TechCrunch Europe has learnt that the startup, famously co-founded by Skype founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström, put its UK subsidiary into liquidation at the beginning of this month. The reasons that are given are not all too surprising: the liquidator says the company has “failed to sustain a significant share of the internet video industry and was unable to address this effectively through a re-positioning of its services.”
We’ve also learnt that the office furniture of Joost UK Limited, registered in England and Wales with number 05821718, has apparently already found its way to another startup, namely Songkick (also based in London).
The news of the closure of the wholly-owned UK subsidiary of Joost comes only a few months after the company underwent a number of serious changes, which included the ousting of former CEO Mike Volpi, significant lay-offs and a weak re-positioning of its core service offering. At this point, its future is more uncertain than it has ever been, and frankly I wish someone would just put the venture out of its misery by picking up the pieces or shutting it down altogether.
Update: more information from Paul Appleton, the liquidator:
Joost was incorporated in May 2008. It had circa 20 employees in the UK until July 2009, operating from Focus Point, Caledonian Road. Joost UK Limited was the UK trading company for the Joost Group and the latter operated Joost.com. The Joost Group suffered financial problems due to increased competition within that market and due to a failure to generate sufficient advertising revenues. When the Company entered into liquidation there were relatively few trade creditors as it had been supported by the Group. Users of Joost.com were unaffected financially by the closure of the company as the provision of its services was free.
The UK subsidiary is still listed on the Joost website, but the number that is listed is no longer in use and the e-mail address bounces (admittedly, so do the e-mail addresses for the other office locations). I was unsuccessful at gaining more information at Joost’s headquarters in The Netherlands, too: the person who picked up the phone was unable to answer any of my questions and referred me to the company’s press office in New York.
In a recent interview with former chairman and CEO Mike Volpi, PaidContent inquired about how Joost was shutting down after the last business turn-around. In his answer, Volpi didn’t mention the UK sub but said : “It’s going to be virtually all in New York, we are in the process of winding down the Dutch office.”
Looks like it’s going to be a slow, painful death for Joost indeed. Unless someone steps up and picks up whatever assets are still left on the table, of course.
(Hat tip to Alex Muir)