Updated, including the full press release, below the article.
PodTech, a company that publishes online and downloadable videos about new technology, has been sold — for less than half a million dollars, I’ve learned — to ViewPartner, a communications technology company.
This is sad. In 2007, the Palo Alto, Calif. company was expecting to make $7 million in revenue by the end of the year, mostly through sponsorship deals with large technology companies, from what a source tells me.
A few years ago, PodTech was a high-flying Silicon Valley web startup. First it offered podcasts, then video and a video player — and was aiming to become a video content network, that also provided advertising services to other video creators. It hired some big names in the technology media world, including Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble in January of 2006.
It raised $5.5 million in a venture round of funding from US Venture Partners and Venrock that year, then raised another $2 million from the same investors in 2007.
But the bloodletting started last summer. The investors, from my understanding, were looking to make PodTech more of a blog network, and didn’t see eye to eye with early employees on what, exactly, the company intended to be.
Top employees started to leave. One of the first out was Jeremiah Owyang, an online marketing expert who went to join Forrester as an analyst last August.
Then founder John Furrier left his job as chief executive of the company, last August. Scoble left late last year.
Furrier stayed on the board until he left that, too, several months ago, a source says.
Yesterday, a tipster told Valleywag that the company may have stopped paying employees after a “reorg” and was basically “in hock” to its investors. From what I’ve learned, at least the latter was true.
Is the glass half full?
Podtech is still producing videos — generally long-form videos — about the tech world, and its current executive, production and creative teams are staying on under ViewPartner. Both the brand and the video player technology the company has developed will continue to live.
In a press release issued by the company, PodTech’s cofounder and current vice president of creative development, Jason Lopez says that “with ViewPartner, we are assured of the tools to move from downloadable media [its current video player] to the next generation of communication. Our team comes from broadcast media, so we’re really excited about where this platform can go. It will be an exciting ride for our clients.” [Update: Lopez responds in comments below, with more specifics about his role -- others have noted he was the fourth employee, not the founder, per se.]
ViewPartner, a Los Angeles company whose web site I can’t seem to find, says that “PodTech will be the first to deliver HD quality broadcast on the Internet within the next year.”
Here’s what Lopez meant by clients. The company also has a consulting business for Fortune 1000 companies, that is rarely if ever publicly mentioned — it helps companies to create their own video content and distribute it on the web. That part of the business is profitable, and it’s another reason that ViewPartner made the purchase.
For more bloody details, check out Mathew Ingram’s post.
The press release about the news, by reader request:
ViewPartner Corporation Buys PodTech
– Plans to invest and take podcasting to the next level–
LOS ANGELES, CA. – July 17, 2008 – ViewPartner, a multi-million dollar company based in Los-Angeles that owns and operates communication technologies, has bought PodTech Network, the leading social-media company for developing, producing, and distributing podcasts to drive brand engagement for Fortune 1000 companies. The core executive, production and creative team of PodTech remains in tact. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
According to Alex Varonos, CEO of ViewPartner, “The PodTech team led by co-founder, Jason Lopez, and Darold Massaro, vice president of sales, is what attracted us to this company. We believe in these people and will make certain that PodTech and its clients have the financial and strategic support to take podcasting or any kind of broadcasting on the Net to the next level.”
Mr. Varonos explained that PodTech has the platform to drive brand engagement. “And the platform will be enhanced with capabilities that just an agency or service organization cannot deliver. PodTech will be the first to deliver HD quality broadcast on the Internet within the next year. It will make the brand experience richer for clients. And this is the team that will take it to market.”
Jason Lopez, PodTech cofounder and vice president of creative development, commented, “This assures that the people and companies with great stories to tell will be able to do so in a compelling format. With ViewPartner, we are assured of the tools to move from downloadable media to the next generation of communication. Our team comes from broadcast media, so we’re really excited about where this platform can go. It will be an exciting ride for our clients.”
Added Darold Massaro, PodTech vice president of sales, “While we continue to support our existing network and provide quality video and social media strategies with a total focus on client satisfaction, we will be announcing continuous upgrades to our technology. Our clients will be on the cutting edge of distributed video and audio communication.”
PodTech Network is a leading social-media company for developing, producing, and distributing podcasts for increasing brand engagement for Fortune 1000 and top-technology companies.
About ViewPartner Corporation
ViewPartner Corporation is a Los Angeles-based holding company of multi-media technologies.