Contxto – While anti-austerity protests continue to rock Chile, one startup by the name of Weeshing may have started to get used to being in hot water. Boiling hot.
Just falling short of a pyramid scheme, the Chilean investment platform for the music industry has allegedly stolen over US$10,332,463 from a motley crew of confused and most likely angry investors.
Where do we begin? In theory, perhaps Weeshing was too good to be true. From its onslaught, the company invited users to invest in music concerts, touting the potential for lucrative returns. Over time, it raised more than US$10.3 million among 17,000 users and 3,000 investments, even expanding to Mexico in the process.
Despite reports surfacing over six months ago of swindling, investors are still rather clueless as to what actually happened to their money.
Fraud in the music industry
Juan Pablo Duch launched Weeshing in 2014, promoting investments in concerts and live events. Not only did these yield potential for hefty financial returns for the more “aggressive” sharks, but also exclusive access to concerts and shows. Some of these included festivals such as Roxy, Hellow and Jalo.
Fast forward today and you will find Facebook groups called “Weeshing owes its investors,” not to mention Reddit threads advising users to stay clear from the startup. The latest one from six months ago read:
Weeshing in Mexico
Eventually, Weeshing expanded to Mexico where Guillermo Padrón directed operations until he resigned. According to him, Weeshing Mexico saw an annual growth rate of over 344 percent. More so, it maintained 5,000 users, 85 percent of them being investors.
Users even invested over MXN$2.9 million (around US$150,000) through Play Business platform.
Before his departure, Padrón attempted to purchase 55 percent of Weeshing Mexico for MXN$300,000 (around US$15,000), to no avail. From there, he ultimately decided to part ways with the company. All the while, he received plenty of emails and phone calls from irate investors asking the simple question: where is my money?
Following Padrón’s resignation (where he ended up launching Capital Nation to boost Mexico’s entertainment industry), Weeshing tried to keep Mexican operations afloat. This past August, the now pariah-of-a-company promoted investment opportunities for a Snoop Dogg performances in Mexico City and Monterrey.
All while claiming 3 to 15 percent in variable and 6.6 percent in fixed returns, the shows reportedly never happened.
Corruption at Weeshing
For some investors, Weeshing did an excellent job of concealing the reality of its business model.
“Due to the returns offered, which seemed good, although not extraordinary enough to raise suspicion, I decided to invest in the platform in a concert that would take place in May,” said investor Alberto Haro to El Economista.
Moving forward, Haro urges other investors to come forth and tell their story.
“Needless to say, despite its many promises, the company did not return the money invested and apparently already disappeared from the map. I hope that many of the people who were disappointed by this company come to light and raise their complaint.”
This story is still in the works. We will update accordingly.