxic."
(source: KS comment board, 09-11-2018)

".......They (red. 'Comhear') seemingly have received enough funding to continue paying the few remaining employees but are still looking for more money. The manufacturing run was halted because a substantial payment was required by Zylux in September that wasn't paid."
(source: KS comment board, 09-11-2018)
13. true story behind the Intellectual Property (IP)
"The technology behind YARRA 3DX was developed — and patents granted — by our CSO and collaborators at the SpatLab at UCSD in California."

"Our Chief Science Officer — and co-inventor of the patented technology inside of YARRA 3DX — spent 25 years in charge of the Music Technology area at UCSD and plays a central role in the advancement of our innovations in audio."

"Using a patented beamforming technology called MyBeam™ and state-of-the-art software developed at 3D audio research facilities at leading universities. VR, advanced gaming, home theater, and hi-res music experiences are dramatically enhanced when played using YARRA 3DX. MyBeam™, and YARRA 3DX are properties of Comhear, Inc."

As it turns out, Comhear does not have the actual patent ownership, there is no “our” patented technology. The ownership of the intellectual property (IP) is with Sonic Arts R&D at the Qualcomm Institute at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Comhear is granted a 5 year license, expected to expire in February 2019. The company does not have ownership of any of the technology used in the Yarra 3DX or the business model by the name of Pro AV, they only have a trademark for the commercial names (‘MyBeam’ and ‘KAP’) used for the tech - which isn’t theirs -, by insinuating MyBeam and Yarra 3DX being property backers were kept unaware the underlying patents were not. The slogan "Powered by MyBeam" has been added and with that Comhear insinuates or tries to underline that the essential technology is property owned by Comhear. The CSO that has been referred to is Mr. Peter Otto (Sonic Arts R&D) who is no longer consulting/working for Comhear, now working as CSO at Dysonics along with former CEO Mr. P. Teevens.

Former Comhear, collaborating with UCSD to commercialize intellectual property
https://www.invntip.com/workshop-to-hig ... l-economy/

License agreement Comhear - UCSD, exclusive license will expire in February 2019, but could be extended.

It is questionable as to Comhear are able to extend the exclusive license, because they do not seem to
be able to fill the market demand for the licensed product - at least not the Kickstarter product - and
this is a requirement in the Due Diligence section of the agreement. Under the previous management they
were able to get the ProAv product to market - and spent a lot of money to do it. The current CEO seems
to be claiming he needs to spend that development money again when he says that the Kickstarter funding
is not sufficient.

A good question is whether COMHEAR has regulatory approval to market the Yarra product in the US.
If they have that approval the license agreement says they have to market the product within 6 months
of receiving the approval.

section 3.3 (Due Diligence):
(a) LICENSEE shall, either directly or through its Affiliate(s) or Sublicensee(s):

(i) diligently proceed with the development, manufacture and sale of Licensed Products;

(ii) spend not less than One Million, Five Hundred Thousand dollars (US$1,500,000) for the development of Licensed Products during the first year of this Agreement. LICENSEE may, at its sole option, fund the research of any one of the Inventors and credit the amount of such funding actually paid to UCSD against its obligation under this paragraph;

(iii) Agree to spend the funds and resources necessary to successfully commercialize Licensed Products, currently estimated to be over Three Million dollars ($3,000,000). LICENSEE may, at its sole option, fund the research of any one of the Inventors and credit the amount of such funding actually paid to UCSD against its obligation under this paragraph;

(iv) identify and utilize adequate Contract Manufacturers and Distributors to meet the market demand following first sale of a Licensed Product and throughout the Term;

(v) create the first prototype of a Licensed Product by December 1, 2014;

(vi) introduce a Licensed Product for sale in the United States by June 30, 2015;

(vii) market Licensed Products in the United States within six (6) months of receiving regulatory approval to market such Licensed Products;

(viii) fill the market demand for Licensed Products following commencement of marketing at any time during the term of this Agreement; and

(ix) obtain all necessary governmental approvals for the manufacture, use and sale of Licensed Products.
[/quote]

http://www.socconference.com/SoC9-Nov20 ... &Bios9.htm - importance to incorporate 3D in OEM designs (Calit2), SRSlabs is sponsor http://sonicarts.calit2.net/

Confidential until March 2019:
https://www.bamsec.com/filing/999999999 ... ik=1561299

License agreement UCSD and Comhear
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data ... ex1013.htm

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data ... 123113.htm
Patent/License
http://www.via-corp.com/us/en/licensing ... nsees.html

https://sdbj.com/news/2017/jun/05/comhe ... ies-round/ (calls *its* patent....)

http://www.finsmes.com/2017/06/comhear- ... ncing.html (*its* patented)

https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/index.php/pre ... to_comhear

http://sonicarts.calit2.net/

http://www.calit2.net/newsroom/release.php?id=2762

https://patents.google.com/patent/US9578440B2/en

https://www.cbinsights.com/company/comhear-patents

http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Par ... PN/9866963 (Alan Kraemer)

http://www.comhear.com/wp-content/uploa ... Campus.pdf

http://qi.ucsd.edu/startups.php

http://msp.ucsd.edu/gradannounce.htm
http://futureofvr.ucsd.edu/ (Peter Otto)

http://www.calit2.net/search/?cx=013237 ... 2393674j10 (Peter Otto)

http://sonicarts.calit2.net/research.html

https://www.qualcomm.com/invention/rese ... /finalists

https://rady.ucsd.edu/centers/ciid/startr/

http://qi.ucsd.edu/research/health.php

https://opengovus.com/san-diego-business/1998004743

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data ... lePage.pdf

https://incfact.com/company/comhear-sandiego-ca/

About UCSD
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Califor ... Technology

https://www.comhear.com/yarra-3dx-world ... mhear-inc/
14. looking for additional funding, + $4-5 Million! to even get the business going, no promises
15. ongoing efforts to secure additional funding, let alone starting production of the Yarra 3DX
16. company's actual financial situation
General

Results Comhear

17. planning to not enter the consumer market and not being interested to serve that market either
"YARRA 3DX as a consumer project was initiated in late summer of 2014. The research done at the Spatial Audio Lab at UC San Diego under the direction of CSO and faculty member Peter Otto, resulted in our first sound bar — the ProAV model."

B2B2C in 2018:
Comhear wants to be active in 4 markets
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/comhear- ... card_title

It does appear Comhear decided not to enter the consumer market after all?

https://panjiva.com/Zhaoyang-Electronic ... td/1451516

https://www.importgenius.com/importers/comhear-inc

"Company management and technical team members were behind the product until new money was raised and Gerry Chastelet was put in charge. The former employees left the company when the environment became toxic."
(source: KS comment board, 09-11-2018)

".......They (red. 'Comhear') seemingly have received enough funding to continue paying the few remaining employees but are still looking for more money. The manufacturing run was halted because a substantial payment was required by Zylux in September that wasn't paid."
(source: KS comment board, 09-11-2018)

".......they (re. 'Comhear') have no interest in being in the consumer marketplace themselves....."
(source: KS comment board, 08-11-2018)

18. planning to heavily invest in the B2B2C market and partnering with global distributors
Looking for partners for B2B only
Comhear's B2B offering is basically a commercial version of Yarra 3DX:

http://stampedeglobal.com/stampede-dist ... solutions/

Published at 06/26/2017 Categories Tags
AMHERST, NEW YORK, June 22, 2017 — Continuing to expand its portfolio of innovative new audio products, Stampede, the world’s leading value added distributor of ProAV products and system solutions, today announced that it has been named a United States distributor of the Comhear line of ProAV MyBeam™ directional/3D audio speakers that are in increasingly high demand by theme parks and other attractions featuring immersive consumer experiences. The appointment was announced by Stampede President & COO Kevin Kelly and Comhear President Perry Teevens.

“We are excited to add Comhear’s ProAV MyBeam ™ line of directional/3D speakers to our portfolio of audio solutions,” Kelly said today. “We are confident that our North American reseller network will be just as thrilled to offer the speakers to their customers in the kiosk, digital signage, stadium, museums, theme parks, cinemas, and house of worship vertical markets. The combination of Comhear’s MyBeam™ professional products and Stampede’s world class, high value-added sales and support team creates a dynamic new marketing team that is going to meet the needs of more end users in more vertical markets than ever before.”

According to Comhear’s Perry Teevens, “Comhear’s MyBeam™ platform is ideally suited for theme park attractions and other directional and highly immersive applications. They eliminate the need for participants to wear headphones to experience deep immersive spatial sound effects, which are an essential part of the 3D experience. MyBeam is a major breakthrough for public audio applications. We are proud to team up with Stampede to make our line of products available to ProAV resellers throughout the United States.”

The Pro AV MyBeam™ from Comhear is a compact, programmable, internally amplified line array loudspeaker in a minimal visual profile. It employs twelve 1” range dome drivers in a self-amplified DSP-driven line array to project one or more customizable beams of audio. If horizontally mounted, each beam provides wide vertical and steerable narrow horizontal dispersion that is ideal for targeted announcement, limited dispersion music, private beaming, sound masking, etc. wherever highly articulated control of sound is essential. The Pro AV MyBeam™ speaker is easy to install and set-up, and has a slim profile with mounting points on the back and sides of the array. The speaker is perfect for digital signage applications, kiosks and ATMs, museum displays, and lobbies and other venues that need 3D audio.


Stampede is a ProAV distributor who specializes in vertical markets - this distribution partner is consistent with Comhear's decision (choice) not to pursue sales of Yarra 3DX in the consumer market. The distribution deal shows that Comhear is a viable on-going business who could have manufactured Yarra 3DX for delivery to Kickstarter backers but instead simply chose not to. Comhear can rationalize their decision all they want - the bottom line is that by not delivering Yarra 3DX to Kickstarter backers they’re in breach of contract. Comhear will probably to try to claim they ran out of money so they couldn’t produce Yarra but that argument will fall flat under any level of scrutiny because if Kickstarter funds were not used exclusively to produce and deliver Yarra 3DX to Kickstarter backers (i.e., if any Kickstarter funds are shown to have benefited Comhear’s B2B products) it would be a clear case of misappropriation of funds (raising funds for ostensibly to manufacture product A in reality to fund development, production, and distribution of product B). Comhear explicitly represented during fundraising that Kickstarter funds were to be used exclusively for manufacturing Kickstarter rewards, that product development had been completed, and that the amount they were seeking to raise (a $50,000 fundraising goal vs $738,184 actually raised) would be sufficient to manufacture and deliver Yarra 3DX to backers:
- Yarra 3DX campaign page: ”The research has been done, concepts validated, working prototypes assembled and tested, and now we simply need to ramp up manufacturing. We've secured strong relationships and know the costs needed to produce tooling, purchase materials, manufacture units, and distribute the YARRA 3DX smart bar to consumers.”
It follows that Comhear is going to need to be able to show that every dollar collected from backers went towards manufacturing Yarra 3DX to deliver Kickstarter rewards and none of it went towards “R&D” that could benefit their B2B products because all of Comhear’s products share a common technology core:
- Yarra 3DX campaign page: “Yarra 3DX Powered By MyBeam - Using a patented beamforming technology called MyBeam™ and state-of-the-art software developed at 3D audio research facilities at leading universities. VR, advanced gaming, home theater, and hi-res music experiences are dramatically enhanced when played using YARRA 3DX. MyBeam™, and YARRA 3DX are properties of Comhear, Inc.”
- Press Release - Comhear Partners With Stampede and Exertis Pro AV Solutions for Global Distribution: “The company’s products are powered by its patented, groundbreaking MyBeam beamforming technology and KAP enhancement software, which provide fully immersive, 3D-audio soundscapes.”)

19. unwillingness to have a third party acquire the Yarra 3DX for consumer market/honouring the backer rewards
"Perhaps I'm not making myself clear. Comhear, the company behind YARRA 3DX, is still operating unlike OSSIC X. They seemingly have received enough funding to continue paying the few remaining employees but are still looking for more money. The manufacturing run was halted because a substantial payment was required by Zylux in September that wasn't paid. In speaking with the CEO and others, I believe there is a small chance that they can raise additional funds and deliver the promised units.

I offered a path forward with myself and partners acquiring YARRA 3DX but my offer was ultimately rejected. Is there a chance they will succeed? Yes, but there is no guarantee and the chances are slim IMHO.

I have already taken some initial steps to design and build a larger and better 3D audio sound bar. It will sound better, deliver more volume, embrace newer codecs, include multiple digital and analog inputs, and be modular in design. I don't know yet how it will be funded. If I create a new campaign and raise funds, those funds will be used as described in the campaign."

As I'm no longer hopeful that Comhear would allow myself and partners to acquire the YARRA 3DX system AND I haven't been compensated by the company since May (and there are several outstanding invoices that remain unpaid), I will be limiting my time reading and posting to this page. There is still a chance that we will all get our sound bars, but I'm less optimistic than I was a few days ago. I spent a great deal of time, a fair amount of money, and substantial time reaching out to potential partners, distributors, influencers and others, and the Comhear CEO and board in the hope that I could raise the funds necessary to fund the production, deliver the product to all backers, and move the product into the mainstream. There was interest from a variety of sources but in the end management refused to let me have an exclusive in the consumer arena despite the fact that they have no interest in being in the consumer marketplace themselves.

I still believe in the technology and am more convinced than ever that a full featured 3D audio sound bar solves a lot of issues for those of us that enjoy immersive surround sound. The market for a 3D audio sound bar is huge. I have not given up delivering on that goal...but I will have to focus my attention (and the attention of other qualified individuals) and resources on an alternative to YARRA 3DX. It will take time — maybe 8-12 months — but those same people that supported my acquisition of YARRA 3DX remain interested in the product category. Stay tuned."


-> day after Dr. Mark Waldrep invoked his right for a full refund for the unit(s) he pledges for himself personally in the Kickstarter campaign, backers have considered this to have been an action of solidarity with the backer community to express the way the solution has been rejected by Comhear's CEO

20. CEO Mr. Gerry Chastelet (CEO) opportunistic behaviour and his malpractice
B2B2C in 2018:
"The only person that has access to the Creator account is me. I have written to the CEO and copied several board members — including the chairman — about the situation unfolding on this site. I have not heard back yet but expect to after they've reviewed the comments and discussed their next move. There are not a lot of individuals actively employed by the company but the [email protected] format gets to those that remain."
(source: KS Comment board, 11-11-2018)

"Company management and technical team members were behind the product until new money was raised and Gerry Chastelet was put in charge. The former employees left the company when the environment became toxic."
(source: KS comment board, 09-11-2018)

".......They (red. 'Comhear') seemingly have received enough funding to continue paying the few remaining employees but are still looking for more money. The manufacturing run was halted because a substantial payment was required by Zylux in September that wasn't paid."
(source: KS comment board, 09-11-2018)

".......they (re. 'Comhear') have no interest in being in the consumer marketplace themselves....."
(source: KS comment board, 08-11-2018)

https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/st ... ocus1.html

21. Violations of the FTC Act
VIOLATIONS - overview:

This overview is a concept of violations that *may* be applicable to the Comhear case. Please feel free to add relevant sections or additional information to complete the overview

VIOLATIONS OF THE FTC ACT
31. Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a), prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts
or practices in or affecting commerce.”
32. Misrepresentations or deceptive omissions of material fact constitute deceptive
acts or practices prohibited by Section 5(a) of the FTC Act



Comhear may have (still to be converted to sections of the FTC Act):

a) withheld material information while raising funds,
b) made false statements to facilitate raising funds (fraudulent inducement),
c) misappropriated funds raised from Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers to produce Yarra 3DX instead to pay exit packages and fund other business activities
d) made false statements about the production schedule with the intent to hinder and delay discovery of their prior actions. Should this occur, the individuals to hold accountable include current and former board members and management.

Since Comhear isn’t insolvent and hasn’t filed for bankruptcy, if Kickstarter and Indiegogo funds were in fact misappropriated the Attorney Generals could bring suit against Comhear to recover those funds. Although there is a risk Comhear would end up filing for bankruptcy when faced with large legal defense bills and a judgement that required them to return backer funds, more likely they would just settle early (especially if they’re concerned with what the forensic accountants will find).

22. Etc.


<This overview should be considered to be a work in process, please feel free to add extra statements (+ source URL) relevant to this overview. Footnotes will be added including URL links and sources>


<< BACK TO TOP >>
Last edited by Edwin on Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:03 pm, edited 108 times in total.
Edwin
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:35 pm

Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:20 am



Current key persons at Comhear Inc.:

Board

Andrew Arno - Chairman
Also board member/director at Chardan Capital Markets, Smith Micro Software, Asterias Biotherapeutics, OncoCyte Corporation

Andrew Arno
https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stoc ... d=22533820

https://www.cbinsights.com/investor/chardan-capital
Gerry Chastelet - CEO
Also (former)board member/director/manager at Technology Research Group, WaveRider Communications (unconfirmed), Internet.com, Concentrax, Digital Guys LLC, Florida (inactive),
Dominus Innovations LLC, Wandel & Goltermann Inc, Ltx-credence Corporation, Credence Systems CorporationLTX Credence Corporation, Creating Technology Solutions LLC, Digital Lightwave Inc., Wavetek

Gerry Chastelet
https://relationshipscience.com/person/ ... et-3232107

https://www.zoominfo.com/p/Gerry-Chastelet/355958

https://www.marketscreener.com/business ... biography/

https://people.equilar.com/bio/gerry-ch ... lary/31241

https://blockshopper.com/mo/st-charles- ... moor-drive (private)

https://www.whitepages.com/name/Gerry-M ... MO/rvvtdi4

https://mo-stcharles-collector.publicac ... 673&y=2017

https://www.intelius.com/people-search/ ... charles-MO

https://www.instantcheckmate.com/people ... chastelet/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offshore_Super_Series (board)

https://www.corporationwiki.com/Missour ... 31375.aspx
Bradley W. Buss - Board Director
Comhear investor, Also board member/director at Tesla, Marvell Technology Group, Ramtron International, Cypress Semiconductors International, AgigA Tech, Advance Auto Parts, Qlogic and various others
Wyatt R. Briant - Director
Also board member/director at Zylux America (subsidiary of Zylux Acoustic Corporation - ODM company)
Jon C. Sundt - Director
(confirmed)

By activity
Gerry Chastelet - CEO

• Eric Haskell - CFO

• Paul O'Callaghan - Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing

• Henry Goldansky - Sr. Vice President of Engineering
+Harman Professional+Pioneer Speakers

https://www.comhear.com/comhear-inc-app ... gineering/
• Michelle Hays - [financial consultant - unconfirmed]

• Bob Picunko - Consultant (+CEO [email protected])

• Jeffrey M. Claar - VP Engineering (+patentholder)

• Virakorn Insixiengmay - Engineer

• Sanjay Sakaria - MD (UK) and Vice President Business Development

• Taylor Chastelet - Sales & Business Development Consultant

• Greg Thener - Regional Vice President of Sales

• Chuck Labitan - Regional Vice President

• Chelsea Wren - Regional Sales Manager


Former key persons at Comhear Inc.:

- Andrew H. Sassine - Chairman
Also board member/director at Avea Capital, Arcturus Therapeutics, Sinocare Meditech, iCAD Inc., Gemphire Therapeutics, Acorn Energy, Inc., CNS Response, Inc. FluoroPharma, Fidelity Investments and various affiliations: AMG, others (unconfirmed)
 
Andrew Sassine (+Victoria Sassine)
https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stoc ... =235062181

https://www.zonebourse.com/barons-bours ... iographie/

https://people.equilar.com/bio/andrew-s ... ry/1088710

https://www.bloomberg.com/profiles/peop ... -h-sassine

http://guardsupport.org/about_us/

https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/icad
- Perry P.Teevens - CEO (+CEO Dysonics), left in mid '17

- James E. Lucas - CFO, left in late '17 - Thomas Craft - CTO, left in mid '18 - Peter Otto - CSO (+patentholder), left in mid '18
Former consultant, also board member/director/executive at Sonics Arts, CalIT2, Dysonics
- Dr. Mark Waldrep - consultant

- Alan D. Kraemer - engineer
(+ CTO SRSLabs /DTS)
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCS-_qG7P29f7ZtSIK1kvwFA (scroll down to Alan Kraemer talking)
- Randy Granovetter - deceased, Founder and CEO (+Taida+Jabra+Microsoft)

View others....
[-] Margaret Warner - [unconfirmed]

- Luca N. Cviki - [unconfirmed]

- Michael Hong - [unconfirmed]

- Anna Crow - [unconfirmed]

- Robert Kutnick - CSO

- Gordon Schenk - Vice President of Marketing and Sales

- Previous campaign collaborators: Nuuk Digital, [email protected], Nancy Sampson, Duke
".....There are not a lot of individuals actively employed by the company but the [email protected] format gets to those that remain."
(source: KS Comment board, 11-11-2018)

"Company management and technical team members were behind the product until new money was raised and Gerry Chastelet was put in charge. The former employees left the company when the environment became toxic."
(source: KS comment board, 09-11-2018)



Companies involved, related and/or associated with Comhear Inc.:

Investors
Taida, PlayButton (Granovetter)
• Peter Lynch (Fidelity Investments)
• Brad Buss Comhear board member, Tesla board member and former CFO of SolarCity)
Zylux Acoustics (OEM/ODM manufacturer)
• Zylux America, Irvine Ca. (board member, subsidiary Zylux Acoustics, investor)
• Street Capital Inc.
• (MSQ)
• (Tice Capital)

Zylux Acoustics background University of San Diego (UCSD) and CalIT2 background
University of San Diego (UCSD)
University of Southampton
CalIt2 /Qualcomm inst.
Sonic Arts- patent assignee, licensed to Comhear for 5 years
Intellectual Property, filed patents & trademarks

Patent(s) involved:
US9578440B2
US20140064526A1

None of the relevant patents are owned by Comhear

ComHear's most recent patent was filed in July 2018 for Headphone Audio Enhancement System.
(?? Taken over by Dysonics??)

Trademarks:
- YARRA 3DX
- MBPRO
- MYARA
- MYBEAM
- KAP


Current/known distributor(s) and customers :

- Stampede Global / Exertis distribution, taken over by DCC. This company also recently appointed distributor for other Zylux customers like Harman Group (Samsung)
- ViaTouch Media / Vicki
- Fullswinggolf
- Cedar Fair Entertainment (Great America Theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm)
- Sacramento Kings


Page 11.: Markets appointed, incl. Consumer market



<< BACK TO TOP >>
Last edited by Edwin on Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:52 pm, edited 52 times in total.
Edwin
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:35 pm

Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:03 am


Recommended backer actions

All backers are recommended to take the following actions: In addition we strongly recommend the following: Many backers have taken the actions above. By doing the same we're striving to make a substantial effort. From the backergroup active on this Backerclub thread you can expect more future actions as listed below. If you're willing to contribute we welcome your help.

Expected future actions
  • Contacting press agencies
  • Press releases
  • Online Petition
  • Suggested: "our case" could be taken by a group of students at one or more colleges or universities
  • issuing an open letter to Comhear board and template listing the backer community demands


<< BACK TO TOP >>
Last edited by Edwin on Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:44 am, edited 48 times in total.
Edwin
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:35 pm

Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:21 am



<work in process> , please check later......

1. invoking your rights
As a backer you have the right to demand for a refund. You can make your statement on the Kickstarter comment board by using this template text:

@Comhear - Pursuant to Kickstarter Terms of Use I invoke my rights to demand a full refund for my pledge amount. Backer # [insert your own backer number here].

Tip: Your own backer number can be found here: Log in on your Kickstarter account -> select project -> click blue 'view pledge' button -> scroll down to the bottom -> Backer #
Or in full:
@Comhear:
As per Kickstarter latest Terms of Use I invoke my rights to demand a full refund for my pledge amount. My backer number is [insert your own backer # here]

Note: As the Comhear project was funded before the latest Terms of Use were into effect, we may refer to the terms as per September 2014: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/sept2014

"When a project is successfully funded, the creator must complete the project and fulfill each reward. Once a creator has done so, they’ve satisfied their obligation to their backers." and

"(T)hey offer to return any remaining funds to backers who have not received their reward (in proportion to the amounts pledged), or else explain how those funds will be used to complete the project in some alternate form." However, the project creator must first step up and declare the project failed, which Comhear has not done.


Some may be of the opinion that invoking your rights will be pointless. In this case, consider your claim for refund to be a necessity. Besides the pressure factor - Kickstarter and credit card providers will contact Comhear to claim losses, your public claim will amongst many and will come to the attention of Comhear - you'll have to prove your claim when Comhear is (forced to) refunding their backers.
Complete list for refund
Below you'll find a complete list of crowdfunding backers - both Kickstarter and Indiegogo - asking Comhear, persuant to Kickstarter Terms of Use, to invoke their rights to demand a full refund for their pledge amount. The list includes backer number or ID based on their original comment. This overview will be updated frequently.
Last update: December 18, 2018

132 people asking for refunds (so far):

Name,Backer #
Ryan Borpa,1
[email protected],6
Lai Han Soon,44
Erik,52
Arthur Tan - Superbacker,67
Andy Potter,94
Hound of Tindalos - Superbacker,106
Darrell Smith,114
Ralf Reber,115
Trevor Lane,119
Patrick James Sandham,125
webbj - Superbacker,128
David Creed,134
Ronnie Daniel Yapo,146
Tom,148
Devin Hawker,228
GERARDO ISRAEL RAMÍREZ CAMPOS,238
Cam Palmer - Superbacker,250
Scott,262
Jim Houser,263
eg Monroe Sr,328
Ryan Walling,344
Len Hendrix,364
Mark McCahill,372
Eric,373
Aman Pabla,378
Peter Franken - Superbacker,404
Lars Devold,417
Robert Márku,420
B Craig Wright - Superbacker,423
Elia Aluf-Medina,429
Stefan Schwabe,438
Vishu Singhal,457
Jonny Petch,467
Antoine Albertini,468
Uri Macías,477
Shawn Lee,494
Janis,571
Caspar Davey,628
ndres - Superbacker,651
Phillip Kwok,668
sergio,675
Etienne - Superbacker,685
Fabian Helfert,710
Kushal Modi,718
Lienshi Shi,720
Marcus Schell - Superbacker,733
Serge Wallagh - Superbacker,750
Michael Hirl,753
Stephen Zhang,787
Tony Chan,806
Magda Maertens,822
Jake,838
Olivier LEFEBVRE - Superbacker,860
DaveMann812 - Superbacker,872
Stephen Tsai,876
Greg Krywusha - Superbacker,905
Rhiannon Bassett,910
Felipe Afonso,915
Stu,946
Robert Pollina,951
Katsuya Ishido,965
Norbert,971
Lou Fusaro,977
had,991
AndyA,1038
Jake - Superbacker,1044
Alex Hobbs,1046
Mirko Langer,1081
Reinier,1096
A H,1108
Gordon Hau,1117
Chuck Freiman,1188
Campbell Farr,1219
Michael Stelly,1243
Marc Abel,1267
Lisa Jones,1270
Antonio Cintra,1291
abdullah aloraifan,1329
Kristoffer Nordström,1362
Sarath,1365
Ilan Katz,1372
Salekh Ahmed,1378
Paul Dawkins - Superbacker,1402
Chad,1425
Charles At - Superbacker,1472
Bob Austin,1490
Lukáš - Superbacker,1495
Lawrence Scoville,1512
alan schott,1516
Stephen Belter,1525
Aron Greenwaldt,1528
Chris Miller,1532
Adir Shuan,1541
resh Daroga,1549
Gogomonster - Superbacker,1589
Altan,1606
asuto Muraki,1613
Paul Taylor Wright,1632
Mathevanan S,1633
Paul Desmarais,1634
Ed Wong - Superbacker,1661
W_C_H,1663
Rouslan Cherbina - Superbacker,1688
Matt Nagel,1716
Jason Lee,1725
Ramon K,1731
Ling GS,1750
Stefan Ullrich,1768
Charles Chinloy,1777
MW,1800
JONG HA KIM,1804
Wayne,1813
Tyler Hoppert,1841
Laura Darley,1859
John,1870
Kenneth DuCharme,1882
Hassan Raza,1886
Matthew Coleman,1935
LB,1971
jerry hoang,1985
Manju,1999
Svetozar Vesic,2013
Nicolas Comben,2023
John Jensen,2066
marina,2079
Rouslan Cherbina - Superbacker,2079
Silverlightning,2094
Matt,2106
Gabriel Lamontagne,2113
Jerry - Superbacker,2120
2. Anonymous poll
General information
The anonymous poll is a short three question straw poll to determine interest in legal action against Comhear.
You are anonymous and your entry is non-binding. If there is interest we'll have further discussion and consider crowd funded legal services such as: http://www.fundedjustice.com

Throw the amount in via your currency - a rough translation to USD will be made

Given the amount of funds raised ($738,000), if everyone contributed 10% of their pledge amount (ie, $30 if you pledged for one Yarra 3DX) towards a legal “war chest” we would have over $70,000 in legal fees to go after Comhear. If we raised that much it would likely be more than enough to get to judgement. $30 per sound bar would be a small price to pay to hold Comhear accountable. When faced with reality (ie, when Comhear receives a notice of intent to litigate from our attorney) it will be clear we have the means to defend our rights at which point Comhear will have a large incentive to cut their losses and refund us in order to avoid costly litigation and repetitional damage - if we settle with Comhear a large part of the "war chest" would likely remain unused and be refunded. Regardless, even if all the money was spent holding Comhear accountable and Comhear managed to avoid paying us (i.e., through insolvency) $30 per sound bar would be money well spent since we would allways look back on this situation knowing we did everything in our power to hold Comhear accountable for their actions.
Preliminary results
latest update: February 1st, 2019
Survey now has 300 Responses. Of those responses:

--78.7% are indicating they will support legal action (236 individuals).

--22.3% are indicating they will not support legal action (64 individuals).

--$14,670 indicated as potential contributions to legal effort (rounded and converted to USD).

--52.7% [158] of those that responded would not support an ongoing legal contribution while 47.3% [142] would consider some sort of ongoing legal support.

--~16.23% of all backers have now responded to the poll. Since this is anonymous it is possible some backers have responded more than once.

Data is normalized and invalid responses are zeroed.

Thanks to all who reply.

--------------------

A short three question straw poll to determine interest in legal action against Comhear.

You are anonymous and this is non-binding. If there is interest we'll have further discussion and consider crowd funded legal services such as: www.fundedjustice.com

Again, just a simple straw poll.

Fill out poll form now
3. Refund of your money ("Chargeback" by KS and Credit card provider)

>> procedure how to demand for a Kickstarter Chargeback, will be inserted here
>> procedure how to demand for a refund with your credit card provider, will be inserted here
According to Kickstarter as a backer you have the right to dispute. https://www.kickstarter.com/disputes

Your chargeback will go through Stripe (KS payment provider). They will quote KS terms and services because it is KS that will eat the fee. They won’t care what the project has done, rather they will focus on the KS agreement. A succesful refund means you're no longer a backer of the project, you'll not be able to post comments anymore.

Many backers have already contacted their credit card provider for a refund. There have been just a very few who have been granted a refund. We're still looking for the best way to gather the essential information for a successful refund to get a template. If you have succeeded, please share your experience by sharing on this thread.

Even the campaign creator has demanded for a refund, we recommend you to do the same.

[email protected]
@Comhear - Pursuant to Kickstarter Terms of Use I invoke my rights to demand a full refund for my pledge amount. Backer #6.

Comhear Inc.Creator
@Comhear - Pursuant to Kickstarter Terms of Use I invoke my rights to demand a full refund for my pledge amount. Backer #6.
4. Sending an (open) letter to Comhear CEO
The letter below was sent to Comhear CEO Mr. Gerry Chastelet on behalf of the backergroup. Each and every backer has had the opportunity to give their thoughts on the draft version and changes have been made resulting in a letter template for you to download - use it as you please adding your own personal note. Your document can be send to firstname.lastname@Comhear.com

Open letter to Comhear

Dear Mr. Chastelet,

During the fall of 2017 and early 2018, over 2700 backers committed in excess of $1.1M in consideration of Comhear's commitment to timely manufacture and deliver the YARRA 3DX soundbar product as described on the Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaign pages and the YARRA 3DX website. We remained actively engaged, patient, and continued to be supportive of both the campaigns and Comhear for the next 12 months even though deliveries had been promised for March of 2018. However, we became concerned after meaningful communication abruptly stopped without explanation in June 2018.

The backer community has repeatedly requested that status updates and communications be conducted via the Kickstarter and Indiegogo platforms. Your disregard of our concerns has antagonized and alienated the entire backer community. Had you handled this situation in an appropriately forthright and transparent manner we would have remained supportive and enthusiastically contributed to Comhear’s success by evangelizing both your company and its products.

Although we prefer to avoid confrontation and legal action, we do not intend to stand idly by while you default on your commitments. You are contractually obligated to either deliver to all backers a fully functional and complete YARRA 3DX sound bar system or issue a full refund including shipping costs. Failure to respond and engage in productive discussions towards a satisfactory resolution will leave us no choice but to widely publicize your failure to deliver the YARRA 3DX product and expose both your gross misrepresentation of facts while soliciting funds and your blatant misappropriation of backer funds (evidenced by your campaign page explicitly stating YARRA 3DX was ready for production and the funds raised would be used to manufacture it after which you spent those funds on unrelated company operations instead of manufacturing YARRA 3DX).

We’ve already taken the first step towards publicizing your malfeasance by sending a press release to all publications and websites mentioned in your campaign. Absent an appropriate response to this letter, our next steps will include widely publicizing the circumstances surrounding the company’s failure to deliver YARRA 3DX as promised and initiation of collective legal action.

Although we prefer to resolve this situation amicably, we are prepared and ready to defend our legal rights both aggressively and publicly. We are not willing to wait while Comhear attempts to “raise an additional $4-5 million” from investors when that amount is many fold what would be required to manufacture all backer soundbars and such a large investment may never be realized.

By this open letter we reiterate our request that you inform us of the current status and your plan to produce and deliver YARRA 3DX to backers. We demand:

1. Delivery of the YARRA 3DX product as described in the campaigns or full refunds;
2. A detailed accounting of how and when Kickstarter and IndieGogo backer funds were spent (as required by Kickstarter and Indiegogo terms of service);
3. A written statement from Comhear’s board confirming intent to resolve this situation in a timely manner;
4. A written agreement between Comhear and Comhear’s manufacturing partner Zylux Acoustics c.s. that specifies a timeline for YARRA 3DX production;
5. A written plan and timeline from Comhear’s board of directors sent to backers stating:
  • [a)] Comhear commits to produce and deliver YARRA 3DX to backers by July 1, 2019, and
    [b)] Comhear commits to offer a full refund within 30 days to any backers: i) who request a refund in lieu of taking delivery of the YARRA 3DX(s) they pledged for, ii) to whom Comhear is unable to deliver YARRA 3DX by the stated delivery date, or iii) who return YARRA 3DX within 90 days of delivery due to manufacturing defect or malfunction.

We appreciate your consideration and look forward to your response.

On behalf of the Comhear YARRA 3DX Backer group,
Or download as .DOC
Comhear YARRA 3DX _Open Letter.docx
(15.99 KiB) Downloaded 65 times





<< BACK TO TOP >>
Last edited by Edwin on Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:02 pm, edited 54 times in total.
Edwin
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:35 pm

Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:35 am



TEMPLATE & TIPS TO FILE A COMPLAINT:
- for Attorney General, FTC and international authorities -

Several fellow backers have submitted a detailed complaint to the WA Attorney General concerning Comhear Inc.
Received notification:
a) Complaint have been processed by the Consumer Resource Center who sent it to Comhear for a response
b) Due to the nature of the concerns the Consumer Resource Center also sent the complaints to the FTC for review

You can read and download a copy of a complaint (including the addendum) by ....clicking below
WA Attorney General Yarra 3DX Complaint & Addendum (Redacted).doc
Template - see remarks (1,2,3)
(116.5 KiB) Downloaded 69 times
If you plan to send your own complaints:
1) Read the complaint in it’s entirety and make any changes you feel are appropriate
2) Change the name of the Attorney General at the top of the complaint and all mentions of WA state to your own state/country
3) Be sure to edit item #4 in the Summary of Facts section to state your pledge amount and number of YARRA 3DX units pledged for

Considering there are 1848 YARRA 3DX backers, just imagine what an impact we would have if only a few percent of backers took the time to file his/her own complaints - just 5% of backers would result in almost 100 complaints! Not bad for a few minutes of your time!

Full contents (plain text)
To: Bob Ferguson
WA Attorney General
Re: Kickstarter YARRA 3DX Complaint
Date: December 15, 2018

I am filing this complaint on behalf of myself and all other WA residents who pledged for the YARRA 3DX Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns because after raising $1,112,111 from 2,679 backers Comhear Inc. has failed to deliver the 3D sound bar system they had promised.

Summary of facts:

1) Comhear Inc. was founded in 2013 and has sold a commercial version of YARRA 3DX (“ProAV”) since 2016
2) On June 5, 2017 in association with a $12M Series A capitalization round Comhear Inc. appointed a new CEO (Gerry Chastelet) and added a new board member (https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/ ... clnk&gl=us)
3) On October 27, 2017 Comhear Inc. raised $738,184 from 1,848 backers in their Kickstarter campaign “Yarra 3DX: The Most Advanced 3D Audio System in the World” (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ya ... escription)
4) On October 27 I pledged $xxxxxx (shipping inclusive) for xxx Yarra 3DX sound bar systems
5) From October 27, 2017 through October 26, 2018 Comhear Inc raised an additional $373,927 from 831 backers in their Indiegogo campaign “Yarra 3DX: The Most Advanced 3D Audio System in the World” (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/yarr ... x/11003396#/)
6) In consideration of each pledge of $299 - $349 (plus shipping) backers were promised they would receive a Yarra 3DX sound bar system which had an estimated delivery date of March 2018
7) By soliciting and accepting funds through Kickstarter Comhear Inc agreed to Kickstarter Terms of Service which stated “When a project is successfully funded, the creator must complete the project and fulfill each reward. Once a creator has done so, they’ve satisfied their obligation to their backers.”
8) In their YARRA 3DX Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns Comhear Inc. made the following representations:
a) “YARRA 3DX is the world's first 3D audio reproduction system that delivers the same immersive entertainment experience as multiple speaker home theaters and 3D audio headphones. This small "smart" sound bar makes you believe you're sitting in a high-end theater by delivering discrete left and right "beams" of binaural 3D audio to up to three individual locations.”
b) “The YARRA 3DX system is comprised of three components. The sound bar contains 12- 33m drivers and directs the beams of sound, the subwoofer reproduces all of the non-directional low frequencies, and the app, which is used to configure, control, and customize the system.”
c) “Using a patented beamforming technology called MyBeam™ and state-of-the-art software developed at 3D audio research facilities at leading universities.”…”MyBeam™ and YARRA 3DX are properties of Comhear, Inc.”
d) “Each YARRA 3DX comes with a limited 1-year warranty. Comhear Inc., the company behind the product was founded in 2013 and looks forward to releasing a range of products based on their portfolio of patents. We’ll be here for our backers!”
e) “Development: YARRA 3DX as a consumer project was initiated in late summer of 2014. The research done at the Spatial Audio Lab at UC San Diego under the direction of CSO and faculty member Peter Otto, resulted in our first sound bar — the ProAV model.”
f) “Tooling and Manufacturing Costs: The research has been done, concepts validated, working prototypes assembled and tested, and now we simply need to ramp up manufacturing. We've secured strong relationships and know the costs needed to produce tooling, purchase materials, manufacture units, and distribute the YARRA 3DX smart bar to consumers.” (emphasis added)
g) “The Timeline” published by Comhear Inc. in their YARRA 3DX Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns show (see figure below):
i) September 2017 - Tooling, parts orders, manufacturing begins
ii) November 2017 - First manufactured units arrive for testing
iii) February 2018 - Packing and assembly of final units
iv) March 2018 - Fulfillment of YARRA 3DX units to backers
h) “Risks and Challenges: Comhear Inc., the technology company behind the YARRA 3DX sound projection system has strong alliances with strategic partners that bring design, manufacturing, and distribution relationships to our product development and manufacturing. The beamforming technology at the core of the YARRA 3DX is already part of our commercial ProAV devices. The new consumer version offered as part of this campaign requires only marginal feature additions and a new industrial design. We are VERY confident that we can meet our commitments.” (emphasis added)
9) After raising $734,184 from 1,848 backers on Kickstarter Comhear Inc. made the following representations in their YARRA 3DX Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaign Project Updates:
a) Update #15 (Oct 27, 2017): “After 45 days, 1848 backers, and $738,184 raised, our focus changes to meeting the challenges associated with fulfilling pledges. Our primary goal is to maintain our development cycle and ship YARRA 3DX units by the end of March 2018 as promised. To that end, purchase orders have already been placed for parts, PCBs designed and finalized, assemblies and processes determined, and tooling produced. The first run of YARRA 3DX evaluation units will start coming off of the factory floor early in 2018.” (emphasis added)
b) Update #21 (Jan 9, 2018): “YARRA 3DX Debuts at CES 2018! The YARRA 3DX team will be demonstrating the YARRA 3DX and our patented MyBeam technology at the Venetian Tower Room 30 308 from January 9-12. Manufacturing News: Recent developments include the first EVTs (Engineering Verification Test) have arrived from our manufacturing partner and are in the demo room at the Venetian. All manufacturing tooling is completed and PCB (printed circuit boards) are being assembled. The production schedule is proceeding on track and we expect to be able to ship in late March 2018. (emphasis added)
c) Update #24 (Feb 16, 2018): “We now have pre-production samples created by our manufacturing partner for evaluation and review. The new units are slightly larger and sturdier than the one-off units.”…”After some final changes and revisions, progress continues to YARRA 3DX manufacturing. We take our commitment to ship YARRA 3DX units to our backers very seriously. The company is in the process of finalizing the volume build schedule with its manufacturing partner. There may be a slight shipping delay but the team is doing everything they can to get the product to you as quickly as possible while maintaining the highest possible quality standards.”.
In response to a backer question about delivery timing on Feb 27, 2018 Comhear Inc. stated: “There will be a “slight” delay as mentioned in the above update. The units are being assembled now that the design plan has been finalized. The app and YARRA 3DX units will be ready at the same time.” (emphasis added)
d) Update #25 (Mar 1, 2018): “Our production partner has all of the latest tweaks and is busy manufacturing our order.”.
In response to backer questions about delivery timing Comhear Inc. stated:
i) Mar 7, 2018: “The delivery is going to be delayed for a number of reasons...changes in some of the mechanical parts (to make the end legs sturdier) and some upgrades to the electronics. And don't forget the 6 weeks shipping time from China. I haven't been given an exact date but it won't be at the end of March.”
ii) March 19, 2016: “We expect to begin shipping during the second quarter” (emphasis added)
e) Update #26 (Apr 7, 2018): “Unfortunately, our initial delivery estimates were a little too optimistic — some last minute design changes, production tooling revisions, and long lead times on a few components have delayed our initial manufacturing run slightly. It takes a lot of careful planning and expertise to create state-of-the-art hardware and software. But we're making tremendous progress. The PCBs (printed circuit boards), drivers, physical enclosure, firmware, tooling, and application development are all being finalized.”
f) Update #27 (Apr 24, 2018): “Production Schedule — 2nd Quarter Shipping! Purchase orders for the initial run of YARRA 3DX units have been issued. Tooling is done and production will begin shortly. The schedule includes several evaluation and QC time buffers, which we hope to minimize during the manufacturing process. The first backer units should arrive sometime within the next 60 days. Our fulfillment partner has assured us that shipments to backers will begin as soon as the units are in house. It won't be long now.” (emphasis added)
g) Update #28 (May 22, 2018): “Here in San Diego, the tuning, QC work and app development has been progressing nicely.”…”Our goal is to make sure when you receive your Yarra 3DX this summer, that you'll love it as much as we do. We've had to make some tough decisions in delaying shipping but we believe it was necessary to ensure we were shipping the best product possible.” (emphasis added)
h) Update #31 (Jun 27, 2018): “In the final verification stages leading up to YARRA 3DX volume production for summer delivery, our manufacturing partner has identified a change required in their circuit board layout. This improvement is underway and they will re-verify upon completion. This change is expected to result in a shipment delay to late summer. The team is doing their best to minimize this time and improve delivery. We apologize for the inconvenience and will update you as soon as the manufacturer confirms schedule." (emphasis added)
i) Update #32 (Aug 17, 2018): ”We’re excited to share that the final version pre-production YARRA 3DX units are in! Our team has been hard at work fine tuning the firmware on these units to ensure the promised sound experience. Next Tuesday, August 21st from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. we are inviting any and all backers to a demonstration at our San Diego office. Backers will be able to get a first-look at the product and hear the final version. (emphasis added)
j) Update #36 (Nov 7, 2018): “Having demonstrated and tested YARRA 3DX production prototype product with a limited group of crowdfunding backers in late summer, there have been numerous queries and speculations about what is happening with YARRA 3DX product production. As we have mentioned previously, Comhear has met with several setbacks in the development and production of YARRA 3DX. For the last few months, we have been engaged in various capital raising and other strategic discussions intended to allow us to reach a positive result. The results and timing of these initiatives have affected company operations and delayed YARRA 3DX new product production.” (emphasis added)
10) From a November 28, 2018 San Diego Tribune article titled “Where are the 3-D soundbars? Comhear crowdfunding backers want to know”: Comhear Chief Executive Gerry Chastelet said the company has experienced various delays in getting the sound bars produced. “It is a brand new, very complex product,” he said. “A product of the complexity of the YARRA 3DX you cannot build simply with the amount of money raised in crowdfunding.” Comhear is seeking to raise additional capital to finish production and fund other business initiatives, said Chastelet. “We have raised money in the past, and I am currently actively looking at raising another $4 million to $5 million,” he said. “Obviously we are doing everything possible to honor the commitments as soon as we can.”…Chastelet declined to say when crowdfunding backers might begin to receive their sound bars. But delivery is likely contingent on the company raising additional funds. (https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/bu ... story.html)
11) On December 8, 2018, Mark Waldrop, the former consultant who Comhear Inc. hired to manage the YARRA 3DX Kickstarter campaign stated: “There is still a chance that we will all get our sound bars, but I'm less optimistic than I was a few days ago. I spent a great deal of time, a fair amount of money, and substantial time reaching out to potential partners, distributors, influencers and others, and the Comhear CEO and board in the hope that I could raise the funds necessary to fund the production, deliver the product to all backers, and move the product into the mainstream. There was interest from a variety of sources but in the end management refused to let me have an exclusive in the consumer arena despite the fact that they have no interest in being in the consumer marketplace themselves.” (emphasis added)
Summary of Concerns:

1) Comhear Inc. is in breach of contract after raising over $1M from over 2,500 backers because they have failed to deliver the sound bars they promised
2) Comhear Inc. explicitly represented the YARRA 3DX was ready for production and the funds raised through crowdfunding would be used to actually manufacture it
3) The fact that Comhear Inc. claims they now need to raise $4M - $5M in order to ship backer’s sound bars (despite having raised over 20x their original fund raising goal from Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers) indicates one or more the following occurred:
a) Comhear Inc. misrepresented to backers that YARRA 3DX was ready for production when they raised backer funds
b) Comhear Inc. misappropriated backer funds to use for other purposes instead of manufacturing YARRA 3DX for backers
c) Comhear Inc. failed to disclose material information about their financial condition to backers when they raised funds on Kickstarter and Indiegogo
4) It apparent from Comhear Inc.’s words and their actions that:
a) Comhear Inc. has simply changed their mind about entering the consumer market with a 3-D sound bar and instead has decided to allocate available company resources (including those funds raised on Kickstarter and Indeigogo) towards advancing their position and products in the commercial market (which has been their primary focus since they were founded) rather than towards fulfilling their contractual obligation to Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers
b) Comhear Inc. has made repeated false statement to backers concerning manufacturing status, progress, and anticipated ship date of YARRA 3DX with the intent to hinder and delay discovery of their prior misrepresentations and/or misappropriation of backer funds

This complaint is appropriate for the WA Attorney General to pursue because:

1) Crowdfunding supports innovation, job creation, and economic growth
2) In order for crowdfunding to continue to prosper and grow it’s important to avoid the public’s perception of crowdfunding becoming negatively impacted by project creators who take advantage of backers trust and good faith
3) Considering that Comhear Inc. has raised so much money (over $1.1M) from so many backers (over 2,500) involvement of the WA Attorney General is sure to gain widespread attention which would have the desired effect of sending the message loud and clear that crowdfunding theft will not be tolerated




Complaint Addendum - December 20, 2018:

The following additional information supports:
a) Comhear Inc. failed to disclose material information while raising funds on Kickstarter and Indiegogo
b) Comhear Inc. misappropriated backer funds to support their money losing ProAV business instead of mass producing YARRA 3DX for Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers as contractually obligated

1) Comhear Inc. SEC Filing April 5, 2017 (https://sec.report/Document/0001644600-17-000050):
a) Total assets most recent fiscal year end: $524,143
b) Total assets prior fiscal year end: $2,701,049
c) Cash & cash equivalents most recent fiscal year end: $459,822
d) Cash & cash equivalents prior fiscal year end: $2,606,532
e) Accounts receivable most recent fiscal year end: $0
f) Accounts receivable prior fiscal year end: $35,920
g) Short-term debt most recent fiscal year end: $325,475
h) Short-term debt prior fiscal year end: $1,553,665
i) Long-term debt most recent fiscal year end: $7,814,739
j) Long-term debt prior fiscal year end: $5,922,773
k) Revenue/sales most recent fiscal year end: $322,013
l) Revenues/sales prior fiscal year end: $328,172
m) Cost of goods most recent fiscal year end: $27,258
n) Cost of goods prior fiscal year end: $101,265
o) Net income most recent fiscal year end: ($4,461,695)
p) Net income prior fiscal year end: ($7,164,702)

2) The following statements by Mr. Mark Waldrop on December 7 - 10, 2018 are taken from the Q&A section of Mr. Waldrop’s blog post titled “A Weekend In London With YARRA 3DX!” (http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=6311). Mr. Waldrep’s statements are credible because as the consultant Comhear Inc. hired to run their Kickstarter campaign he routinely interacted directly with current and former management.
a) In response to the question: “Is there a ship date as of yet?” Mr. Waldrep as Admin responded: “The company is trying to raise additional funds to complete the manufacturing of the YARRA 3DX. As a result, there is no ship date. And there is a very real chance that the company fails to deliver the promised YARRA 3DX sound bars at all.” (emphasis added)
b) In response to the question: “I am a bit surprised that a more accurate forecast of the launch cost of the Yarra wasn’t made” Mr. Waldrep as Admin responded: “the funds raised through the campaign were sufficient to pay for the tooling, development, parts, and manufacturing of 2700 units. Unfortunately, the company spent the money on normal company operations and do not have the resources to complete the remaining tasks — including manufacturing and shipping.” (emphasis added)
c) In response to the statement: “I hope you are able to do something” Mr. Waldrep as Admin responded: “my efforts to rescue the YARRA 3DX have proven unsuccessful. I hope we all get out sound bars but it’s difficult to imagine how additional investors will be excited by spending $1M to make the backer community whole.”
d) In response to the statement: “I put money down based on your recommendation of product and company. I won’t be doing it again.” Mr. Waldrep as Admin responded: “I understand and regret the situation that occurred with the YARRA 3DX. When I started consulting for the company, the CEO and team were competent, honest, talented, and forthright. In the intervening many months, most of the original people have left including the former CEO and my close friend the CSO. The product was — and is — a genuinely innovative piece of engineering and does what it’s supposed to do. The operation of the company under new management has resulted in all of us — including me — losing our pledges. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to rescue the product. I tried.” (emphasis added)
e) In response to the statement “We funded a this project well over a year ago based on seeing a product that was fully designed and manufactured in enough units to demo its capabilities at trade shows & backer events. Based on all the conversations and updates there were evidently enough units made to distribute to a select group. Based on all that was presented who would not have thought that the project was not ready to launch? All the talk & PR about working out the details and tweaking the design now appears to have been a delay tactic for the company to make there exit. Above you say ‘The company is trying to raise additional funds to complete the manufacturing of the YARRA 3DX.’ Who would partner with a company that has mismanaged over $800K and failed to produce the product for the initial backers?” Mr. Waldrep as Admin responded: “Mike, everything I had stated was true. Company management spent the money that was supposed to mass produce the product on company operations. It is ready to manufacture and I spent lots of my own money, time, and resources finding partners to take it over and get you your bar. The CEO declined my offer. You’re right that I doubt anyone will invest additional funds in a company that has spent millions of dollars without anything to show for it.” (emphasis added)
f) In response to the question: “How can a CEO decline an offer when they have no intention of delivering a product that they accepted a lot of funds for? Sounds like fraud to me!” Mr. Waldrep as Admin responded: “He told me that he wants to reserve the right to offer the underlying technologies to other potential consumer electronics companies.”
g) In response to the statement: “So based on Comhear company press it seems that they raised funds via Kickstarter, and then migrated those funds to another crowdfunding site called Indiegogo, where they raised even more money. Then they proudly announced the relocation of their corporate headquarters to some new site, probably using all the crowdfunding money.” Mr. Waldrep as Admin responded: “it is indeed unfortunate that the company was severely mismanaged after we successfully raised enough money to develop, manufacture, and deliver all 2700 units to KS and IGG backers.” (emphasis added)

3) The following statements by Mr. Mark Waldrop are taken from the YARRA 3DX Comments Section on Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ya ... e/comments):
a) About 2 months ago Mr. Waldrep posted:
i) “I find myself in a tough spot. Comhear owes me a lot of money for the DVDs I produced and hustled off the Chinese factory over a month ago. CEO Gerry Chastelet promised the first new funds received will be used to reimburse my out of pocket expenses. He assured me that a Comhear creditor would be wiring money last week. That has not happened. I'm trying to be patient but it's becoming increasingly difficult. I CAN confirm that the shipment from Zylux to Long Beach that Edwin uncovered was not the YARRA 3DX units. I have one of the final EVT units at my studio and can tell everyone that it looks and sounds very good. I will try to do a full review soon but without solid delivery assurances from the company, it's hard to get motivated to talk about the YARRA 3DX. I'm as frustrated and disappointed as the rest of you — maybe more so because I personally endorsed and promoted this product. I have directed all of the questions presented here AND more to the CEO. I understand and appreciate that any relevant information — including bad news — is better than continued silence. He responded, "as soon as the company is prepared to put out an update it will do so." He has also pointed out that the confidentiality provision of my consulting agreement limits what I can reveal about company business. I'm sure there will be repercussions from having written this comment. I began a drafting Part I of a lengthy blog post yesterday. It presents the background of my involvement with Comhear and the origins of the YARRA 3DX development. I hope to post it this week. Thanks for your patience.”
ii) “The YARRA 3DX units have not been mass produced at this point. I'm certain of that.”
iii) “As a former consultant to Comhear, I'm limited in what I can say right now. However, I can report that the CEO did authorize and I did receive payment for the DVDs that I shipped to the factory in China AND that I have had several conversations with him regarding the YARRA 3DX product, the lack of updates, and the chances for manufacturing to begin. I'm cautiously optimistic all of us backers will get the products we pledged for, but it's going to take some more time.”…”The YARRA 3DX product is fully developed, the software and app done, tooling completed, parts in place...all that is left is to manufacture them. I'm confident that a positive outcome is close. Thanks for your continued patience. I'm doing what I can.” (emphasis added)
b) About 1 month ago iMr. Waldrep ([email protected]) posted: “Perry P.Teevens - CEO - LEFT in MID 2017 James E. Lucas - CFO - LEFT in LATE 2017 Thomas Craft - CTO - LEFT in MID 2018 Peter Otto - CSO - LEFT in MID 2018 Andy H. Sassine - Chairman Bradley W. Buss - Director Jon C. Sundt - Director Wyatt R. Briant - Director Perry P. Teevens - Director - LEFT in MID 2017 Jeffrey M. Claar - VP Engineering - Current Virakorn Insixiengmay - Engineer - Current”
c) 25 days ago Mr. Waldrep posted: “My consulting agreement with Comhear is over. I don't work for them now and I won't work for them in the future. All of my efforts are focused on getting the first 2700 units delivered to everyone that backed the project. I care about the product. I care about the backer community. And I care about the commitments that were made during the course of the campaign. There is a path forward that will make YARRA 3DX the success that it should be.”
d) 13 days ago Mr. Waldrep posted: “The reality is that Comhear has other products that tap into the same technology. They have a commercial product that using the same 12-speaker array, a smaller version for kiosks, and specialized software. The deal with Stampede, a pro A/V distributor, isn't representing the YARRA 3DX.”
e) 11 days ago Mr. Waldrep posted:
i) “Comhear, the company behind YARRA 3DX, is still operating” … ”They seemingly have received enough funding to continue paying the few remaining employees but are still looking for more money. The manufacturing run was halted because a substantial payment was required by Zylux in September that wasn't paid. In speaking with the CEO and others, I believe there is a small chance that they can raise additional funds and deliver the promised units. I offered a path forward with myself and partners acquiring YARRA 3DX but my offer was ultimately rejected. Is there a chance they will succeed? Yes, but there is no guarantee and the chances are slim IMHO.”
ii) “Company management and technical team members were behind the product until new money was raised and Gerry Chastelet was put in charge. The former employees left the company when the environment became toxic.”
iii) “@Comhear - Pursuant to Kickstarter Terms of Use I invoke my rights to demand a full refund for my pledge amount. Backer #6.” (Note: this was Mr. Waldrep’s personal pledge)
f) 9 days ago Mr. Waldrep posted: “The only person that has access to the Creator account is me. I have written to the CEO and copied several board members — including the chairman — about the situation unfolding on this site. I have not heard back yet but expect to after they've reviewed the comments and discussed their next move.”

Conclusion:

The above statements support that:
1) Comhear Inc. didn’t disclose material information to Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers while soliciting funds including:
a) It was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each month
b) It had millions of dollars of long and short term debt
c) It was incapable of funding ongoing operations from current sales
2) Comhear Inc. raised sufficient funds from Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers to manufacture and ship YARRA 3DX then misappropriated backer funds to support operation of Comhear Inc.’s money losing ProAV business
OR GO THE EASY WAY
INCL. INTERNATIONAL BACKERS:
The Attorney General complaints filed for WA will be applicable to all WA residents but not to any residents of other states or international backers. For this reason if you want to help from authorities you will need to file Attorney General complaints in your own state (for US backers) or equivalent complaints with consumer protection agencies in your country (for international backers). To make that process easy you can refer to the WA Attorney General complaint that has been filed as a resource as shown above. If you agree with the facts and allegations as stated in that complaint.

you can quickly copy and paste relevant sections which would allow you to submit your own complaint in a matter of minutes!!. To make it easy for you, your local authority to submit the complaint to can be found in the overview of Financial Watchdogs in the next section.

It's your choice - sit idly by hoping Comhear honors it's contractual obligation to you or take action. However, keep in mind it is well known that "Hope is not a viable strategy".



<< BACK TO TOP >>
Last edited by Edwin on Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:23 am, edited 49 times in total.
Edwin
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:35 pm

Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:19 am



FINANCIAL WATCH DOGS - overview:
Please find below the list of regional watch dogs for backers to turn to file an official complaint

Each and every backer has the right to complain with their local and/or regional authorities. An example/template is available

A general list as per FTC, can be found:<HERE>

Detailed and additional authorities per country/region:
By clicking the button below an overview will be shown, for everyone to find the local authorities' details to send a complaint to: PRECEDENTS - overview:
Following overview shows some of the current precedents:

1. FTC: Crowdfunding project creator settles, FTC charges deception
2. Attorney General: files lawsuit against company
3. FTC: investigates 700000 crowdfunding campaign
4. Attorney General: files lawsuit against company
5. Attorney General: makes crowdfunded company pay shady deal
6. 'Coolest' has to ship 20000 rewards to kickstarter backers in 2020
7. Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending



<< BACK TO TOP >>
Last edited by Edwin on Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:12 am, edited 62 times in total.
Edwin
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:35 pm

Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:29 am


All facts will be presented to stakeholders and press. The press release(s) will be issued by the backer community.

Press release - 23-01-2019

Image

Click to read full article

On January 23rd this (pre-) press release has been rolled out to the media mentioned on the Comhear Yarra 3DX campaign websites on Kickstarter and Indiegogo (‘Yarra 3DX in the press’).

These media outlets are linked to this failed campaign now, so it seems fair to have them cover the backer story first before taking it to the press and selected media.

The press link can be used freely to inform others you feel need to be in the know by sharing it through channels if your choice like social media, your local press, local authorities, etc. Upon request the original full press release can be provided.

Recipients overview/notified: If you have any valuable contacts that might be of interest, you can share it by PM to have it added to the current list

Newsletter - 16-01-2019

Image
Click to read full article




<< BACK TO TOP >>
Last edited by Edwin on Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:33 pm, edited 45 times in total.
Edwin
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:35 pm

Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:03 am


>> to be inserted



<< BACK TO TOP >>
Last edited by Edwin on Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:10 am, edited 30 times in total.
Post Reply