Global economic crisis forces Zoombak to close its UK business

Another sad chapter in the global money meltdown story: Zoombak – which provides lightweight cheap personal GPSs – is closing its UK consumer business. zoombak-pic1

I went to the product launch a month ago at London’s Haymarket hotel.

These things are the size of a match box and you can (or could until now) attach them to your dog’s collar, kid’s bike or you car while you’re away.

We watched as the team live-tracked a fleet of taxis around the south-east on google maps. There were a couple of cute dogs in attendance at the champagne reception – they were mostly interested in the canapés – and we tracked their walkies around Pall Mall. It was good fun and the team talked up a storm.

One chap told me how he had one on his young daughters bicycle, and set up an ‘inclusion’ zone around her school – so he knew when she arrived safely each morning, and when she had set off for home.

The range of potential business and personal usage was vast. Estate agents, hauliers and taxi/fleet firms were among the sectors interested in the product.

You could monitor your car’s security from the other side of the world – especially if your teenage kids are tempted to go for a spin while you’re away. Beloved or valuable dogs were also kept under close satellite surveillance. There were hopes that one day a model would be small enough for cats.

I thought the whole concept had great potential, so it’s sad to hear today that the UK operation is being closed down.

Zoombak‘s European vice-president, Barry Wilson, said: “When your product category is effectively a new market area, major investment is required to create and develop this market.

“At some point there has to be a return on that investment. Given these difficult trading times and low overall consumer confidence, it is almost certain we will not be able to generate a return on the proposed UK investment within an acceptable timescale.

“We’ve therefore had to make the very difficult decision to withdraw from the UK consumer market.”

Current customers will get full purchase refunds. More at www.zoombak.co.uk

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