WEST PARIS, Maine — After two years of fundraising and development, a local man working to create the next big social network says he’s selling off the company.
For Dan Bru, a West Paris graphic designer and collectibles dealer, it wasn’t an easy decision. “I had to really put my ego in check and decide what was going to be the best course of action,” Bru said.
On Friday, he’ll be listing the company on eBay. Bru said he’s keeping 10 percent of the company for himself and 2 percent for his primary investor. His other investors are cashing out. The winner will get 88 percent of the company, along with a business plan, a site map, designs for the website’s layout and the company’s bank account with $10,000.
The West Paris graphic designer said he’s been busy with his new profession as a dealer of antiques and vintage art and collectibles. He hasn’t had time to raise money and develop the website, which would combine Facebook with other social sites like Etsy.com, an arts and crafts marketplace site, job search site Monster.com, auction site eBay and many others.
Bru said he’s hoping the buyer has more resources and better connections with which to get the project up and running. Developing the site was more difficult than he’d expected. “It really opened my eyes to how hard it is to get something like that off the ground.”
The auction will start at $50,000. Bru said that will weed out people who aren’t serious about building Planet My Town into something great.
He’s raised $20,000 for the project and, with help from a shareholder, has laid out a detailed plan for the business. “I thought we were on the right track,” Bru said. However, after an initial period of successful fundraising, the funding dried up.
Without connections, and living in West Paris, Bru said it was getting difficult to raise money. He said his lack of experience in Web development made some potential investors cautious.
“The disappointment gets to be a bit much.”
Last year, a Florida commodities broker offered him $2 million for complete ownership of the concept. Bru turned it down. Now he’s hoping he doesn’t regret that.
“If it comes to market, I’m convinced it has multi-billion dollar potential,” Bru said. A 10 percent share in a successful company could be worth far more than the $2 million he turned down.
“I’m still very optimistic, and I have faith that it’s all going to work out.”