Founder of PassivDom accuses Andrey Kolodyuk of extorting share in startup. Kolodyuk’s response
Maksym Herbut, a founder of PassivDom, wrote an op-ed called “Toxic investments in Ukraine. How to avoid a startup-destroying investor” where Gerbut alleges that AVentures managing partner Andrey Kolodyuk demanded 35% stake in the company and blackmailed him.
In his op-ed Gerbut claims that Kolodyuk was one of the first potential investors from Ukraine. According to the founder of PassivDom, Kolodyuk said he was ready to leave the fund, becoming part of the startup team:
“Our first contact with a toxic investor in Ukraine is with Andrey Kolodyuk, who said that he wants to quit his job in the fund and join us as a co-founder, but in reality he tried to get 35% stake in the company for advisory agreement consulting services. Andrey said that he kept his plans to co-found a Ukrainian startup in secret from his fund partners.”
Gerbut writes that when he realized that there would be no investment, and Kolodyuk wanted in for nothing, he bade farewell to him. After that, the founder of PassivDom writes, problems began to surface:
Emails with threats to tell everyone in the world how bad we are (all Ukrainian investors, the US embassy, investment funds, etc.) poured in. Despite the saved correspondence, Andrey even made a documented written attempt to extort $250,000, threatening with concrete actions to destroy our reputation. After we proposed to continue the correspondence in court, the toxic investor disappeared from our lives. As a result, it cost us reputational blows and the loss of three investment transactions with Ukrainian investors to the tune of just over one million dollars two years ago.
AIN.UA has reached out to Andrey Kolodyuk for comments regarding the words of Gerbut. Kolodyuk neither confirmed nor denied Gerbut’s words:
Maksym Herbut’s op-ed produces no evidence of his words. Similar accusations must be supported by facts, otherwise, they constitute a violation of the right to inviolability of business reputation (Article 299 of the Civil Code of Ukraine) and slander (Article 125 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).
At the same time, there are the following facts: several Ukrainian news outlets began probing into the information about the court case brought by American investors against Maksym Herbut in the US court. The essence of the claims is that Maksym misinformed investors about the status of the project, moved out the investments through personal accounts in Ukraine and used them for things not related to the company or the project, and we are talking about half a million dollars. There are already three such investors, and none of them knew about the existence of others. There can be even more. But I am not a judge, and soon we will hear the decision of an American judge on this case. If accusations will be confirmed, this could be a serious blow to the reputation of Ukrainian startups for American investors.
As a person who is very familiar with Maksym’s project and who has done a lot of intro to other investors, I am responsible for recommending it and now I can’t let this situation remain unanswered. I urge journalists to be guided by facts, to communicate with affected investors and to prevent the dissemination of unconfirmed false details.”
According to Ukrainian investment funds polled by AIN.UA, this is the first such public accusation of a prominent Ukrainian investor in dishonesty. Most likely, this will negatively affect the reputation of Andrey Kolodyuk personally and AVentures Capital in particular. It will also negatively affect the reputation and investment prospects of PassivDom and Maksym Herbut personally if the case against American investors is resolved not in his favor.