Accoona Co-Founder Has Colorful History

    August 8, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Armand Rousso’s past and a deeper look at Accoona’s business has observers wondering if the company will be able to conduct a planned IPO.

Accoona Co-Founder Has Colorful History
Accoona Co-Founder Has Colorful History

Is Accoona a search company or an e-commerce company. Though they present themselves as a search firm, it’s an active e-commerce side that provides virtually all of Accoona’s revenue.

“‘Investors should run away screaming,’ writes Henry Blodget – and he knows a thing or two about investors running away screaming,” said Valleywag editor Owen Thomas of Blodget’s take on Accoona. Blodget famously talked up tech stocks while with Merrill Lynch before the first dot-com bubble burst, and was later found to be trashing the same stocks privately.

That history probably makes Blodget more qualified than anyone to comment on Accoona:

Accoona describes itself as being in three businesses: lead-gen, search, and e-commerce. The first two businesses are listed first, presumably because they’re sexier, but make no mistake: Accoona is an e-commerce company: 97.5% of revenue in Q1 came from selling consumer electronics and home appliances (an awful business without massive scale, which Accoona lacks).

Accoona isn’t making money on that e-commerce, either, as Blodget cited an awful gross margin of less than 10 percent for that business.

Wilson proceeded to note a couple of legal episodes involving Rousso. In France and the US, Rousso was convicted of securities fraud (France) and pleaded guilty to a pair of felony charges while being banned from the securities industry (US).

“There’s a lot more sordid reading in the filing,” VC Ratings said of Accoona’s S-1 filing for the IPO. “But, it all points to an offering that should never see the light of the public markets.”

Buyer beware.