On November 5, 2017, in the wake of a high-profile marketing scandal, Alex Tapscott’s venture capital firm NextBlock Global announced that it will no longer go public, and instead plans to return capital to investors. “We have stumbled in our efforts to take our company public and we will work hard to rebuild the trust of those we have disappointed,” said the firm in a statement.
With a goal of raising 100 million Canadian dollars (in addition to the $20 million Canadian dollars it apparently received from institutional and high net worth investors in a private round), NextBlock Global intended to go public through a reverse-takeover of Nobelium Tech Corp., which is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. Underwriters included Canaccord Genuity – where Alex Tapscott previously worked as director of institutional equity sales – and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). Both have reportedly withdrawn as underwriters, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Last Wednesday, the house of cards came tumbling down for NextBlock as Forbes reported that the venture capital firm “falsely named four blockchain stars as advisors in an investor document.” Mired in the scheme were Kathryn Haun, a member of Coinbase’s board of directors and former US Department of Justice prosecutor; Vinny Lingham, CEO of Civic; Dmitry Buterin, founder of Wild Apricot and father of Vitalik Buterin; and Karen Gifford, special advisor for global regulatory affairs at Ripple and former counsel and officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
At this point, it’s unclear whether NextBlock Global’s decision to scrap its IPO came of its own accord or was precipitated by regulatory scrutiny.