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Short on Cash, Sales Virtual Piggy May Be Eyeing Sale

With little cash left on hand, Virtual Piggy of Hermosa Beach announced it has hired investment bank Viant Capital “to explore strategic alternatives.”

Oink, the company’s core product, is a payment app designed to help children learn how to manage their money. It has been downloaded more than 1 million times, but since its 2008 inception Virtual Piggy’s revenue has only totaled $13,303.

Virtual Piggy makes money from a $10 annual fee charged to user’s parents and a 1.5 to 3 percent transaction fee charged to merchants. The company has sustained itself with investor money, including more than $36 million in venture capital investment, but that money is running out.

In a March 16 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it had $1.7 million cash on hand, enough to finance operations until May.

In addition to revenue problems, Virtual Piggy acknowledged that it was facing possible regulatory headwinds.

“Given recent developments in the payments space, including the legal challenges online retailers are facing related to minors and payments, the company felt it was important to retain a technology-focused investment bank to help explore various strategic options,” said Jo Webber, chairwoman and chief executive in a statement.

Virtual Piggy’s stock, which is also traded on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, fell to an all-time low of 28 cents a share when it announced its cash shortage in mid-March.

Technology reporter Garrett Reim can be reached at greim@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @garrettreim for the latest in L.A. tech news.

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