Swiss Porsche partner in distress
Wayray relocates employees from Russia to Switzerland
The Swiss start-up Wayray offers augmented reality products for car manufacturers and has well-known investment partners on board. But since January 5, the company has been on debt restructuring moratorium. What happened?
In 2023, the first production model should install Wayray’s special display technology – but first the company has to get through the debt restructuring moratorium.
Jean Claude RaemyEditor Economics
In the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce (SHAB) it is written in black and white: The company Wayray AG in Zurich has been on debt restructuring moratorium since January 5, 2023. This is scheduled for six months, the administrator is appointed.
The technology company has repeatedly made headlines in recent years. The start-up’s core products are technologies that offer augmented reality experiences for the automotive industry. For example, holographic navigation instructions that are displayed across the entire windscreen and are visible regardless of the viewing angle.
This cutting-edge technology attracts investors. So far, Wayray has raised $100 million in investor funds. Well-known financiers include the car manufacturers Porsche – as the strategic lead investor – and Hyundai. Or the Chinese IT company Alibaba or the Japanese consumer electronics company JVC-Kenwood. Wayray now has 250 employees at locations in Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, China and the USA.
So what happened?
Employees are relocated
Important to understand: A debt restructuring moratorium is not the same as bankruptcy. This is granted by the court if there are payment difficulties and a composition agreement is to be drawn up with creditors. The definitive deferral in this case means that Wayray is protected from enforcement actions by the creditors. The company can only use its assets to a limited extent and is not allowed to sell the company as a whole or individual assets. In principle, however, the work will continue.
When asked by Blick, company founder Vitaly Ponomarev (33) explained that the company was healthy and that work would continue as normal. The jobs are not in danger. “We are not bankrupt, but in a creditor protection procedure,” says Ponomarev. And: “We proactively asked for one to deal with the consequences of the war.”
The application for a debt restructuring moratorium was only submitted to the canton to avert potential problems with creditors. Such could have arisen because Wayray is currently busy relocating employees from Russia and Ukraine to the Zurich and Barcelona locations. “We hope to be able to complete this process in the first quarter of 2023,” says Ponomarev.
Also interesting in this context: Since April 2022, Ponomarev has been listed in the SOGC as a Moldovan rather than a Russian citizen.
The young entrepreneur remains confident that his company will revolutionize displays in the automotive industry. The market research company Data Intelo estimates that the market for augmented reality in the automotive industry will grow by 30 percent annually until 2026. But there is also a lot of competition. Mercedes, for example, has been offering augmented reality in the windshield for some time.