Micromobility operator Helbiz misses payroll and blames software ‘update’

Helbiz, a provider of shared electric scooters and bikes that operates in the United States and Europe, failed to pay its US-based employees last week, The edge has learned. In an email to employees, the company’s CEO blamed “an error in our payroll system” and promised each employee a $100 bonus to make up for the snafu.

“I personally apologize for this error and hope you know it does not reflect my understanding of the value you all bring to the success of this company,” Helbiz CEO Salvatore Palella said in the statement. ‘e-mail, which was obtained by The edge.

“On payroll, there was an update in our payroll system and it caused a delay in meeting this cycle. Unfortunately, because it happened before the weekend, it will take a few days to fix it and our employees will be paid this week,” Rosenberg said. “We regret this has happened and are working with employees who may need further assistance.”

Helbiz went public last year by merging with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, ostensibly in hopes of raising enough money to expand into other services. After the merger, Helbiz said its valuation was $408 million, but the company’s shares have since fallen and its market capitalization now stands at around $92.7 million.

Picture: Helbiz

Helbiz also encountered other obstacles. The company’s full 2021 earnings report, as well as that year’s fourth quarter report, has been delayed until mid-April 2022, long after most public companies have released their own earnings reports. results. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission stipulates that complete annual reports must be published no later than 60 days after the end of the financial year.

“We were unable to obtain the necessary data from one of our third parties in time to complete our audit, so we requested a delay,” Rosenberg said. He also denied any connection between the missed pay and the delayed earnings report.

The company is best known as a micromobility operator. But since its SPAC merger, Helbiz has tried to expand into other offerings, including ghost kitchens and media streaming. Last year the company launched Helbiz Media, a new streaming service, with an agreement with Fox Networks Group to be the exclusive distributor of the Italian Serie B football championship in the United States and the Caribbean. The news sent Helbiz stock price up 97% before eventually plummeting to its current price of around $3 per share.

There have also been other questionable moves. Palella, CEO of Helbiz, was sued last year by a group of investors who claimed they were defrauded into buying the HelbizCoin cryptocurrency under a “pump and dump” scheme.

The plaintiffs said Helbiz promised to use proceeds from its initial cryptocurrency offering, announced in 2018, to develop a platform for users to rent bikes, cars, scooters and drone taxis. ruffles. Instead, Helbiz kept most of the money for itself and, by accepting other forms of currency, effectively killed its own cryptocurrency, they claim.

Helbiz lawyers say the case is ‘without merit’ according to Reuters. The case is still pending in New York District Court.