Xcellery for sale--on eBay

Want to get in on the Web 2.0 action? Head to eBay and pick up this business.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Xcellery, a service that lets users collaborate on Microsoft Excel files in near-real-time, is for sale now on eBay. I covered the service in March.

I heard about the sale from the creator of the service, Reto Laemmler. He wrote to me, "There are no plans to shut down Xcellery, and in case of an acquisition [co-founder] Heng-yi and I will try to stay on board." However, the eBay listing says, "Xcellery is for sale because the founder team is focusing on other projects and cannot spend enough time on it anymore."

As of this writing, the bidding is at $202.50, and the reserve price has not yet been met. (Laemmler can't disclose what the reserve price is.)

My take: Going to eBay to sell a technology company with 10,000 (claimed) users, including some who pay for the service, is not a comprehensive business plan. A Web business is not a used car. It's not just code. It's people. It's customers. As a Web user, the idea worries me deeply. I wouldn't want to put any of my personal or business data on a Web service if I thought the founders would put access to that information up for sale on eBay. I'm not Pez, and I don't want the keys to my data sold like it is. Laemmler told me he'll aggressively reach out to his customers and give them the capability to remove their data before the company assets are handed over. But still.

I love it that people can start Web services these days with no outside money. And I think it's great the entrepreneurs can maybe make a buck from their hard work without paying the overhead of getting other people involved. But looking at the trend to unload businesses on eBay, I have to say that it makes me see more clearly the value of outside investment--and oversight--on Web businesses.

Other services that have been hocked on eBay include: Kiko, HuckABuck, and Trezr.

Laemmler is moving back to his native Switzerland and plans to build another Web collaboration company.