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Summary:

Pulver Media, the New York-based company well known for VON, the trade shows for the VoIP industry and a magazine with the same name might be shutting down, joining the dot.gone club, according to sources. The rumors of the shutdown of Pulver Media first started to […]

Pulver Media, the New York-based company well known for VON, the trade shows for the VoIP industry and a magazine with the same name might be shutting down, joining the dot.gone club, according to sources.

The rumors of the shutdown of Pulver Media first started to show up on some VoIP blogs like that of our good pal, Andy Abramson. I am still waiting to hear back from Jeff Pulver, the founder of Pulver Media. Meanwhile, I spent some time trying to nail down specifics of what exactly went down and have been able to find some details.

According to my sources, earlier this month when the Pulver Media executives were in San Jose, Calif. For the Spring VON, their investors, TICC Capital Group pulled the rug from under Pulver Media, and shut down the company. They also seized control of the bank accounts. As a result many folks saw their checks bounced.

TICC Capital Group, a Greenwich, CT-based investment group that trades publicly on the NASDAQ stock exchange had invested $11 million in Pulver Media in June 2007. The investment was senior secured notes with warrants, i.e. debt.

In a filing with the SEC earlier this month, TICC said

During the first quarter of 2008, Pulvermedia indicated that it was projecting a sudden and dramatic decline in projected revenues and earnings for the coming year … Based upon the review of the company’s financial projections and operating cashflow forecasts, we determined that the debt investment warranted a complete write-down, $10.3 million, and the warrants were written-off as well, in the amount of $300,000. The investment was assigned a credit rating of Grade 5, and was placed on non-accrual status as of December 31, 2007.”

It seems Jeff and his team are trying hard to save the company and might pull a last minute miracle. This is a very sad development for the VoIP industry. Not only this puts one of the big VoIP trade shows at risk, it also is a setback for Pulver, an industry icon and a constant tinker. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Disclosure: Our columnist Daniel Berninger is a long time business associate of Jeff Pulver.

  1. Sad news…
    This makes us all part of the x.VON community…

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  2. [...] Update March 28th, 2008 | Category: Voip News Om Malik posts and postulates about what’s the latest at PulverMedia. He pulled SEC filings that give an indication of what [...]

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  3. Great admirer of Jeff’s visions. Another reminder that ideas, even the best ones, don’t pay the bills.

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  4. frank davison Saturday, March 29, 2008

    perhaps being an industry visionary and running profitable and successful businesses are incompatible! or perhaps as others have said VON didn’t change the nature of its conferences fast enough–too much “trade show” and not enough idea exchange?

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  5. I think you meant “constant tinkerer”

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  6. I just had the opportunity to meet Jeff at his breakfast in Baltimore this past Tuesday. He seemed like a really good guy and offered some great feedback to some friends and I. I wish him the best and that everything/everyone lands on its feet.

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  7. Actually, the first thing that came to mind was “thinker”. Haha. Maybe it’s meant as a cross between that….”thinker” and “tinkerer” =D.

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  8. [...] the future of VON Conferences. I don’t want to tell the story again, just have a look here or here for further [...]

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  9. Jeff’s conference used to be a “brains to play” one — a networking event showcasing the best and brightest business and technical people in the VoIP world. That format worked very well, bringing money in as a logical byproduct.

    In 2005 the former CEO of Softbank Comdex (a failed show itself) was brought in (http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/03-30-2005/0003291383&EDATE= ) and started turning the conference into a “pay to play” exhibit. Companies were alienated by exorbitant greed (even Cisco pulled out), and interesting startups were forced out (Jeff was known for helping several smart companies start by providing them free exposure, a favor they reciprocated as they grew). The conference content increasingly was for sale, its quality suffering for it, and the new organizers made major blunders such as scheduling in conflict with an IETF meeting, which deprived the conference of the technology luminaries speakers whose presence attracted attendees.

    All of this as the industry was in transition from VoIP to Unified Communications and from carriers to the enterprise, a wave that they missed as they were busy squeezing money out of the legacy exhibitors. No wonder that the latest basic scheduling blunder, going head-to-head with VoiceCon, did them in. By some accounts VoiceCon had 80% share of traffic, and VON attendance was significantly below even the most pessimistic forecasts.

    I wish Jeff all the best. Him and Carl Ford are masters at building communities and have enviable Rolodexes; they could easily put together a very successful “brains to play” conference any day — a profitable one for them and all involved, even if of more modest scale.

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  10. wow. really? – i’m blown away.

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