Aside from being part of Uy’s circle of friends, these celebrities were also business partners of Racaza in one of Xurpas’ string of flameouts, Xeleb Inc.
The four celebrity-owned firms who were Racaza’s partners in Xeleb are:
1) Selajo Inc. – owned by Anne Curtis-Smith (CEO and corporate
secretary) and Jasmine Curtis-Smith (VP for operations)
2) Joseliemm Holdings Inc. – a 50-50 partnership of Alejandro “Kim”
Atienza (president) and wife Felicia Hung (treasurer) and Xurpas’ Kristin Karen Davila. Xurpas corporate secretary Mark Gorrriceta also serves the same role for Joseliemm.
3) Conrev Inc. – owned by Erwan Heusaff and sister Solenn Marie A. Heusaff.
4) Rainy Day Future Entertainment – owned by Isabelle D. Daza- Semblat (president and CEO) and her French husband, Adrien Jean-Daniel Semblat (COO) with Georgina Ashle D. Wilson-Burnand as CFO.
Based on corporate filings, Xurpas established Xeleb (originally Fluxion Inc.) “to develop digital products and services, with a particular focus on celebrity-branded and themed mobile casual games and content for consumers.”
The four celebrity firms – Selajo, Joseliemm, Conrev and Rainy Day – took a combined 33 percent stake in Xeleb while Xurpas retained the balance in September 2016. The initial investment was pegged at P40 million.
On its website, Xeleb boasted of its portfolio which included the country’s biggest stars – Anne Curtis-Smith, Alejandro “Kuya Kim” Atienza, Isabelle
Daza, Erwan Jean Heussaff – which have a combined social media audience of close to 50 million fans.” In one of its puff pieces,
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Xeleb admitted ripping off its idea from “Kim Kardashian: Holywood”, a celebrity mobile game app.
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Xeleb’s product offerings were among the fastest-growing mobile consumer products of the Xurpas group of companies. These included “Pinoy Komiks Heroes Battle”, “Anne Galing”, “La Luna Sangre” game,
“Ang Probinsyano” game, “Erwan’s Eatery”, “Hello Scarlet Snow” (educational app based on on bilyonaryo Vicki Belo’s lovely daughter).
“We’re leading celebrity games in the Philippines. We’re excited about this because we’re not just transforming an industry, we’re defining it,” crowed Racaza in a Tech Asia article.
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Just a month after the celebrity firms plunked their money into Xeleb, Racaza went on ANC to hype the firm’s planned initial public offering in December 2016.
Xeleb proposed to raise P740 million from the IPO by selling 20 percent of the company for as much as P2.54 per share or 154 percent gain over their purchase price. This was in 2016 when Xurpas’ stock peaked at P19.80 (from an IPO price of P3.97 in 2014) with a market capitalization of P38 billion.
But just like Xurpas’ tech investments, from MatchMe to Art of Click to Seer, Xeleb never lived beyond the hype.
Racaza and his celebrity friends badly misread the market as Filipinos refused to pay P5 to play Anne or Erwan’s apps for 24 hours.
In 2019, Xurpas shuttered Xeleb and incurred a P68.09 impairment loss with its dissolution.
That’s just a fraction of the P3.5 billion losses piled up by Racaza and his founding partners – Nico Jose Nolledo and Fernando Jude “Andy” Garcia – in Xurpas from 2018 to the first half of 2020.
The founders are so desperate to leave Xurpas, they are willing to have their
shares diluted with a new group buying in at 10 centavos per share.
Xurpas was trading at 55 centavos before its trading was suspended by the Philippine Stock Exchange.