After raising some $17 million through an offering made possible by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Regulation A+, Elio Motors began trading on the over-the-counter (OTC) market OTCQX. This allows Elio to reach more investors via the Internet. In addition, it affords Elio more financial legitimacy, with a certain amount of transparency required to trade on the market.
As OTC Markets CEO R. Cromwell Coulson says, trading on their “highest” market, OTCQX, is “for the most established and investor-focused companies. Companies that trade there must meet high financial standards, be current in their financial reporting and be sponsored by a professional third-party advisor.” That advisor, in this case, is the WR Hambrecht + Co. investment bank (which notably helped underwrite IPOs for Apple and Google). Sounds promising, right?
However, the reports paint a pretty gloomy picture of Elio. Their SEC filing outlines a number of obstacles to success, including a list of risks investors need to keep in mind. “We have no revenues, are currently in debt, and expect significant increases in costs and expenses to forestall revenues for the foreseeable future,” states the filing. “Even if we are able to successfully develop the Elio, there can be no assurance that we will be commercially successful. If we are to ever achieve profitability, we must have a successful commercial introduction and acceptance of the Elio, which may not occur.”
Elio adds that it has had $30,696,259 in loan debt as of the end of 2014, has lost $53,793,387 so far, has no final design, no working production facility and finds growing competition from alternative energy vehicles as well as increasingly efficient gas-powered vehicles. Other than that, everything looks great!
In addition, a skeptical public has been wary of a scam from Elio for years, while others simply don’t believe in the idea. There is a Facebook page dedicated to the idea that Elio Motors is bilking investors and reservation holders. Elio has taken over 50,000 reservations, many of which are non-refundable, with no set launch date for the vehicle. As the original release date came and went in 2014 (it’s currently estimated at late 2016), it’s understandable why many are cynical about the prospect of a $6,800 trike capable of 84-mpg ever reaching the market.
Paul Elio paints a rosy picture of his endeavor. An affordable, efficient, crowd funded vehicle would be welcomed by many, especially when it comes to solving mobility problems for people who can’t afford a traditional car. It also appears that Elio Motors is aware of its own risk profile.