Gooee’s creditors line up, and Aurora tops the list

Sept. 13, 2021
The now defunct IoT lighting pioneer also owes employees, the taxman, Amazon Web Services, lawyers, and technology and patent specialists, among others.

The list of creditors to insolvent Internet of Things (IoT) lighting pioneer Gooee Ltd is out, and it makes for interesting reading.

Heading the group by a wide margin is Aurora Ltd, the UK lighting company from which Gooee long publicly claimed independence in order to convey the appearance of impartiality to other lighting companies which Gooee tried to sell products to or partner with. In second place is Aurora founder and CEO Andrew Johnson.

Other entities atop the lineup in terms of money owed include Gooee’s US subsidiary, the UK taxman, Gooee employees, Amazon Web Services, a California technology company specializing in IoT integration, and another specializing in crafting patent portfolios.

A “statement of affairs” filed by Gooee’s London-based administrators FRP in late August with UK government registrar Companies House tallies 43 entities to which Gooee owes £33.7 million (US$46.7M). Gooee owes £29.6M ($41M) of that to Aurora, which as LEDs Magazine noted in an earlier article is the only secured creditor.

It also owes £2.7M ($3.7M) to Johnson, who took over as Gooee boss toward the end of Gooee’s failed run as an IoT lighting champion. Johnson was a co-founder of Gooee.

The third-largest sum owed would go to St. Petersburg, FL-based Gooee subsidiary Gooee LLC, at £395,000 ($546,872). During Gooee’s seven-year run, the company shifted its center of focus from Florida to London.

The next chunk would go to the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) — the British equivalent of the US’ Internal Revenue Service. Three different HMRC offices working in the area of insolvency and debt management are owed a total of around £220,000 ($304,569). Employees are owed a similar amount, or around £212,000 ($293,494), with about £173,000 ($239,511) of that in redundancy pay and £39,000 ($53,993) in wage and holiday arrears.

Gooee adjusted its mission a few times during its life, and for its last few years was focused on providing smart building services that could gather information via sensors — both with and without the lighting infrastructure — and use cloud analytics to improve building operations. To that end, it engaged IT specialists such as Mountain View, CA-based Axilera, which is owed around £160,000 ($221,497), according to the filing. Axilera provides systems integration services for IoT companies.

Next on the list in monetary value is former Gooee chief commercial officer Jan Kemeling, owed about £92,000 ($127,361).

As a company analyzing data in the cloud, Gooee had relied on Amazon Web Services, to which it owes around £53,000 ($73,368).

Rounding out the list of top 10 creditors: Gooee owes a little over £51,000 ($70,600) to Novato, CA-based IP patent specialists Multi-Innovation Inc., and around £49,000 ($67,831) to attorneys Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

Editor’s note: Gooee reports financials in British Pounds; all conversions to US dollar amounts are at the current exchange rate at time of publication.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.