In recent weeks, we received numerous messages from GNARBOX users that the app disappeared from the App Store (it’s since back) and that support messages have gone unanswered. We tried to find out if GNARBOX is in trouble.
GNARBOX, a really cool portable SSD backup device we reported about many times before (including a video interview I did with CEO Tim Feess in summer 2020), has lost its management team for undisclosed reasons in November 2021, with the investors taking over the company. We were not able to find out who those investors are.
GNARBOX – impossible to contact
I tried reaching out to GNARBOX via various means, asking for a statement, mainly through their email contacts listed on their website. Using their press and support emails (contacts taken from contact page), I received a server message that the email doesn’t exist. Not a great sign.
(Former) CEO Tim Feess replies on LinkedIn
Some days after reaching out to him personally on LinkedIn, where he is still listed as CEO of GNARBOX, Tim Feess replied to me with a statement he prepared for press enquiries:
“Regrettably, the former management team is no longer with the company and hasn’t been since 11/5/2021. This includes myself, co-founders, and employees. We left the company in control of the Investors at time of departure and interested parties should contact them for more information.”
Tim Feess, former CEO and co-founder of GNARBOX
MyGnar, Inc., “Forfeited”, iOS app disappears and re-appears in the App Store
The reason why we are reporting about this is the fact that the GNARBOX 2.0 SSD is still being sold, while numerous of our readers have messaged us (and posted on social media) that they are unable to get in touch with their support team, or were unable to find the app on the iOS App Store. Investing in their product right now might not be such a great idea until we know more as many of the GNARBOX’s core functions depend on its iOS app.
After our colleagues at Petapixel reported about the issues just over a week ago, the app at some point reappeared on the App Store.
However, it also surfaced that MyGnar, Inc.’s California branch (it’s registered as a Delaware corporation), was forfeited since October 27, 2021, just two weeks before Feess’ and his team’s departure from the company. They are/were headquartered in California.
A brief history of GNARBOX and their competition …
The original GNARBOX started as a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2015 and unlike most other (even successful) Kickstarter campaigns, they managed to bring a product to market and even release a more powerful successor a few years later.
Behind GNARBOX was the powerful idea to be able to offload your footage “on the go” without using a computer. In my opinion, this is more important than ever before, with the myriad of cameras and drones we are using on shoots these days. But for some reason, this product category has remained a niche. There have been some slow attempts by the big storage companies to tackle this market, though neither the WD My Passport Wireless SSD, nor the LaCie Rugged BOSS SSD (check also for our video about the device) were “professional” enough to be really interesting for pro filmmakers or many photographers. Only NextoDI (a news video on one of their latest products here) seems to be able to tackle the pro market with their products, but they smartly always left out the SSD itself from their products (you had to purchase them separately). The GNARBOX 2.0, on the other hand, is waterproof, has a built-in and removable battery and apart from a built-in SD card reader also allows you to attach other card readers via USB-C.
… and what might have been GNARBOX’s problem
While Tim Feess wasn’t able to share any reasons on why he and his team had to leave the company, I think it can be safely assumed that GNARBOX is in trouble because they entered a difficult market – a market dominated by huge storage corporations – while offering a premium-priced product in a category that is usually driven by ever-dropping prices for constantly growing storage capacities. Their GNARBOX 2.0 SSD is still as pricey as it was during its introduction, while in the meantime, prices for SSDs have drastically fallen.
Until we know more about the fate of GNARBOX, it would be wise to re-consider a planned purchase of their devices.
What do you think about GNARBOX and in-the-field backup solutions? Let us know in the comments below.