Kim Dotcom Plans Mega IPO

MegaUpload founder, still sought for extradition by the U.S. government, hires CFO to help float his new cloud storage service.

Mathew Schwartz

March 4, 2013

3 Min Read
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Kim Dotcom has a dream: To take his new file-sharing service Mega public.

"#Mega is hiring a CFO to prepare the company for our IPO," read a Monday tweet from Dotcom, which linked to a job description.

Dotcom plans to take the company public in about 18 months. "Due to some aggressive growth plans, we require a full-time CFO capable of taking the company from just after initial setup, through rapid growth and to IPO within the next 18 months," the job listing read.

The CFO job description said that applicants should have "experience working with visionary entrepreneurs" as well as "proven experience or involvement in capital raising and/or the IPO process in New Zealand or Australia." The latter squares with previous news reports that Dotcom said he'd favor Australia or New Zealand for an IPO.

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For the uninitiated, Dotcom is the eccentric German-Finnish entrepreneur (aka Kim Tim Jim Vestor, aka Kim Schmitz) responsible for creating the file-sharing website MegaUpload in 2005. The site was spectacularly brought down in early 2012 by the FBI, which also served arrest warrants and filed charges against Dotcom and other company founders. In particular, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Dotcom, who's a resident of New Zealand, of amassing $175 million "in criminal proceeds" since the site was founded in 2005 through a campaign of copyright infringement.

Since then, U.S. prosecutors have sought the extradition of Dotcom and other company officers, who have all fought the extradition requests, saying they're innocent of the charges. The next related extradition hearing is scheduled for August 2013 in New Zealand, and the U.S. case is no sure bet. Notably, U.S. prosecutors filed criminal offenses for alleged copyright crimes that are typically treated as civil matters. Under New Zealand law, furthermore, the penalties associated with violating copyright would not meet the threshold required -- under national law -- for an extradition request to be granted.

One year after the FBI shuttered MegaUpload, Dotcom in January launched Mega, which he billed not as a file-sharing site, but rather a cloud storage site. Dotcom has highlighted the service's use of browser-based "on-the-fly encryption" to ensure that data users upload remains private. He also crowdsourced site improvements by offering bounties to anyone who could defeat the encryption system or offer meaningful security enhancements. (He's also paid up.)

Last month, meanwhile, Dotcom hired Vikram Kumar, the former chief of InternetNZ, which lobbies for and helps set New Zealand's Internet standards, to be Mega's chief executive.

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