Exit This Way

Facebook Cofounder Chris Hughes Sold Jumo for $62K and Five MacBook Pros

Chris Hughes

Back in August, Fast Company reported that Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes had sold his startup Jumo, a social network to connect people to nonprofits, to GOOD, the magazine publisher and digital media platform, for undisclosed terms.

Betabeat reported the terms were for $0 and a graceful exit.

Our story said Mr. Hughes’s company was a flop, and that the sale was more of a face-saving effort than a true acquisition. “Rather than folding the grant-funded, well-meaning and inordinately high-profile startup and admitting what would surely be a very public failure, he arranged a deal with an old friend,” we wrote at the time. Ben Goldhirsh, who went to boarding school with Mr. Hughes, is the CEO and owner of GOOD.

Betabeat has now obtained documents pertaining to the sale, which confirm every bit of our theory, except one. At the time, Mr. Hughes insisted the sale price was not $0, and he was right: The sale had not yet been approved by the state attorney general, a requirement because of its nonprofit status.

The sale was approved and the approval was filed in the Supreme Court of New York on December 30, 2011.

Jumo, a nonprofit corporation which raised more than $3.5 million in grant money from the Ford Foundation, the Omidyar Network and the Knight Foundation., among others, was not sold for $0. It was sold for $62,221, based on an appraisal of Jumo’s value by Morrison, Brown, Argiz and Farra. Read More

Seed Stage Slaughter

Jumo ‘Acquired’ for $0 and a Graceful Exit

chris hughes

UPDATE, March 13, 2012: The final acquisition price was not $0. It was $62,221. Original story follows.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has struggled with his ambitious solo start-up, the social network for activism Jumo, ever since its bumpy launch. Waning traffic and disinterested users were making it obvious that the site was not going to catch on, despite multiple redesigns; a tough pill to swallow for the wunderkind whose second act after Facebook, online strategy at the Obama presidential campaign, was another huge success story.

But Mr. Hughes found a solution: rather than folding the grant-funded, well-meaning and inordinately high-profile start-up and admitting what would surely be a very public failure, he arranged a deal with an old friend. GOOD, the publisher-turned-digital-media-platform with a focus on good design and social causes, announced today that it has acquired Jumo for undisclosed terms. But the “acquisition” is not quite the earth-shaker it was made out to be. Betabeat has learned the terms amounted to $0, a loose “advisory” role for Mr. Hughes at GOOD, and the opportunity for Jumo’s 16 employees to interview for the start-up’s new owner. Read More