Technology

Micro-mobility operator Helbiz misses payroll, blaming software ‘update’

Helbiz, a shared electric scooter and bike provider that operates in the US and Europe, failed to pay its US-based employees last week. The edge have learned. In an email to employees, the company’s CEO blamed “a glitch in our payroll system” and promised each employee a $100 bonus to make up for the snafu.

“I personally apologize for this error and I hope you know it does not reflect my knowledge of the value you all bring to the success of this company,” Helbiz CEO Salvatore Palella said in the email, which was received from The edge.

“On payroll, there was an update in our payroll system that caused a delay in complying with this cycle. Unfortunately, since it happened before the weekend, it will take a few days to resolve and our staff will be paid this week,” Rosenberg said. “We regret this has happened and are working with staff who may need further assistance.”

Helbiz went public last year by merging with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), apparently hoping to make enough money to expand into other services. After the merger, Helbiz said its valuation was $408 million, but the company’s shares have since fallen and its market cap is now around $92.7 million.

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Image: Helbiz

Helbiz has encountered other hurdles as well. The company’s full 2021 earnings report, as well as this year’s fourth quarter report, has been pushed back to mid-April 2022, well after most publicly traded companies have released their own earnings reports. The US Securities and Exchange Commission requires annual reports to be released no later than 60 days after the end of the fiscal year.

“We were unable to obtain the necessary data from one of our third-party providers in time to complete our review, so we requested the delay,” Rosenberg said. He also denied any connection between the missed paycheck and the delayed income report.

The company is best known as an operator of micromobility. But since the SPAC merger, Helbiz has tried to expand into other offerings, including ghost kitchens and media streaming. Last year, the company launched Helbiz Media, a new streaming service, with a deal with Fox Networks Group to become the exclusive distributor of the Italian Serie B soccer championship in the United States and the Caribbean. The news sent Helbiz’ share price skyrocketing by 97 percent before finally dropping to its current price of around $3 per share.

There were other questionable moves as well. Palella, the CEO of Helbiz, was sued last year by a group of investors who claim they were scammed into buying the HelbizCoin cryptocurrency using a “pump and dump” scheme.

The plaintiffs said Helbiz promised to use the proceeds from its first cryptocurrency offering, announced in 2018, to develop a platform that allows users to rent bikes, cars, scooters and flying drone taxis. Instead, Helbiz kept most of the money for itself, effectively killing its own cryptocurrency by accepting other forms of currency, they claim.

Helbiz’s lawyers say the case is “baseless”. accordingly Reuters. The case is still pending in the New York District Court.

https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/5/23010392/helbiz-missed-payroll-micromobility-cryptocurrency Micro-mobility operator Helbiz misses payroll, blaming software ‘update’

Fry Electronics Team

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