Company says it grew too quickly, spent too much money to stay afloat
Down but never out, the makers of a space-aged rifle that practically takes the shot for you say they have emerged from a major restructuring and are set to begin selling rifles after a months-long shutdown.
TrackingPoint, which makes the so-called “Precision-Guided Firearm” told Shooting Sports Retailer it is back up and running, with founder John McHale at the helm as CEO and co-founder John Lupher as VP for Engineering. Former CEO Frank Bruno, who was appointed to that position just weeks before the company shut down, will be TrackingPoint’s Chief Operating Officer.
The re-emergent company will focus on its core customers and will add a more holistic customer service experience for buyers of its pricy rifles.
“We’re kind of going back to our roots and realizing that we have to be more focused on the products that we’re developing and be more customer focused and we want to really give the best customer service possible,” said TrackingPoint spokeswoman Kimberly Chung. “We’re going to make sure that for everyone who orders a gun it’s built to perfection.”
In May, TrackingPoint suspended operations after a round of layoffs and a management reshuffle — its third in as many years. The fledgling company also faced headwinds from a skeptical market that was unwilling to pay the high cost for a PGF, and from state game offices who are trying to ban the technology from hunting seasons due to ethics concerns.
The company says it will put on hold its .300 WinMag variant of the PGF, focusing on four core guns, including the 338 Lapua Magnum bolt gun and three AR platforms. TrackingPoint will also continue to pursue its Shot Glass platform, which uses a Google Glass-like eyepiece for targeting and recording a shot.
Chung said the company secured $8 million in investment capitol to pull out of its nosedive, and will start back up with about 15 employees. She expects the company to hire more in the coming months, and she claims TrackingPoint has a goal of being profitable within two years.
“We are committed to sticking to a budget,” Chung said. “There was a perception that the company always had lots of money, which obviously doesn’t work. Otherwise you’re going to be in a situation like we were earlier this year where you’re just spending more money than you have coming in.”
But officials say they’ll make the investment to bring more bang for the consumer’s buck by adding the so-called “Elite Experience” for every rifle purchase. That means anyone who buys a TrackingPoint rifle — no matter the model — will get an all expenses paid trip to the factory to learn about the rifle and how to shoot it.
“Everybody that orders a gun, we will foot the bill. … Our elite experience will comprise of hotel and food, tour of our facilities, a day at a shooting range with TrackingPoint staff showing you how to use the gun, in-person delivery of the gun and answering any questions a customer might have,” Chung said. “It’s going to be an elite delivery experience.”
Chung said for now TrackingPoint rifles will only be available directly from the company, but that if demand increases, they’re open to retail sales.