6 Promising tech start-up casualties

The new start-up companies are the worst-hit in the current global economic turmoil. Here we give the low-down on some such young companies that have fallen flat

The global economic slowdown is not only gobbling up jobs, but also companies. And this the worst victims in carnage are start-ups. In the last few months many tech start-ups which were viewed as `trailblazers' and `sizzlers' till a year back have either closed down or have been sold for a song.

Lacking enough cash to cushion the deepening economic crisis these young companies have been forced to wind off operations. Here are six `promising' companies that have fallen fatally to the economic turmoil.

Attune Systems

California-based Attune Systems Inc wound up its operations in December as the slowdown pains started hurting the software maker. The 25-member team at Attune Systems developed network file management products aimed to reduce file management complexity for the enterprise, government, and education storage environments.

Attune's flagship product was Maestro File Manager FM5500 NAS virtualisation appliance. The Maestro appliance provides a global namespace, allowing administrators to combine multiple physical volumes into one virtual volume.

The application acceleration and file virtualisation vendor, F5 Networks, recently bought the intellectual property of the now-defunct Attune Systems

Reactrix Systems

Reactrix Systems, a company specialising in interactive projected advertisements in malls and movie theatres, folded despite $75 million in venture backing.

Founded in 2001, Redwood City, California company received $45 million fourth-round of funding in 2006. The company had strategic partnerships with National CineMedia and Samsung.

Experts believe that the company's crash came due to the depressed advertising market caused by the economic downturn. The company apparently lacked enough cash to cushion the blow. Also, some believe that its offerings were considered too futuristic and experimental for clients to gamble their shrinking advertising budgets.


Another tech start-up that fell to slowdown is online music start-up Fuzz.com.

In its farewell message to its registered users, the company wrote, "Sadly, we are contacting you to announce that Fuzz.com is shutting down on February 13, 2009. We have decided to shutdown because of increasing operating costs and flat revenues. It simply no longer makes sense for us to keep Fuzz.com running. Please note that once the site is shut down on February 13, 2009, the band and user accounts, and all other content on Fuzz.com, will no longer be accessible."

Founder and chief executive of San Francisco-based music start-up, Jeff Yasuda said "We couldn't drive enough visitor traffic on the site to make it a viable business."

It is being widely speculated that the company has decided to shut down in wake of dedicating their entire funds and resources to Blip.fm, a music station.


Tech startup VuBotics Inc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after being in business for three years. The Atlanta-based software company marketed products to improve reading speed and comprehension on digital handheld devices.

According to media reports, VuBotics raised $2.3 million in a stock sale in August 2006 and about $2 million additional in angel capital in 2007. VuBotics had issued 56 million shares to 500 shareholders, according to its Chapter 11 filing.

In the month of October, VuBotics hired Jules Stine, a corporate reorganization expert as its new director and chief operating officer.

TZero Technologies

Another tech start-up that fell victim to the economic downturn was TZero Technologies, a Ultra-wideband (UWB) start-up. Less than a year after raising $18 million from OVP Venture Partners and others, TZero Technologies recently announced it is closing down.

The company joins a shakeout in UWB that has claimed WiQuest and Focus Enhancements. Founded in 2003, TZero's ultra wideband chips are used in HD video audio/video components.

What led to the possible shake-up of UWB is the high cost of UWB chips which never gained a foothold in the consumer market. Also, established technologies such as Wi-Fi, and new ones such as WirelessHD posed a great threat.

Also, UWB started with much fanfare as a way to get rid of wires between consumer devices and an easy way to move high-definition video around the home. However, the promised high-speed data transfer fell short of expectations.
Guava Technologies
Guava Technologies Inc is among the startups that sold themselves up for sums which experts term less than what their investors may have spent on them.

Millipore Corp acquired Guava Technologies, a developer of cell-analysis systems, for $22.6 million. California-based Guava made roughly $22 million in revenue last year.
(Courtesy: www.infotech.itimes.com)
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