Stakeholders Prepare to Move Forward into Next Phase with $1B+ Asset Sale
— Joshua Lawton
AUSTIN, TEXAS, USA, December 28, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — In a significant turn of events, Andrew Ryan, the founder of ASTRALABS, parent company of the Newchip Accelerator, has been cleared of allegations following a comprehensive investigation by the courts and independent agencies. This development marks a crucial moment for Ryan and ASTRALABS, which have faced scrutiny since the company was converted into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy from a voluntary Chapter 11 debt re-organization in May.
ASTRALABS bankruptcy unfolded at a critical moment mere weeks after the collapse of SVB Bank. Notably, as Carta reports, ASTRALABS was one of the 543 startups that filed for bankruptcy following the closure of SVB. Anonymous allegations in the tabloid media, which centered on unethical practices and mismanagement, along with claims of harassment, cast a shadow over both ASTRALABS and Newchip at the time of the bankruptcy. This development sparked widespread concern among stakeholders and resonated throughout the broader tech community.
However, investigations conducted by independent third parties, including the EEOC and federal courts, have concluded that the allegations against Ryan and his companies were unfounded. These investigations involved meticulous examination and review of company practices, records, policies, and employee interviews; the exonerating findings of which are now a source of relief for Ryan, his team, and investors.
“Throughout this challenging period, our focus never wavered from our commitment to the truth, integrity, and transparency in everything we built,” said Ryan. “This vindication is not just a personal relief but a reaffirmation of our core values and the ethical standards we upheld to help as many companies as we could during the pandemic.”
In response to the allegations, executives at ASTRALABS and Newchip demonstrated their dedication to transparency and ethical conduct by fully cooperating with investigative authorities over several months after the bankruptcy. To further facilitate this process with potential clients, a court-appointed trustee proactively reached out to all founders and co-founders associated with associated client startups and portfolio companies. This outreach involved sending thousands of letters and emails over several months until the claim deadline, inviting them to file claims.
The response to this initiative was telling. The refund request rate among Newchip’s extensive client base, as part of the court-managed claim process, was notably low – less than 10% of all client startups. This statistic is a strong indicator of the trust and satisfaction retained by the majority of their clients during the period from 2018 to 2022. This outcome not only reflects the confidence clients placed in Newchip but also underscores the company’s commitment to maintaining high standards of client service and integrity until emergent economic factors led to its closure in early 2023.
Under Ryan’s leadership, Newchip, initially a crowdfunding investment app, achieved significant success, including reaching the Top 100 Apps in the Apple App Store with hundreds of thousands of downloads. After the sale of its mobile app to KingsCrowd in 2019, the brand evolved into the Newchip Accelerator, with a goal of supporting startups with remote online accelerator programming after the closure of in-person accelerators during the COVID pandemic.
Joshua Lawton, an initial angel investor in the company, shared his perspective, “In my years of investing in startups, I’ve witnessed numerous founders who might have retreated in the face of similar challenges. Our prior CEO, Andrew Ryan, however, has remained unwaveringly committed to his shareholders and employees, all of whom have invested their utmost in the company and vision to help founders. He is now actively working with the court and Peak Technologies (https://www.peak-tech.com) to oversee the sale of ASTRALABS investments and equities portfolio, valued at over one billion USD, and distribute those returns to creditors and shareholders. This year has undoubtedly been challenging, but I am immensely proud of the employees, investors, and clients who have steadfastly supported and patiently awaited the resolution of this court process.”
Looking ahead, Ryan is enthusiastic about the upcoming sales of ASTRALABS investments and the launch of his new fund. Ryan stated, “I’m committed to investing in technologies that broaden humanity’s horizons, that accelerate global innovation, and that ultimately extend our reach to Mars and beyond.”
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