Mission Motors image 001

Apple’s aggressive pace of recruiting top talent in the automotive industry for its rumored electric car project, dubbed Project Titan, has caused a San Francisco motorcycle startup to shutter its operation after losing top talent to the iPhone maker, Reuters reported Monday.

Although the Cupertino firm has never attempted to acquire Mission Motors, which designed sleek electric bikes, the company was forced to cease operations in May “after losing some of its top engineering talent to Apple,” said Reuters, citing sources close to Mission.

Just as Mission was trying to raise a crucial round of funding last autumn, Apple began aggressively poaching its engineers, prompting an investor who had committed to the round to back out after two key engineers joined the California firm.

People close to the situation estimate that about a half dozen engineers have moved to Apple thus far, including Nancy Sun, Mission’s vice president of electrical engineering, Mark Sherwood, director of power train systems engineering, and Eyal Cohen, vice president of software and electrical engineering.

Steve Jobs on easy rider motorbike

“Some close to Mission Motors said it had reached a point of no return by last fall, when departures to Apple, and other companies, accelerated after a long struggle to find funding and a sound business model,” reads the article.

In February, a company called A123 Systems which makes batteries for electric cars actually dragged Apple to court over poaching its top engineers. The two companies later settled on undisclosed terms.

“Mission had a great group of engineers, specifically electric drive expertise,” said former Mission CEO Derek Kaufman. “Apple knew that—they wanted it, and they went and got it.”

Photo: The unreleased Mission Motors’ “Mission R”, a street bike.

Source: Reuters

  • RogWilco

    I don’t know, that sounds more like poor leadership not taking responsibility for whatever the real reason was that drove so many employees away. Without hearing from the key departing employees themselves, we’ll probably never know for sure.

    That being said, it is interesting to hear Apple putting money where it’s rumor press is. Apple’s been slipping on successful product launches lately (outside pretty much every iPhone release). Would be nice to see them come out swinging with a new product category.

    • iBanks

      Slipping as in availability or slipping as far as sales? If referring to sales, well, seems to me they have been doing just fine with their new product launches. If I recall correctly, only thing they was in a decline was iPad sales where as Mac’s are still pushing pretty well. How many of the Mac’s are factored by the newest devices I’m not sure of, but Apples last few launches seems to be an success. Especially the Apple Watch.

      • RogWilco

        I was thinking more along the lines of sales growth. Total sales will always increase of course, since you’re simply adding current sales to the previous. I confess I haven’t seen the most recent data, but based on what I have seen so far this year, Apple watch is flat to down, iPad is down, Macs saw a minor bump, and iPhone sales have been laying those golden eggs right on schedule.

        I don’t claim to know what the future holds, but I suspect Watch will pick up if Apple can keep the growth steady on the developer adoption side. But as of 1H 2015 things weren’t looking good. Has that changed at all?

      • Shadowelite123

        Actually according to data, the Apple Watch isn’t slipping. Best Buy literally ramped up orders for the Apple Watch and sent them throughout all their stores in the country and t mobile barely just got them and they are already sold out, at least here in Texas that I’ve seen. Literally when the Apple Watch start selling at t mobile, one day no one had Apple watches and the next almost everyone had one.

      • RogWilco

        Honest question: what data are you seeing? The most current I could find once I realized I hadn’t seen anything lately was this image (attached), and that only covers up to Q1 2015.

      • Shadowelite123

        You see that’s your problem right there. The Apple Watch started selling in April of 2015, in other words, Q2 of 2015. And I’m talking about reports and things I’ve seen online and in person.

      • That_Fruitarian

        Depending on who you ask, Apple is always slipping… Lol

  • Tommy Gumbs

    Yeaaaaa…this is nonsence. They failed becuase they could not find funds, probably due to a lack of a business model. Knowing of this uncertaintainty the engineers jumped at a chance to keep a paycheck, which happened to be from Apple. The Mission is now over. The end

  • kickinghorse99

    Apple got good business plan. Why don’t they hire crappy employees and see how that would work out? No company can survive without good employees.

  • Bugs Bunnay

    Tough!

  • Mark S

    Waaa. Then pay them more money to keep them.