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Guvera co-founder blames co-founder for firm’s collapse

By | Published on Tuesday 4 July 2017


The co-founder of failed streaming firm Guvera has seemingly blamed his former business partners for the crash of his digital venture, telling newspaper The Australian that the key lesson to take away from the firm’s collapse was “to choose your capital partners wisely”.

Claes Loberg co-founded the Guvera business with Darren Herft, who also headed up an investment vehicle called Amma Private Equity, which raised finance for the digital music start-up. Herft was CEO of Guvera until it was forced to abandon its bid to IPO on the Australian Securities Exchange last year.

He then stood down from his executive role at the business, with Loberg becoming CEO. Loberg then ran the streamlined Guvera until the firm finally ceased operations in May, when he left both the business and the company’s board. That left just Herft on the board, who now keeps saying that he thinks he can do something with the company’s IP.

Although it evolved its service proposition somewhat in the years after its launch in 2008 – ultimately moving into the subscription streaming game – Guvera always more actively pushed the ad-funded side of its ambitious business plan, reckoning that the digital music sector had yet to fully capitalise on the potential of ad income.

Despite his company crashing out of business, Loberg reckons that opportunity is still out there waiting to be tapped. Speaking for the first time since Guvera went offline in May, he told The Australian: “I worked for many years building on the initial vision. It was sidetracked a few times and for several reasons it didn’t work”.

However, he added, “the idea that the way advertising works is to be a curator rather than a disrupter … some other players such as Apple Music, YouTube and Spotify are just now starting to scratch in that direction. I’m sure a YouTube or Netflix will hit onto it and change the way we find anything from news to music, film and TV in the future. Maybe we were too early”.

Asked about what he’d learned from his failed digital music project – which followed previous successful tech and creative business ventures – Loberg said: “The most important [lesson] is to choose your capital partners wisely”.

Which seems to be a dig at Herft and Amma.

As previously reported, a government regulator is now looking into how Amma raised monies for Guvera from a large number of inexperienced investors, and whether the company breached rules designed to protect such investors.

Australian media also report that some of the 3000 people who lost money in the Guvera adventure might be considering class actions against the company or Amma. For his part, Herft insists everything was above board.