Seattle football helmet maker backed by NFL stars faces cash crunch

Vicis, a Seattle-based company that makes cutting-edge protective football helmets, is a darling of the grilling world where head injuries are a major concern, but it now appears to be running out of cash, according to a recent report in the New York Times.

Vicis’ inaugural product was the Zero1 football helmet, unveiled in 2017 and ranked first in 2017 and 2018 NFL/NFLPA Helmet Laboratory Performance Testing. The Zero1 helmet is now used by more than 150 professional and college teams as well as some 1,200 high school football programs across the country.

The Time report, is based on a letter to shareholders written by Vicis new general manager, Ralph Green Jr., and commented by the newspaper. Our employees are currently furloughed and we need to raise capital to continue operating, or we may have no choice but to end all operations, Greene wrote.

The company received $1.1 million in grants from the NFL, which does not own a stake in Vicis, the Time reports. Vicis helmets are worn by NFL stars like Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes.

Additionally, the company has attracted investors who have a big stake in the game, including NFL quarterbacks Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers. Both quarterbacks have invested in the company’s $30 million Series B funding round through Orange County-based RX3 Ventures, Vicis announced earlier this year. This was the second investment in the company by Smith and Rodgers. Last February, Vicis raised over $85 million.

In addition to Smith and Rodgers, the company has also received funding from and/or is advised by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach; former San Francisco 49ers catcher Jerry Rice; Doug Baldwin, the now-retired Seattle Seahawks receiver; and current Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

A notice now appearing on the Vicis website reads: Vicis will be conducting internal year-end activities until January 2, 2020. We will resume accepting orders at that time.

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