shuts down

Adelaide-based start-up will shut down all services on 2 February following the signing of a mysterious deal with

Adelaide-based start-up will shut down all services on 2 February following the signing of a mysterious deal with


NewsAlerts is a free, advertising-supported service that sends its members an email whenever a company of interest issues a press release through the Australian Stock Exchange or is written about by a mainstream news source. It has competed with Wotnews for some time, although the latter provides a much wider service.

The start-up's managing director, Geoffrey Kwitko, bought the company from its founder Chris Were in mid-2007, and has been operating it since, quickly breaking even after bringing on advertising partners.

In communications with bootstrappr over the past several days, he couldn't provide much details about the wotnews deal, but said it was a "win-win arrangement" that allows the two start-ups to focus on their core strengths. "NewsAlerts members have been very warmly received over at Wotnews and I expect will be taken care of very well by the very talented Wotnews team," he said.

Kwitko is an energetic entrepreneur who is also closely involved with several other start-ups: internet marketing and web solutions firm Xentech Web Solutions, online green community and sharemarket discussion forum

In August 2008, he also founded The Startup Club Adelaide, a group of South Australian entrepreneurs which is already attracting a large number of members. Kwitko's company is also behind the upcoming BarCamp Adelaide conference on 21 February.

The start-up buzz has never been more positive, in my opinion

SA-based entrepreneur Geoffrey Kwitko

"In less than three months we went from three to over 170 passionate e-business owners, participating in our fortnightly social lunches and lecture nights," Kwitko said of The Startup Club. "The start-up buzz has never been more positive, in my opinion, for those with the natural passion to innovate, adapt and find positives in any situation."

Referring to the global financial crisis, Kwitko said he believed things had needed a shake-up for a long time.

"Although I feel for those negatively affected, it's a test of character to step up rather than be stepped on," he said. "The financial crisis encourages you to question and change everything that's been holding you back all along. In the long run, you're better off for being forced to dig deep and be better."

As a long-time user of I'm sad to see the service go, and will be investigating alternatives, including NewsAlerts was a great and highly simplistic service that just got the job done without a lot of fuss or complexity. Wotnews takes a bit more getting used to, and I'm not sure I want all of its features.

While I would like to see more details of the deal between the pair released, it doesn't look as though anybody is really losing out by the service closing, with Wotnews providing a larger offering and Kwitko's energies somewhat released to focus elsewhere.

I wholeheartedly back the entrepreneur's comments regarding the financial crisis. As start-up consultant Mick Liubinskas said yesterday, failure is a fact of the start-up industry, and it had better get used to it. I'd even go one step further and say it's a fact of all industries; it's not easy building a business, and tough times are a certainty.

It's those that rise when learning from their mistakes, grow mentally tougher and try again that will succeed.