Post-Polaris Motorcycle Buyout, Brammo Gets $12.5 Million In Funding


In what might best be described as awkward timing, Craig Bramscher reported that Brammo received $12.5 million in an “equity and debt” funding round.  The timing is said be be purely coincidental:

“It just happened to be filed as we were working” on the Polaris deal, Bramscher said. “Brammo raised a new round of funding concurrent with the sale of the motorcycle business to Polaris. This round of investment is focused on the pivot to EV power train supplier to Polaris and other (equipment makers).”

Interestingly, this was not reported by press release, but by the Portland Oregon BizJournals who further report that Bramscher reiterates that no changes are planned for the Talent, Oregon-based company, and that the biggest change is a transition from a “… B-to-C (business-to-consumer) company to a B-to-B (business-to-business) company…“.

Brammo battery packs in Empulse frame

Brammo battery pack assembly in Empulse frame

“Equity and debt” generally refers to sales of stock, combined with loans, sharing risk between stockholders and the company and making the entire sum of the funding available.

This would be, according to our information, at least as big a chunk of Brammo’s historic funding as most of the rounds they’ve had, with the difference being that they no longer have an identifiable product line to offer besides small EV “BrammoPower” power trains.  Bramscher went on: “ “We’re getting so much interest in our power-train system that we get to focus on that as well. It’ll be great for the growth of the company.”

Brammo has had an interesting 6 months or so.  Starting with an aggressive “fire sale” last summer which was then extended to the end of the year, the company fueled speculation that motorcycle sales were not as healthy as we were led to believe, and the powertrain side of the business was looking like a large potential growth segment.  Looking back on our reports, it’s clear the foundations were being laid for the Polaris buyout and change of focus even then, though we were led to believe we were looking at an expansion, not a buyout.

With rumors of massive layoffs and extended closings at the Talent OR plant, Brammo reported “business as usual”, in spite of surfacing information of more extensive cuts than officially reported – over half the workforce released of the 70-some employees across the board – and no 2015 product announcements.  At that point, with only hints about mysterious deals in the works, and a full plate of seemingly divergent projects coming out of official Brammo sources, we were left to guess about the coming plans.

Clear-view of Brammo pack

Clear-view of Brammo pack

SEC regulations being what they are, we don’t expect to hear any concrete information from Polaris about plans for continued production and support for the now-Polaris “Brammo” motorcycle line, but for the Brammo part of the equation, we don’t expect to hear much in the way of details from them either.  OEM suppliers, much as they might want to, simply aren’t generally at liberty to discuss their contribution to an OEM’s product.

Which leads us to guess, and continue to try to sort out spin from fact in the Brammo story… always a challenge, even among those who enjoy the Brammo kool-aid.

If we may, however, be granted some editorial license, we’re increasingly skeptical of whatever news we hear out of Talent OR.  It’s doubtful that Brammo can simply up-tool to provide battery technology to a large base of OEM customers, we wonder if their packs are able to compete with the literally dozens of other pack and BMS manufacturers available, even with a commitment from Polaris, we’re wondering what “special sauce” Brammo could possibly have that isn’t widely available at this point, and, certainly not least, we wonder if what has proven to be a fairly scattered, at the best possible description, upper management is willing to focus on the mundane task of building battery packs and supplying simple hardware.  It certainly isn’t as much fun as racing.

One can only guess.

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4 Comments on "Post-Polaris Motorcycle Buyout, Brammo Gets $12.5 Million In Funding"

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an Electric Powered Polaris Slingshot would RULE

You are right about the SEC regulations forcing Brammo to stay silent. Since Polaris (PII) is a publicly traded company, Brammo would have been banned from telling even their own investors that they were in merger/acquisition talks with Polaris. Much less telling the general public.

It isn’t popular, but it is exactly as should be expected to avoid insider trading and other unfair securities trading practices.

Hiding behind supposed SEC regulation is convenient explanation for the chronic Brammo BS and skniving which continues ad nauseam and just more proof (if needed) Brammo motorcycle owners and dealers have been taken for the proverbial corporate ride to La La Land. “Greed is good”. Gordon Gekko is alive and well and living in Talent, Oregon.

“The biggest shift is that we’re moving from a B-to-C (business-to-consumer) company to a B-to-B (business-to-business) company,” Bramscher said.

Doubtful. Businesses run on their own due diligence and are harder to fool.