Once promising Australia-based streaming startup Guvera has joined Rdio, Beats Music, MixRadio and Last.fm in the digital music dustbin. Nearly a year after the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) blocked the company’s bid to go public, which in turn led to the exit of co-founder Darren Herft as CEO, the company has quietly shuttered operations. According to a note to shareholders acquired by the Australian Financial Review, Herft said fellow co-founder Claes Loberg and non-executive director Steven Porch were out of the picture and asked for volunteers to help him “rebuild our company.”
Loberg replaced Herft as CEO last July and said he would focus on top markets India and Indonesia, as well as work on expanding into China. At the time, the company had just trimmed the amount of markets where it operated to five, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Australia. At its height, the service was up and running in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Mexico, Singapore and the United States, among other territories.
Herft, Loberg and Brad Christiansen founded Guvera in 2008 and launched two years later as an MP3 site, later evolving into a traditional streaming service (i.e. fully licensed with the majors) with both ad-based and premium tiers. Over the years it had raised $180 million from several thousand investors and at its height boasted 17 million users.
But problems have mounted over the past few years. According to a prospectus published in June 2016, the company lost $81 million in 2015. That same month the company’s $80 million IPO was rejected by the ASX and it placed two of its subsidiaries, Guvera Australia and Guv Services, both of which focused on international markets, under administration. Later, a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) was established that required the company to pay $180,000 a month to creditors.
According to Herft’s letter to shareholders, the company will look into selling or commercializing some of its “valuable” intellectual properties in an attempt to get back on its feet. Until then, Guvera is long gone — its social accounts went dark months ago and its website has been replaced with a nearly blank screen.