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UPDATE: Akimbo Skeleton Crew Looking for a Buyer

As we confirmed earlier this morning, Akimbo has laid off most of its staff and closed operations. We’ve now learned the company is maintaining a skeleton crew to keep the services up and running as it looks to find a buyer.

I spoke this morning with Akimbo CFO Peter Chantel, who provided more details on the shutdown. “The board has decided that it would be better for the company to look for an M&A partner for Akimbo and Akimbo services and solutions,” he told me.

The company had raised $4 million earlier this year from existing investors, but Chantel said the company was looking to raise $8 to 10 million to become cash positive with its new white-label strategy. Unforuntaely, “there wasn’t enough runway to execute the plan,” he said.

CEO Thomas Frank resigned after what we heard were big problems that erupted between him and the board. Chantel is the only executive left at the company, though he declined to specify how many other staff remain.

The decision was made this week, and 14 people were laid off yesterday. According to Chantel, Akimbo’s video services for Homezone and CenturyTel are still operating. We have calls out to both companies to confirm.

We’ve also contacted MavTV, which was a launch (and the only) customer for Akimbo’s white-label service. Chantel said Akimbo’s white-label service was still being used by MavTV — we have a call in to them as well to confirm.

Chantel said up until the layoffs management was holding weekly meetings with employees to keep them abreast of what was happening with the company. “This wasn’t a shocking surprise to anyone,” Chantel said. “If anyone says otherwise, that’s not true.”

12 Responses to “UPDATE: Akimbo Skeleton Crew Looking for a Buyer”

  1. You need to know your audience first, above anything else, and then it’s a simple thing to give them what they want.

    Akimbo never knew an audience.

    The Business Channel was renting business training videos online to companies worldwide in 2001, and we watched Akimbo and Movielink and others launch with super hype in hopes that an audience would find them.

    We were amazed they could spend so much money. It doesn’t cost that much to create the business when you have an audience.

    We also could not believe it when the “smart” venture captial money poured in to clumsy business models.

    I have lost a lot of respect for venture capital’s intelligence. They just gamble.

    You always start with the audience.

  2. no doi

    Nice scoop Chris. It was only a matter of time. That was one of the single worst business models I had ever seen, I met with that company many times throughout the years, and they NEVER had a good plan.

    When they first launched they had more crappy Turkish content than decent stuff — that is how terribly desperate their content acquisition was. Oh wait, they did get Rocketboom! haha, wow, can I please pay $300 for a box to download Rocketboom’s 3 minute show as opposed to watching on my computer? no offense to RB, its a good show, but it took more time to get it to work on Akimbo than 3 minutes.

    And it wasn’t like anyone was buying set top boxes at the time.. Tivo still had to have ONE profitable quarter, so why did they think they could sell crappy boxes for $300? Plus they had a monthly fee. Wow.

    Investors deserve to take a hit for this one. the second worst company ever created next to zocdoc