ProQuent: Au Revoir, Paris
A recent post on the Unstrung message board notes that the Marlborough, Mass.-based vendor filed its European operation as bankrupt in November last year.
CTO Tom Hamilton admits that ProQuent has pulled the plug on its European HQ but says the closure was a result of a shift in sales strategy.
“Our channel partners were outselling our direct sales force. The return on investment just wasn’t there. The folks were notified in the summer, and the office closed in October. It was a sales office with about four people… It came down to a business decision. Although our team had done a stellar job trying to penetrate these accounts, it was pretty clear that working with established players was a better way to get the technology into the carriers."
Hamilton is keen to play down fears surrounding the bankruptcy issue. “The lawyers would have looked at the best way of shutting it down. If there isn’t enough cash in there to do all the things that need to be done to shut it down, then essentially a bankruptcy filing is done... It isn't anything we are trying to hide.”
Hamilton declines to reveal ProQuent’s channel partners, but aims to announce both a U.K. carrier customer and a partner in time for next month’s annual 3GSM shindig in Cannes. “It’s in the process so that the carrier will allow us to announce the deployment along with the partner involved.”
The startup has never been far from speculation questioning its health, but remains upbeat following the launch of its ACCESS (Authorized Content Control & Electronic Subject Screening) product in February 2004. The kit enables carriers to filter content according to the target audience (see ProQuent Polices Content and ProQuent Ain't Spent).
“We have reduced expenses and have also managed through our partnerships to have a lot of bookings coming in,” adds Hamilton. “We have got to the point where we can see, sometime this summer, profitability on the horizon.” The company has raised $48 million in VC funding (see ProQuent Grabs $14M).
— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung