After nearly a year of cryptic updates and delays, NovaMind announced on August 13 that it has been sold to a former employee, who intends to continue development of the desktop versions of the innovative mind mapping software program.
Previous owner Gideon King decided to sell the business after diversifying into cloud and mobile applications of its mind mapping software, but discovered it was impossible to maintain development and support for so many products. The new owner, Patrick Klug, is a former NovaMind developer who worked extensively on the NovaMind 5 release. In a statement on the NovaMind home page, Klug says he plans to continue development of the Mac and PC versions of the program.
Support for the NovaMind iOS and Android apps will be suspended immediately, and NovaMind Cloud will be shut down. Refunds will be available for those customers who feel they did not get value from these services.
This announcement did not take the direction I expected. I was very confident that an acquisition was in the works. But I expected it to be from a business software company seeking to expand its suite of products to include mind mapping software – much like what happened when Corel bought MindManager. But that’s not what happened. An individual has purchased it – albeit someone who is intimately familiar with the product. Klug is the founder and owner of Greenheart Games in Brisbane, Australia. Its sole product is Game Dev Tycoon, a business simulator that lets you pretend you are an entrepreneur starting a software company in the 1980s.
Why did this deal take so long to come together? It would appear that Klug had problems getting bank financing to underwrite the cost of the acquisition. Or at the very least, the banks required both Klug and King to jump through numerous hoops until they were satisfied and allowed the financing and the sale to proceed. That’s not unusual, according to my brother, who arranges bridge financing for businesses.
I looked at the NovaMind Facebook page to see when the company started talking about future plans for it. Would you believe this all started last September, nearly a year ago? If you read the entries on itsFacebook timeline, there was one delay after another. By being open and transparent about this convoluted process, I suspect that Gideon King may have damaged the NovaMind brand.
If I was in the market for mind mapping software for my company, I would naturally zero in on those that appear to be stable, and are likely to still be around in 3-5 years. With all of the uncertainty that has surrounded NovaMind during the last year, my gut feeling is that sales have slowed down dramatically. Klug’s first job will be to re-establish trust, and to convince the marketplace that he has a compelling vision for the future of NovaMind’s innovative mind mapping software.
Hopefully, Klug has secured enough financing to not only pay for the acquisition, but also to give it a one to two year runway to re-establish sales and begin development of NovaMind 6.
In conclusion, I hope for the best, because I really do like NovaMind. Whenever I need to create a beautiful looking mind map, that’s the program I choose. I have enthusiastically supported Gideon and NovaMind because of its role as the innovative underdog in the mind mapping software market. But given the turn of events during the last year, I predict that Klug is going to face some challenges getting NovaMind back on its feet.
Watch this blog for further updates on NovaMind. I’m going to try to arrange an interview with Patrick Klug, hopefully in the next few weeks!