Stumbled across this when responding to a discussion regarding DAC early adopter experiences and the Wadia brand. As I remember it Wadia is a serious and fine sounding digital brand out of the Twin Cities region, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Wadia begat a small off-shoot Exogal known for their Comet DAC, its dedicated power supply, and the ION power amplifier. I had auditioned them early on when Exogal was breaking out in the market. Solid products, but the Exogal sound wasn’t for me. As I remember it the hit the market hard and were a hit at the HiFi Conventions in the USA. I attributed it to their Wadia heritage with a more value oriented proposition. Having moved on I though they continued to this day. Unfortunately they have not. CEO Jeff Haaganstad shares the Exogal story which I have provided below for the curious:
I must say, it’s pretty darned brave to be as transparent as Jeff is about the root cause of Exogal’s demise. Most press releases announcing cessation of operations are a terse 2-3 sentences long. I will say for every story we know about a small/medium business succumbing to the impacts of the pandemic, there are a hundred stories like it we don’t know. Here, a few blocks from the ritzy Magnificent Mile, there is still a lot of boarded up, vacant commercial/retail space that hasn’t been leased in 2+ years. Commercial business lenders were burned big time, and it’s really not the fault of the businesses that failed not being able to pay their bills. Many being partially or fully shut down by mandate and unable to sustain themselves even with PPP. It could take a decade to fully recover.
The best we can do is support our local businesses, industry and services. I was on Milwaukee Ave in Wicker Parker recently and noticed more closed businesses than I cared to see. A combination of things precipitated by the Covid outbreak and the George Floyd protests. I was just in Lakeview, visiting Ken at Pro Musica, and honestly did not recognize the Broadway business district. I’ve seen Chicago neighborhoods go through these cycles previously. Disconcerting as it may be overtime the area should bounce back. It just have become accustomed to it looking and feeling different afterwards.
Jeff was brutally honest, but he came across as ready to move one to better things, hopefully not investment banking.
I owned an Internet company from 1994 to spring 2000. I sold the company a few months before the big crash in technology took hold. We had 15,000+ customers. I continued to run my company for the new owners for two hard years. We had signed contracts with many of our customers. These contracts had an early termination without cause (something we failed at that gives them just cause) and many, many of those customers called me up, pleaded for mercy, and got it from me. I cannot recall one customer who we litigated the early termination clause. I just figured be sweet to them when they are down, and maybe they’ll come see us if and when they are back on their feet. I got lectures from people telling me I was leaving money on the table and blah blah blah. Being kind pays. It might take longer…
aangen, unfortunately bankers and investment capitalists don’t think that way. I’d think Exogal could have recovered given mare financial breathing space from investors. It was a decent enough product at an attractive price point. Another advantage the brand had was significant positive internet buzz.