Several Finnish companies have been included as finalists for the 2008 Europe 100 list of the of most promising ventures Red Herring is once again publishing. The companies are Aito Technologies, Floobs, Muxlim, nCore, Severa, Whatamap.com, Widisys, and Valimo Wireless. The winners will be declared at Red Herring Europe 2008 event in Malta on April 14-16th.
While the nomination gives good visibility to the companies, it’s worth a note, though, before going boasting around that the reputation Red Herring has is not that good everywhere. There’s a whole lot of suspected monkey business going on related to the company. According to rumors (see ValleyWag’s posts for example), Red Herring’s CEO and Chairman, Alex Vieux, doesn’t pay his bills (nor employees’ salaries). In addition, he’s got the U.S. tax officials of IRS on his back, suspected of having $2 million in unpaid payroll taxes according to ex-employees. Mr. Vieux has also been said to to have fled French and Swiss police also interested to investigate possible unpaid taxes. A good sign is neither that Red Herring has lost quite a many board members over the last couple of years.
Although not all the rumors may be true, it nevertheless seems the company is in trouble and it’s unsure if it’s able to turn its course. As a takeaway it’s good to enjoy the publicity the nomination brings, but at the same time it’s worthwhile to assess what kind of association to have with Red Herring in particular and keep one’s ears open.