As early as 2016, Eve had pro-consumer and pro-transparency slogans pasted on her website.
A tale of three Eves
Karatsevidis and the rest of Eve’s team kept the community informed of the many delays, but desperation reigned over the forums. Almost every customer who contacted Engadget purchased their Eve V in late 2017 or early 2018, and when Eve finally responded with a full refund, they jumped at the chance. These refunds never materialized, and as far as Eve-Tech is concerned, it was not its responsibility.
What wasn’t immediately clear to outside observers was that Eve-Tech had always intended to be more of a licensing company than a real hardware maker. Karatsevidis laid it out in a 2019 forum post, noting that the company has entered into three-year “ license ” agreements with vendors who would ultimately handle the production and distribution of V.
“Our team and our Helsinki company have invested funds in R&D, design, branding and marketing,” Karatsevidis wrote at the time. “In this business model, business partners can use our brand, tooling, motherboard designs, etc. for a fraction of the cost by paying us a license fee per unit sold, taking care of manufacturing, shipping, replacements, etc.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, one of the companies that Eve-Tech signed a deal with was a Hong Kong company called Fortress Tech Distribution Limited, which was supposed to run the company’s online storefront and handle orders and sales. deliveries. Karatsevidis added that Eve-Tech’s relationship with Fortress had deteriorated due to “issues with the supply chain, funds frozen by payment processors and untimely deliveries, causing frustration within the company. community and direct damage to our brand. According to Eve-Tech’s false logic, because Fortress was the entity that took people’s money and handled the distribution of orders, the responsibility for returning that money fell on them. (Note: Karatsevidis did not respond to multiple interview requests prior to publication.)
At this point, it’s unclear how well this company is still functioning. According to documents obtained from the Hong Kong Integrated Companies Register, Fortress Tech Distribution was incorporated on December 2, 2016, and its main office is a single room in an office building for rent in the Wan Chai district of the city. We contacted the building, but the staff did not confirm whether this room was still in use, nor were we able to contact Chi Wai Liu, the person named in the case as the director of the building. society.
Although Liu may be the current director of Fortress, someone else was responsible for incorporating the company. According to documents first spotted by Miller of r / EveV, the documents were originally filed in the Hong Kong Companies Register by MianZe Zheng in November 2016, and that same name appears in the minutes of the Eve-Tech meetings. as a minority shareholder who controlled around 20% of the total shares of the company. This curious reappearance of the names has sparked speculation that Eve-Tech in fact owned Fortress Tech Distribution, but the exact nature of their relationship is still unclear.
Interestingly, the forum post in which Karatsevidis described the issues with Fortress ended with two seemingly good tidbits. First, he announced a new business structure that would pivot from the existing licensing model and allow the team to launch a new online store and manage international sales internally, with the help of a partner. of the “high level” supply chain later revealed to be PCH International. What he didn’t mention was the fact that, as part of this plan, control of the brand would be sold to Eve-Tech CFO Tuukka Korhonen, who set up a new Hong Kong company called Eve. Holdings Limited in early 2017 and took on a Managing Director position from another called Eve Distribution Limited which was to handle the manufacture and sale of Eve products in the future.
The second good news was that, finally, customers who bought their Eve Vs from Fortress could appeal directly to the newly revamped brand for a refund. As one would expect from a company so often troubled by delays, this development was added to the forum post two months after its initial publication. Still, the end seemed to be in sight.
And what about Eve-Tech? The company that set it all in motion? We are not entirely sure. What we do know is that, if he continues to act as an advisor to Eve Distribution, Konstantinos Karatsevidis is no longer CEO of Eve-Tech.
According to the minutes we got from an Eve-Tech shareholders meeting in October 2019, the first order of business was to officially install Velimir Elezovic, an Eve-Tech employee and current director of business development. of Eve Distribution, as Managing Director. From what we understand, his tenure as CEO so far has been largely taken over by another corporate restructuring that would see the company formerly known as Eve-Tech become a company called Veleventures. The problem is that this process was at least temporarily suspended as an external audit found (among other things) a series of late and inaccurate financial filings and little evidence to suggest that Eve-Tech / Veleventures would be able to generate revenue for it. to maintain. through restructuring.
So, to sum it up: Eve-Tech is under someone else’s control, has tried to change her name several times, and doesn’t appear to have any money. Fortress Tech Distribution has been made a scapegoat and hardly seems to exist. The only entity that actively engages with the world is Eve Distribution. The problem is, although he has made overtures to the community about the refund, it is still unclear when – or even if – he will be able to give people their money back.