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UPDATE: Ventureburn had earlier incorrectly reported that Shopin had not yet released a statement in response to Eran Eyal’s fraud charges, when it had indeed done so — on 28 August (see here), announcing that Jennifer Haggerty has been appointed interim CEO.
DocuSign founder Tom Gonser says he’s “shocked” that the SA entrepreneur whose $42.5-million Shopin initial coin offering (ICO) he was an adviser to is now facing fraud charges in the US. But Gonser says nothing on the recent ICO seems untoward.
The former Springleap founder Eran Eyal (pictured above) was charged with fraud last month relating to allegations that he misrepresented his company Springleap to investors.
Ten days after being charged (he was charged on 24 August) Eyal has yet to release a statement or respond to questions from Ventureburn.
Eyal has been charged with allegedly stealing $600,000 from investors by fraudulently soliciting investors to purchase convertible notes through false representations of his company, Springleap. If convicted of the top count charged, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Springleap’s Eran Eyal did not seem like a scammer to me. Everything I saw on Shopin seemed legit
According to charges, between 2014 and 2015, Eyal allegedly attracted investors to Springleap through a series of false representations about Springleaps’s management team, advisory board, creative professionals and client base. The US District Attorney emphasised in her statement last month that Eyal is innocent until proven guilty
On Friday Ventureburn asked Gonser — whose 15-year old company was valued at $3.1-billion in 2015 according to PitchBook — if he believes there was anything untoward — or even illegal — about the ICO that Shopin closed earlier this year.
Responding via LinkedIn, Gonser said only that he was “shocked”. “Eran did not seem like a scammer to me. Everything I saw on Shopin seemed legit,” he said.
Until Friday morning (SA time) Gonser was pictured in a video with Eyal on Shopin’s website, lending support to the SA entrepreneur’s ICO.
But both a video of Gonser as well as those of two other backers — US cryptocurrency advisor Brad Yasar and LDJ Capital’s David Drake (both of whom say in the videos that they were both investors in the ICO) — appear to have been removed from the website.
A list of Shopin’s team members that also appeared on the website on Friday morning, has also been removed from their website.
Ventureburn contacted various members from the team as well as Yasar and Drake, but none has responded by the time this article was published.
This a developing story.
Read more: Charges against Springleap founder not first time Eran Eyal’s in trouble with law [Updated]
Read more: Investor gatvol over losing R8.5m to Springleap through ‘misrepresentation’
Read more: Springleap charges: Are claims as world’s 7th most innovative firm a fabrication? [Updated]
Read more: SA entrepreneur Eran Eyal charged with fraud in the US over startup Springleap
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*Correction: Ventureburn had earlier incorrectly reported that Shopin had not yet released a statement (see here), when it had indeed released a statement on 28 August (see here), announcing that Jennifer Haggerty has been appointed interim CEO. We regret the error.
Featured image: Former Springleap founder Eran Eyal (via Facebook)