Guvera operations “currently ceased”; CEO Claes Loberg has left
Just four months after CEO and co-founder Claes Loberg released a report detailing a number of new overseas partnerships being struck by the Gold Coast-based tech company Guvera, the battle for survival is seemingly over.
Loberg left the company he owned 11.5% of, apparently on April 27. Last Friday, sole remaining Director, Darren Herft, said in a memo to its 3000 investors, “Our operations have currently ceased”.
The flashpoint came when a key investor in the past 12 months, Coterie Nominees, was “not in a position to continue their funding.” Coterie’s nominee Director Steven Porch, who had a 6.5% stake in Guvera, has also left.
Herft intends to keep going. On Friday he asked for two volunteers to replace Loberg and Porch and “rebuild our company.”
After its 2008 launch on the Gold Coast, Guvera was caught up in the tech start-up excitement of the time, and at one stage opened an office in New York.
Between launch and 2016, it raised $185 million for expansion.
Last year, alarm bells were ringing in financial circles. The Australian Stock Exchange rejected its controversial $1.3 billion float, after its prospectus showed it only generated $1.2 million in 2015, with net losses of $80 million. Identities from the financial world used descriptions as “absolute disgrace” and “terrified” to the idea of a public offering.
Faced with a block from the ASX and unable to pay its agreed $180,000-a-month debt repayments and fending off increasing legal action, Guvera closed its Australian operations with 80 job losses, to concentrate on emerging markets, finding traction mostly in India and Indonesia.
For a time it reshaped itself, offering a tracking tool for advertisers on a white label streaming service.
Herft says Guvera still has some intellectual property assets which could be monetised or sold to return capital to investors.
One of these is the Kwickie app, of which Herft is a Director, and which allows users to conduct video conversations with celebrities.
He also claimed to shareholders that Guvera is owed $6 million from the Australian Tax Office, in refunds for company tax and research & development.
According to Loberg in his CEO newsletter in January, deals struck by Guvera included new digital bank Jenius (owned by a major Indonesian bank) to implement a channel. Uber, Telkomsel and UCBrower were among those who signed on with the app. Ripcurl placed content on the new app and implemented Guvera’s beacon technology.
There were also agreements signed with major brand agencies WPP/Data Alliance in Indonesia and India, and Dentsu Aegis in India. There was also a pact with Ogilvy, as well as Toolbar, the largest domestic agency in Indonesia.
Guvera was also in advanced talks with “one of the biggest media conglomerates in India” for it to use the technology behind Guvera’s new DragonFli app to power their own media apps to an audience of “hundreds of millions of consumers.”