PlayUp app was claimed as a world first in mobile-based, sport-focused social media
After burning through a reported A$75 million in investment capital, an Australian venture hailed as a world first in mobile-based, sport-focused social media is on the brink of closure, Australian weekend media reports suggest.
The PlayUp venture attracted investments from leading figures in Australian politics, business and sport but has run into difficulties and now faces a judicial closure action by disgruntled former employees, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Founded in 2006 as a possible online gambling app, PlayUp is now in trouble, according to filings with the Victorian Supreme Court by six former employees who are seeking the wind up of operating firm Revo, claiming they're owed A$500,000 in unpaid wages and pensions. The six have been joined by a shareholder, Ben Smith.
"Ostensibly, at least in one of its iterations, the PlayUp product was an app that allowed users to buy content from sports organisations, media and sports statistics firms, and athletes. An interactive mobile chat feature was to allow "fans to engage with friends and content around live sports," the Sydney Morning Herald reports, adding that there has been speculation that PlayUp was really intended as a gambling enterprise, and that lucrative betting markets in Asia and Europe, including China, were to be its money spinner.
That has been denied by Revo, the operating company for PlayUp, which has insisted that the product was not a gambling vehicle, but a social networking platform for sports fans.
In 2014-15 the Revo board saw a number of high profile director resignations, and some shareholders sold off their interests amid what the newspaper terms was "financial turmoil in the company."
Although PlayUp's chief executive claimed the business had broken even in 2014, shareholders complained that they had not received 2014-2015 financials, and less than a year later the head office had been shuttered, its websites closed, its telephone numbers were unresponsive and the PlayUp app is allegedly non-functional.
PlayUp also faced difficulties in Europe, where its subsidiary there was judicially wound up following an application from former CEO Sophie Neary in 2014 after PlayUp defaulted on payments due to her.
The Herald reports that there have also been other complaints of unpaid wages and an abandoned action by the Victorian Commission of State Revenue.
Company officials have so far declined to comment on the situation.
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