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When discount shopping app Hukkster abruptly shut down on August 1, there was no immediate reason given for the closure. Co-founders Erica Bell and Katie Finnegan issued a short statement to Racked at the time, saying, "We are disappointed as well but so proud of our team and what we've built over the last two years. We are so thankful to our loyal Hukksters for allowing us to make our vision into a reality."
Buzzfeed uncovered more of the behind-the-scenes story today and it's filled with drama surrounding Hukkster's main investors, the infamous Winklevoss twins.
The company had run into money problems that ended up leaving Bell and Finnegan with two options: find a buyer for Hukkster or call it quits on the whole operation. They found one in Marc Lore, the former CEO of Diapers.com. His offer was very low ($1.5 million) for what the company was worth, but it was the only offer on the table and the founders were prepared to take the deal to save their company, employees and users.
But right before the deal closed, the Winklevoss twins began demanding that all of Hukkster's other investors (about 20) should benefit from the sale. Typically, the money made off the sale would go directly to Hukkster's debtholders before the investors made any profits.
The debtholders had already agreed to share in the proceeds of the sale, but the Winklevoss twins didn't back down on their demands for the other investors to be paid as well. An anonymous source told Buzzfeed that many of the other investors were personal friends of the twins.
In short, the debtors didn't want to concede proceeds to the investors and the Winklevoss twins didn't want to let the deal go through without the investors getting paid, so the entire deal was scrapped and Hukkster was killed.
· Exclusive: A Standoff Between The Winklevoss Twins And Debtholders Killed Hukkster [Buzzfeed]
· Buzzy Shopping Startup Hukkster Kicks the Bucket [Racked]
· What the Hukkster Team Wears to Work [Racked]