The co-founders of video site Metacafe, Arik Czerniak and Ofer Adler, have left the company and cashed out their stakes for a relative pittance: $5 million ($2.5m apiece), according TechCrunch. Both had long since left day-to-day management of the video site; Czerniak stepped down as CEO in February 2007 and Adler was an investor and advisor.
The two owned 10% of the company, implying a $50 million valuation, which has got to really disappoint the investors who’ve sunk more than $45 million into the company so far. Back in 2006, MetaCafe was a couple of pen strokes away from a deal with Yahoo, reportedly for something in the $200 to $300 million range; management changes at Yahoo (Sue Decker up, Dan Rosensweig out) scuttled the deal.
Metacafe confirmed the departures but declined to comment beyond a statement: “This matter is personal and private to the individuals, but we appreciate Arik’s contributions as the founding CEO and Ofer’s early support as an investor. We are glad we came to an amicable parting, with the support of our existing investors, the Metacafe team, and founder and Chief Product Officer Eyal Hertzog.”
Outside of YouTube and the big portals, Metacafe is the biggest purveyor of the kind of silly user-generated shorts that pervade the Web and are hard to sell to advertiseres. In March, it was the 13th-largest video site, according to Nielsen. The site served nearly 4 million unique viewers in March, according to Nielsen’s Video Census, a 6.5% decrease from February. YouTube had 69.6 million unique viewers in the same month.
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