The Internet is now abuzz with reports that Net SE, the German company behind brands Meyer Optik Görlitz, C.P. Goerz, and Oprema Jena, as well as several Kickstarter campaigns, is now officially bankrupt. We first spotted this report over at Mirrorless Rumors, which had German website Photoscala as its source. Given this major development, the chances of backers receiving their pre-ordered lenses, or at least their money back from Net SE – who’s also behind Emil Busch A.-G. Rathenau, Ihagee Elbaflex, and SCHACHT – now looks very, very slim.
What the hell happened? Here’s a quick timeline to keep you up to speed.
It appears that Net SE’s downfall started to become apparent in April 2018 when it applied for delisting from the German stock exchange.
Basing on this report by Photo Rumors, it looked like it was the unfortunate culmination of a series of questionable decisions from people within the company.
Photo Rumors posted a lengthy quote from “somebody who was close to all the funding projects and Net SE.” A part of it read:
I honestly think they (Net SE) were set up to fail as a business and, at least in the beginning, had every intention to fill their orders. I know that they were doing Kickstarters not to fund the upcoming lens, but to help them produce the ones that supposedly had already been funded.
According to the same source, as a result, Net SE “put themselves in this terrible cycle of having to continuously do Kickstarter [campaigns].” They went on to say that Kickstarter even had to step in and tell Net SE to fulfill outstanding Kickstarter orders, otherwise they won’t be able to start a new one. Supposedly, this was the reason Net SE turned to Indiegogo.
Going back to the developments of this year, on July 17, Net SE filed for bankruptcy. Then, on August 7, the Net SE Crowdfunding team posted an update on some of their Kickstarter campaigns’ pages that said Stefan Immes, Net SE’s main investor and CEO, “had a serious accident, which [he] barely survived” a few weeks prior.
“…due to the severity of the injuries, he will not be able to continue running the company in the foreseeable future,” part of the update read.
Also included in the same update were plans that Net SE supposedly had in the pipeline following this development. It read:
For a team as small as ours, this entails a large number of changes. Currently, we are in the process of reorganization and are trying to establish a working system as no successor regulation can yet be found for the Net SE Group. For this reason, we are currently undergoing a restructuring process with an as yet unknown outcome for the individual divisions, such as CP Görz.
Especially as far as Crowdfunding is concerned, we think that we will need until the end of October to be able to share our conclusions on how to proceed. One of the top priorities of our Crowdfunding team is, of course, to deliver the orders we receive as promised. However, we ask for your understanding that, for legal reasons alone, we cannot make any faster decisions without having reorganized the company.
For technical questions, our support team is of course still available, but we can only make limited forecasts about the development progress of our projects.
No further news from or about Net SE followed this – until today, when reports about the company becoming officially bankrupt surfaced.
Meanwhile, Net SE is yet to air their side of the story as of this writing.