Blowtorch Entertainment is a new media movie company founded in late 2007 by CEO Kelly Rodriques, who had previously sold managed services startup Totality to Verizon in 2005. Blowtorch’s plan was to produce video content for 18-to-24-year-olds. Ignition Partners, where Rodriques had been an operating partner, invested an undisclosed amount in Blowtorch’s initial $50 million round.
But a report on VentureWire today listed Blowtorch as the latest non-success in Ignition’s portfolio. “Blowtorch’s future is in doubt after the company’s undisclosed hedge fund backers, which provided the majority of capital in the form of debt, pulled out as the financial crisis took its toll,” VentureWire reporter Ty McMahan wrote. Blowtorch’s website is offline, and Rodriques told McMahan, “I’m still hopeful, but I’d be wrong if I told you I wasn’t disappointed.”
Blowtorch’s management team included successful movie producer Paul Schiff (Rushmore, Date Movie, My Cousin Vinny) and Dominic Ianno, who had worked at Sony Music Online Ventures and Artisan Entertainment, among others. Yet the company failed to make good on its plan to distribute movies to theaters and build online social network communities around them.
Rodriques said Blowtorch still plans to release two movies currently in post-production, and hopes to attract new investors. But the company’s future seems iffy at this point. It’s another miss for Ignition, which is one of Seattle’s the Bay Area’s biggest investors, yet has failed to see any of its companies exit big. Last fall, the CEO and CFO of customer relationship management software maker Entellium, in which Ignition had invested a reported $20 million, were arrested by the FBI for keeping two sets of accounting books.