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Assets bankrupt Tenpages sold, crowdfunders potentially end up empty handed

In February we reported that crowd book funding startup Tenpages had closed for business, as of immediate effect. Sprout’s Philip Bueters late last week broke the news that the startup’s assets have been bought out of the bankruptcy, which the company had entered shortly after it shut its website.

Tenpages was founded in 2010 as a crowd funding and publishing site for books. The startup received a lot of media attention and managed to get 66 books published during its existence. However, the proceeds on these books were not enough to keep the company financially afloat. When its most recent funding efforts failed earlier this year the site closed down and entered the state of bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy

From late February trustee (“curator”) Femke Jorritsma was charged with exploring the possibilities for the firms assets, in an effort to cover as much of the outstanding liabilities as possible.

Late March she came to an agreement with Jaap Burgstra of Tekst en Uitleg, which was announced last week. Burgstra will acquire all remaining assets of the startup, its brand, platform and (slightly) controversially also the rights to all published books. Crowdfunders, who considered themselves co-owners of these rights are likely to end up empty handed. They can report their claims with the trustee, but will only get compensation in case the assets more than cover the liabilities of senior creditors.

Burgstra told Sprout he has already received various calls from furious crowdfunders, but that there is nothing he can do about that. He has purchased all assets for an amount “below EUR100,000” and will now focus on adapting both Tenpages’ old platform and its business model for a relaunch. Where Tenpages focussed on a virtual equity model for the crowdfunders, Burgstra is looking to move towards a reward based model, closer to Kickstarter’s model. He also intends to increase the quality of the manuscripts offered in the future but applying quality control to the supply of new manuscripts.

While crowdfunders are losing their rights to the manuscripts and books they funded, both the new owner and trustee are looking to continue existing agreements with publishers and authors.

One of the larger shareholders in Tenpages books has told us that he has contacted the trustee for further information and will keep us posted on his their progress.

Update: Valentine van der Lande, the founder of Tenpages, has just reached out to us via Twitter to tell us it is definitely not sure yet that the crowdfunders will remain empty handed. 

Tweet below:

@StartupJuncture Dat is absoluut nog niet zeker! #emptyhanded

— Valentine v.d. Lande (@ValentineNL) April 14, 2014

 
Photo by Pieter van Marion (creative commons via Flickr)

Wouter Kneepkens
Startup guy, mentor & investor with finance background | fund manager @ VNT.RE | founding editor @ StartupJuncture | co-founder @ SNTMNT | INSEAD alumn | Singapore & Amsterdam | Wouter Kneepkens

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