Ever since The Spoon first broke the story of home brew technology startup PicoBrew entering bankruptcy back in February, it’s been an open question about what would happen to all the company’s intellectual property once it ended up in the hands of a new owner.
Now we know. The new owners, a group called PB Funding Group, has launched a website and listed the company’s patents and product intellectual property for sale.
So who is PB Funding Group and how did they come to own all of the company’s assets?
As it turns out, PB Funding Group is the same group of former investors who became PicoBrew’s bridge lender in mid-2018 when the startup failed to secure a new round of financing. They gave the company until the end of last year and, after PicoBrew failed to lock in any potential buyers or investors in the midst of the emerging pandemic, PB Funding Group pushed the company into the receivership process.
It was a savvy move in retrospect since it allowed the group – after securing the winning bid – to emerge on the other side with all of the company’s assets but none of their debt. Since that time, the company put many of the operating assets such as PicoPak assembly machinery and warehouse gear up for auction to “arrest the massive warehousing and operational costs.”
And now, PB Funding Group new website lists off the various patents (and patents in process) and PicoBrew product line assets such as the Pico, Zymatic and PicoStill for sale or licensing.
From the group’s open letter on the website:
Efforts to find the right buyer, licensee, or partner are actively underway, however all operations had to be terminated to stop the losses. Many of the company’s assets were liquidated to arrest the massive warehousing and operational costs.
Conversations are ongoing with those interested in all or parts of the company, but nothing has been decided yet. We continue to search for buyers who are interested in some or all of the technology either in the form of a sale or potential licensing of the underlying technology.
Whether or not they ultimately find a home for the company’s patents or the product IP remains to be seen, but in the mean time PB Funding Group has promised to keep PicoBrew’s servers online for the foreseeable future.
That promise was a relief to a small but dedicated group of PicoBrew home brewers who are hoping to continue brewing with with their Picos. While they won’t be able to use PicoBrew-made PicoPaks, the community has been working on building self-sufficient alternatives such as 3D printed grain and hop baskets. And, anticipating the day that PicoBrew does shut off its servers, a Facebook group has developed a way to keep a Picos up and brewing without connecting to the company’s web servers.