/ News / App crowdfunding SellanApp files for bankruptcy and discontinues service immediately

App crowdfunding SellanApp files for bankruptcy and discontinues service immediately

Dutch crowdfunding platform for app ideas SellanApp has suspended its services with immediate effect and is filing for bankruptcy, the startup announced to its users just now. 

SellanApp was forced to discontinue its service by its shareholders, reports the team: “as it proved impossible for SellanApp to raise sufficient funds to keep its service up and running.” The startup was right in the middle of a new crowdfunding campaign via Symbid, where it now also displays the message sent to users. SellanApp was looking to raise EUR100,000 at a valuation of almost EUR3 million. Apparently the divide between boom and bust is pretty narrow in startup land with the company going under, instead of raising at this significant valuation.

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 15.31.51

SellanApp Symbid campaign, which was live until earlier today/this week

What happens now is that an executor, as is familiar with Dutch law, is handed over the responsibility of SellanApp. As part of this, for the startup it’s legally not allowed to take any further steps, like performing refunds or the transfer of apps.

Executor

The management of SellanApp says it will work together with the executor to seek how they can “continue their service and/or to minimize any damage that the discontinuation of the service might incur to all parties involved.” For now, an executor still has to be appointed. That usually means it will take 4 to 8 weeks before answers can be given (by the executor).

Symbid

SellanApp was founded in 2012 by Aernoud Dekker and Milan van den Bovenkamp. De startup itself was crowdfunded on the platform Symbid, raising 150.000 euros – making it one of the big successes on Symbid. It was also highlighted as one of three success stories on the platform, until it was removed when the SellanApp news broke (or before that).

Earlier this year, crowdfunding website for books TenPages was shut down, making SellanApp the second Dutch crowdfunding platform to go under this year. In case of TenPages the assets were sold to a third party, including the rights to the book titles and proceeds.

Given the leading position the Netherlands has in innovative crowdfunding concepts (first platforms globally for book publishing, app ideas, equity crowdfunding, convertible crowdfunding, bands) the bankruptcy is another blow.

Besides a crowdfunding platform SellanApp was also crowdfunded itself and is now the second well-known blowup among crowdfunded projects in the Netherlands. The first crowdfunding project to file for bankruptcy in The Netherlands was the restaurant Blauw – Den Haag (other locations of the same restaurant were not involved and are still operational), via platform Geldvoorelkaar, also earlier this year. These first bankruptcies go to show that the risks in crowdfunding are significant and not to be underestimated by the funders.

 
Banner image: modified screenshot from SellanApp website

Lorenz van Gool
Lorenz is co-editor-in-chief of StartupJuncture. As a freelance editor and journalist, he writes about startups, innovation and (e)-business. Loves to report from conferences. Really likes cleantech and journalism startups. You can ask him anything about dinosaurs. Twitter: @lorenzroman
  1. Sieuwert van Otterloo says:

    In case people are interested in the exact Dutch legal terms: SellanAppp, as far as I know, is in “surseance van betaling”. This is a voluntary step by a company to get extra time to sort out affairs. According to wikipedia most surseances end with a bankruptcy. In the case of SellanApp there are however significant assets in the company, including the 30+ apps already made and published in the app store so there is some hope that sellanapp can return to service. [see http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surseance_van_betaling ]

    As a shareholder I would prefer the phrase “SellanApp was forced by the market circumstances to file for bankruptcy protection”. Shareholders cannot force a bankruptcy if everything is going well. (disclosure note: my company is minority investor in sellanapp)

  2. Anon says:

    This was doomed to happen. SellAnApp never generated any revenue, neither did the company have a any filters that would ensure the apps to be successful (or keep the goals that the “producers” forecasted).

  3. Brin says:

    I agreed with Anon, SellAnApp focused too much on app development and didn’t pay attention to marketing and promotion, so apps are not being properly promoted. I noticed that the advertising companies they used didn’t even logon for over a year, indicating these companies were not really interested in SellAnApp. I felt that the management team is lacking of managing a crowdfunding platform, they were overwhelmed with day-to-day operation. I don’t know if they have done any research on app trends, users profile and country specifics etc., to help them in steering their afford in app support. There are now many type of crowdfunding platforms, we yet to see a reliable one that will strive like Kickstarter ot Indiegogo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Read on