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US medical platform ZocDoc is demanding that SA entrepreneur Eran Eyal — who faces fraud charges in the US — immediately stop claiming that the billion-dollar company is an investor in his startup Shopin. Eyal today however denied that he had misrepresented the medical platform.
Eyal (pictured above) was charged in August by the New York Attorney General 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.
He is due to appear in court this Wednesday (24 October).
In a lawyer’s letter dated 12 October and sent to Eyal, a copy of which Ventureburn has seen, Zocdoc — which was valued at $1.8-billion in 2015 according to a Wall Street Journal article at the time — says Eyal falsely claims that the company is an investor of his startup Shopin.
In the lawyer’s letter Zocdoc’s attorney Katherine Gardner of Gunderson Dettmer, points to a slide in a pitchdeck (see screengrab below) that appears in a 23 March 2018 interview with Naomi Brockwell (see at 11.04 minutes and below screenshot and video).
Zocdoc demands Eran Eyal stop misrepresenting medical platform as investor in Shopin
In the slide, ZocDoc is listed as an investor in Shopin, alongside investors from Google, Deep Fork Capital, Outbound Ventures and the Seed Invest Venture Fund.
In the lawyer’s letter, Eyal is requested to “(i) immediately remove the Zocdoc name and Zocdoc mark from the visual and all materials under your control that imply an association between Zocdoc and Shopin, (ii) cease and desist from referencing any affiliation or business or investor relationship between Zocdoc and Shopin and (iii) certify to us, in a signed writing, within the next ten (10) days that you have complied with, and will continue to comply with, the requests set forth in this letter.”
In an email to Ventureburn last month, Jessica Aptman VP of communications at ZocDoc states that “Zocdoc.Inc. is neither an investor in Shopin nor affiliated in any way with Shopin or its team”.
However, in response to request for comment, Eyal told Ventureburn today via Facebook Messenger that he “never misrepresented anything”, adding that the tech site is “chasing ghosts”.
He pointed out that the slide in question referred to “investors from Zocdoc”, adding that Passo — Shopin’s forerunner, where Eyal was a director — had a senior Zocdoc investor.
It is understood that Passo’s assets were subsequently transferred to the new company, Shopin, when the former was shut down.
It is not certain whether Eyal has responded or not to Zocdoc as requested (he did not respond to a question on this asked by Ventureburn).
Ventureburn attempted to get comment various times over the last week from Deep Fork Capital, Outbound Ventures and the Seed Invest Venture Fund. However, only ZocDoc has so far responded.
This is a developing story.
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Featured image: Shopin co-CEO Eran Eyal (Facebook)