Goodbye PubSub

Forbes did a denouement of PubSub, the “prospective” search engine that has come apart at the seams. A public spat over ownership between PubSub founders Bob Wyman and Salim Ismail led to a proposed acquisition by KnowNow falling through. Now, Forbes says PubSub is too broke to even file for bankruptcy.

The PubSub-KnowNow deal was apparently so close to completion a few months ago, they had started telling the press about it. I did a pre-briefing call with the two companies, who at the time insisted it was a “merger.” The idea was that PubSub had the consumer product while KnowNow had enterprise chops. A couple days later, PR asked me to hold the story while “the lawyers figure things out.” What was really happening, it seems, was conflict between PubSub shareholders was killing the deal…and the company too.

Goodbye PubSub!

Update: Just found my notes from that interview. More details on the moot merger after the jump.

  • the idea to tie the knot had been circulating for 2 years
  • the combined companies were raising a new $7 million Series A, from Kleiner I think
  • Salim Ismail’s prior exit from PubSub was purportedly “completely unrelated” to the merger talks
  • a telling quote from Bob Wyman: “Our key weakness was we had great technology, but we didn’t have much in the way of management and UI — the face you need to show to the marketplace.”