Up-e : down ?

Posté mer 17/01/2001 - 00:00
Par admin

In Sophia Antipolis, the start-up electronic stock exchange has hold the aspirations of a generation of new entrepreneurs. Today, its fate is going to be decided at the commercial Court.

Is it the end of Up-e that is going to be decided on Wednesday January 17th at the commercial Court with the finalization of a winding-up process ? Is the start-up stock exchange, strongly hit by the e-krach of April 2000, going to be able to avoid that disaster ? The people responsible for this company created and settled in Sophia Antipolis, assure that nothing has been decided yet. But the facts and the latest evolutions of the market make us think that Christophe Dupont, the founder and the principal share holder, has a very tight room for manoeuvre.Suspension of payments since late DecemberThus, a mass lay-off process has been opened late November. Because of the notices, there won't be any employees left early February (in the booming period, the company was composed of almost ten people). Olivier Mercoli, the chief executive, resigned mid-December and is now in Paris (but he will be in Grasse on Wednesday). Late December 2000, a new very negative sign : the company has suspended their payments. Everything seems to favour the winding-up, unless there is a last minute reversal of situation.What happen to Up-e is very symbolic of the new deal of the Net-economy. Founded in March 2000, the start-up has hold the aspirations of a whole generation of new entrepreneurs (see article 'Up-e.com: daughter of a start-up'). It aimed at getting in touch the project holders with the investors through a Web site. In the meantime it has created the Net-economy appointments. Every first Thursday of the month, it gathered together all of those who were attracted by Internet and the great changes caused by the NITC at the Sun City Café of Sophia Antipolis. These very convivial appointments in which everyone was 'networking', the company also organized them in Paris, in the same time and the same themes.A historical page of the new economyThe success, as far as notoriousness is concerned, has been immediate. Very mediatized at the national level, Up-e, in a booming period for start-ups, has seen plenty of projects flooding in. Within nine months of activity, the company has received around 4.000 ones. Investors were very interested in it as well. But, in term of efficiency, this was an obvious failure : not even one single fund raising has been done for start-up projects which some of them were interesting even if a lot of them were part of the 'nointerest.com' style.In the meantime, the e-krach of April had changed the deal and had make investors much more overcautious. An attempt has been done to find a new market with Up-merger which aimed at mergers and acquisitions. The principle was the same : getting in touch through the Web site. But the storm was howling on that field as well since the end of last year.Will Up-e, which did not succeed in raising fund to guarantee its own growth neither, be able to go on ? Is there any takeover possibility (the name of Pastor has been mentioned) ? Was the concept viable at the beginning ? Is it still viable today ? Is Up-e going to be the first big failure of the start-up phenomenon on the French Riviera ? Anyway, a page of the history of the French new economy risks to be turned at the Grasse commercial Court.

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