Adelaide-based start-up NewsAlerts.com.au will shut down
all services on 2 February following the signing of a mysterious
deal with Wotif.com-backed wotnews.com.au.
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
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
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
EcoLivingScene.com.au 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 NewsAlerts.com.au I'm sad to
see the service go, and will be investigating alternatives,
including Wotnews.com.au. 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.