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VC-backed cryptocurrency startup Zwoop has gone into administration.
According to an exclusive report by The Telegraph’s James Cook, the company’s board of directors filed for administration at the end of November last year.
As a result, employees and suppliers from all over the world have been left with unpaid wages and bills, according to sources.
Zwoop, founded by Italian entrepreneur Alessandro Gadotti, raised $13 million from Robert Friedland, an American-Canadian billionaire and mining tycoon. Friedland is also the founder of Ivanhoe Capital Corporation (a key stakeholder in Zwoop) and Ivanhoe Mines, a Canadian public company listed on the New York NASDAQ and Toronto stock exchanges.
According to its LinkedIn page, Zwoop was developing a “revolutionary, e-commerce assistant that will transform how the world shops online.” It sought to leverage blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, deep machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing to help consumers find the best possible prices.
The company reportedly employed 56 people spread out across London, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
According to sources, the startup’s collapse is thought to have resulted in unpaid bills totaling several hundred thousands pounds.
Specifically, one London-based marketing agency is thought to be owed $53,858 (£42,000), while a public relations firm has been left with an unpaid bill of $38,470 (£30,000).
A canceled ICO
Like many startups in the cryptocurrency space, Zwoop announced plans to launch an initial coin offering (ICO) in early August. At the time, the company said in a tweet that the pre-sale would be going live on August 28th with the public sale scheduled to take place on September 25th.
A week before the ICO was due to go public, on September 18th, Zwoop announced the sale was “currently suspended until further notice due to updated legal opinion”, seemingly providing further details in a now-defunct blog post.