WayRay: Promising Automotive Start-Up Declared Bankrupt due to Russian Origins, Searching for Buyers

2023-09-17 08:30:35

The Swiss company WayRay, one of the most promising automotive start-ups, has just been declared bankrupt because of its Russian origins, RTS has learned. Its managers hope to find buyers as quickly as possible.

Founded in 2012, the company WayRay is at the origin of an invention based on augmented reality: a transparent film that sticks to car windshields and provides driving information.

The start-up is very promising and counts nearly 25 major brands among its clients. But in February 2022, when WayRay was preparing to receive $100 million to open a production center near Zurich, everything stopped.

“We should have received 100 million dollars from a new investment and on the same day, the war started in Ukraine,” says Philippe Monnier, administrator of WayRay, in the 7:30 p.m. of RTS on Saturday.

International sanctions

“It’s an atomic bomb that fell on society,” says the businessman, referring to February 24, 2022. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the international sanctions that followed have in fact had direct effects on WayRay.

“The sanctions that have been taken against Russia are clearly unprecedented,” explains Sandrine Giroud, associated with the Lalive study.

“In addition to basic sanctions, such as blocking certain assets or banning certain people from traveling, there are a whole series of services that have been prohibited, for example certain legal services,” she continues.

It is therefore today too risky to collaborate with companies that have a link with Russia. However, if WayRay is Swiss, its founder and some shareholders are Russian.

As a result, it is impossible, for example, to part with a Russian shareholder, because no bank is ready to pay the money in exchange for the shares.

“Most banks are extremely cautious,” explains Sandrine Giroud. “Even if the Swiss authorities validate the transaction, they are afraid of the consequences of possible actions in the United States.”

Save jobs

WayRay now finds itself bankrupt. The hope for saving jobs would be to find European, Asian or American buyers as quickly as possible.

“Some buyers would perhaps be more suitable, particularly those who know us very well,” believes Philippe Monnier, who nevertheless hopes “that the main activity remains in Switzerland”.

Before the war, WayRay employed around forty people in Zurich. Around a hundred additional jobs were planned for the production center.

Nicolas Rossé/edel

#Swiss #company #WayRay #declared #bankrupt #Russian #origins #rts.ch

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.