Introduced in late 2017, during the cryptocurrency boom, the French Fintech startup Hush was going to revolutionize banking. Less than a year later, the fabulous fundraising that was expected didn’t take place. Hush is now nothing more than an empty shell and its founder has disappeared.
Yet again, this success-story-to-be ends dramatically. In the beginning, Hush had it all. This young Fintech company – launched late 2017 – had great ambitions. It was to « create a new mobile bank, community-driven, participatory, compatible with cryptocurrencies ».
Before the expected launch date, late 2018, Hush had great ambitions. To raise 20 million Euros with an ICO (Initial Coin Offering), a cryptocurrency fundraising (ether), get a banking license and make friends with Mastercard.
But as soon as April 2018, things started to go foul for the self-proclaimed French Tech gem. In a Medium post, the startup had announced raising a scarce 540,000€, as well as 245 ether (roughly 50,000€). That’s 3% of the goal.
A weak fundraising, a founder who disappears
Late May, the contract allowing a Luxembourg domiciliation ended. It was not renewed. Hush still doesn’t have a banking license, Mastercard has never heard of it and the launch keeps being postponed.
In July, partners did receive the tokens related to their investment. These tokens are meant to be used in the upcoming Hush ecosystem. But will there ever be such an ecosystem?
Because the founder of Hush and CEO Eric Carpentier has disappeared. His last message on the group’s Telegram account dates back to July 6th. He vanished from LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. All three accounts were terminated.
Big debts and disturbing messages from Hush representatives
Worse: he has given no news to the startup’s investors and lenders. Some of them have large bills standing by. Especially the companies involved in the ICO like Kramer Levin and Chaineum. The unpaided bill to the latter adds up to 150,000€.
Despite of all this, the Hush spokesmen tries to be reassuring – and failing at it. « Eric is now taking the time to work on his projects, away from the pressure of social networks. We have decided not to justify this course of action. We work in silence » says Max Massat, the bank’s Community Driver.
Eric Charpentier is not a newbie when it comes to failing startups
This time, it may not only be going downhill. It could be an actual con. It wouldn’t be Eric Charpentier’s first fraudulous activity. He founded Morning in 2013. It was a startup from Toulouse specializing in payment solutions between private individuals. It also offered funding pots and ambitioned to become, guess what, an online bank!
But late 2016, the masks came off. The Prudential Control Authority (ACPR) uncovered a financial wrongdoing by Eric Charpentier. He had used his clients’ money to finance a new venture, thus triggering a conflict with Morning’s main shareholder: MAIF.
Eric Charpentier was thrown out of Morning which was bought off by Leclerc to avoid bankruptcy and loss for the 75,000 clients.
Let’s just say the future looks dim for Hush. The project might have been solid at the beginning but, to say the least, oversized.
It would be legitimate to expect a quick regulation of ICO so to avoid the reenactment of such a debacle.