Facebook challenger MyCube ends operations

[UPDATE] Singapore-based company has liquidated its business just over a year after it raised more than US$8 million in funds from Black Ocean Group and other investors. Founder Johan Stael von Holstein asserts company did not fail due to "a misconception of market trends" though.

SINGAPORE--MyCube, a locally-based company which touted its "social exchange" network as a way for users to reclaim ownership of their digital content, has filed for voluntary liquidation.

According to a Aug. 15 notice it placed in local broadsheet The Business Times, MyCube.com passed a Special Resolution during its Extraordinary General Meeting to wind up operations according to Section 296 of the Companies Act (Chapter 50).

It also appointed Yit Chee Wah of FTI Consulting to be the company's liquidator, a move which was passed as an Ordinary Resolution, the notice added. No other details were disclosed as to why it decided to wind up its operations.

The company's Web site, www.mycube.com, appears to be taken down and no one answered the phone when ZDNet Asia called the office number. Messages sent to Marcela Villalpando, marketing and communications executive, and Todd Kurie, the former vice president of marketing and partnerships, via LinkedIn were also unanswered.

Founder Johan Stael von Holstein--who stepped down as the CEO last August--did not shed light on why the company was shuttered. He did say the original ideas of MyCube were sound and the industry will head toward, though.

"I am still fundamentally convinced the original ideas of MyCube are exactly where the industry needs to go and where it will see itself ending up. I just think it is important to state the company did not fail due to a misconception of market trends," von Holstein told ZDNet Asia in his e-mail.

The winding up of the company comes a year after it had raised over US$8 million in funds in May 2011, led by Black Ocean Group, a digital media company that invests in tech companies.

MyCube was developing what it touted as the world's first "social exchange", described as a next-generation social network which would give individuals full privacy, ownership and control of their digital lives and enable them to connect and share with others on their own terms.

According to tech news site SGEntrepreneurs.com, the investment by Black Ocean Group gave it majority ownership and led to a reshuffle among key management executives. von Holstein stepped down as CEO but remained the company's ambassador. Its general counsel Robert Tobias became the interim CEO while a replacement was sought, noted the report posted on Aug. 10, 2011.

The company subsequently issued another statement last September stating von Holstein had no ongoing role with the company and will not be serving as its ambassador as previously announced.

The outspoken founder previously declared regardless of whether MyCube would eventually be launched, he was " absolutely sure Facebook is dead " due to its stance on privacy. "[Zuckerberg] is one of the richest guys in the world," he said. "Do you think he's going to put on Facebook where he lives and when he's out driving? People [are going to revolt] for a thousand different reasons. The [monetary] values he is stealing off individuals that are not his--that monetization needs to be given back to these individuals."

MyCube and von Holstein had been featured by Fast Company and Gizmodo Australia previously.

MyCube's liquidation likely is still ongoing as its business status on Singapore's Accounting and Corporate Regularity Authority (Acra) Web site remains "live". Acra is the regulator of business entities in the country.