Rich Lister-backed e-commerce startup Alphatise collapses

A high-profile Australian e-commerce startup that gained notoriety by hijacking the iPhone 6 launch in Australia and offering the “world’s best” internship, has collapsed into voluntary administration.


Alphatise, whose shareholders include Rich Lister and Western Australia-based technology entrepreneur Zhenya Tsvetnenko, appointed Deloitte as administrators of the company on March 5.


Vaughan Strawbridge, Deloitte restructuring services partner, confirmed the appointment to SmartCompany late Friday afternoon.


“It’s still very early days as far as our appointment is concerned,” says Strawbridge.


“We are continuing to trade the business while we are assessing options around recapitalising the business.”


The first meeting of creditors will take place on March 16 in Sydney.


SmartCompany understands a number of Alphatise shareholders have concerns about the leadership of the company.


Alphatise allows consumers to request a product they want to buy and say how much they’re willing to pay for it. The company then gives retailers the opportunity to match that deal.


Adam Schwab, founder of e-commerce player Aussie Commerce, last week criticised the Alphatise model in a piece written for SmartCompany’s sister website Crikey.


“What isn’t explained is why a distributor or retailer would bother with such a confusing platform, or how the retailer and Alphatise are both able to make a satisfactory margin on the sale,” Schwab said.


The Sydney-based business has previously raised $3 million and co-founder and chief executive Paul Pearson previously told SmartCompany Alphatise was planning another $12 million capital raise by the end of 2014.


“We have had expressions of interest from a lot of venture capital firms out of Silicon Valley and locally as well,” Pearson previously said.


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