Esports social media network Juked will end operations in the coming weeks following a breakdown in negotiations with potential acquirers, CEO Ben Goldhaber has announced.
The company had initially kept some of its key services online after it found a potential acquirer, but Goldhaber revealed that the deal had been pulled following the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX last week.
Goldhaber expanded on the reasoning behind Juked’s eventual demise on his personal blog, saying that while he had high expectations for the app, the investment environment had become more hostile to esports startups in recent years, which had made fundraising more complex for his small team.
The company first announced it was in trouble in late September when its management team admitted that their second attempt at crowdfunding investment had created an insufficient runway to secure more investors.
The eventual sum of $100,000 (~£84,000) in crowdfunded money was a quarter of what the company believed it needed, and its financial dire straits led to the beginning of a search for an institutional investor to save the company.
In mid-October, the company’s outlook was more optimistic. Goldhaber released another blog post announcing that negotiations had begun with an acquirer who could keep the app running. The announcement came while large esports companies continued layoffs, and worldwide inflation continued to rise.
Now, Goldhaber has announced that negotiations — with an unnamed company in the Web3 space — were ‘no longer viable’ in light of the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
FTX went from the world’s second largest crypto exchange to filing for bankruptcy within a matter of days, leading to FURIA and TSM suspending or cancelling their partnership deals amid a broader nosedive that has reverberated across the crypto market.
Goldhaber pledged to keep Juked’s Discord server running to ‘continue the spirit of Juked’, and will take time off before announcing his next endeavour.
Closing his blog, he said: “We had high hopes that Juked could become the destination where esports fans go to follow, enjoy and talk about the games they love.
“We had high hopes that by removing barriers to entry and toxicity, we could help esports itself flourish. Chris and I felt like we were so close to something truly special… I just wish we could have kept going a little bit longer. We’ll get ’em next time.
“While we’ve fallen short of that dream, building Juked and seeing our community flourish has been the highlight of my professional career. This journey has been the most insane learning experience I could ever imagine and allowed me to meet and become friends with so many people I never could have before.”