Designer goes after mobile startup over alleged non-payment

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UK/US mobile social networking startup Next2Friends has run into problems with a dispute concerning a supplier to the US company it works with on the service.

Elements of the site’s web design and development work is outsourced to a company called Genetibase, a company owned and controlled by two of the US-based co-founders of Next2Friends. Genetibase sub-contracted design work from well-known US designer Nic La but La is now preparing legal action against the firm for, he alleges, not receiving “the full payment as promised” for work completed.

On his blog he writes:

Hello everyone, I just wanted to announce that I no longer work on the project Next2Friends as of May 2008. As a matter of fact, I’m preparing a legal action against Anthony Nystrom of Genetibase, one of the founders of Next2Friends. Some of you may already know, I started working for Anthony on the project Next2Friends in September 2007. As of today, I have not received the full payment as promised. In the past months (almost a year), Anthony had made many promises to make the full payment but consistently failed to fullfil his promises. Therefore, I’m preparing to take legal actions to collect the outstanding payment.

In response, Roy Shelton, Co-founder and CEO of Next2Friends denied the issue would affect, or was related to, Next2Friends. He told me vie email. “I believe Nic La , like many other resources contracted with Genetibase and certainly not direct with Next2Friends Limited. I was not aware of the dispute until this morning. I feel it is always unfortunate when payment disputes occur within a companies’ sub contractor community, unfortunately this is beyond Next2Friends Limited control.”

  • gwaller

    Its clear that Nic La has been involved with Next2Friends- smart site design and cool CSS work. Pity Nystrom and La cannot work things out privately rather than creating a public mud slinging match- reading Nic’s blog there is certainly two sides to this story.

  • Chris Smith


  • Hash

    I have been working with Genetibase & Next2friends for more then 4 years now. There has never been a single instance where I have not been paid, although there have been times I have underperformed or not delivered on time but still got the payments on time.

  • Stefano

    I have been working with Anthony from more 2 years. I never had problems. I received all payments for all works that I did, without delay times. He is a great professional person.

  • Alex Muir

    The lesson for sub-contractors is to know exactly whom your contract is with. In an uncertain business climate, you want to be sure that you are working for someone who has the resources to pay, either willingly or after you have been to court.

    It is also important to include a ‘retention of title’ clause, whereby you retain the rights to your work until you have been paid in full. This may seem overly formal when faced with a new, exciting contract, but I see a number of designers or developers who find themselves out of pocket, while their work continues to be used.

  • not spamming to promote my ego

    is this news worthy ?
    what’s the story here.
    Slow news day ?

  • Mike Hansel

    Next2noone likes or uses the site so I guess its to do with that, bit of a flop TBH. Maybe the idea was ok but just seems to have missed getting any traction with users. If they are financially ok because of investment that is fine but medium to long term its not sustainable IMO.

  • Manoj Ranaweera

    Mike, I cannot believe you published this story. These types of disputes happen everyday. Surely you are not running out of stories to blog, are you?

    Best regards, Manoj

  • Mike Butcher

    Manoj – A) I’m just reporting what’s happening, nothing more nothing less – got a problem with that? b) it’ actually rare that these disputes go public, hence the post.

  • Jonas

    I have used Next2Friends since it was first lauched and love the site. Great people, great technology and a growing following.

    These guys are in a tough market and doing OK- look at the BlackBerry release, then the CEA nomination and I now hear about them white labelling- Sounds to me these guys are keeping ahead of Flixwagon and QIK.

    Every company has disputes and disgruntled suppliers/ staff, etc from time to time- this is nothing new! Pity Nic La doesnt have anything better to do these days.

  • Mike Hansel

    As we speak the sites down as well, so maybe there is some milage in this story?

    Or just cant cope with 12K hits a day?

  • chinawhite

    News? WTF? Are you a pid stooge or have an axe to grind??

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