Creditors of TidePoint Corp. have filed to force the company into involuntary liquidation under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code just two months after the Baltimore provider of e-commerce services laid off two-thirds of its staff and pledged to become a software company.
In the petition filed Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore, three creditors reported that TidePoint owed them a total of about $1.3 million.
The Allied Group Inc., of Glastonbury, Conn., claimed bills of $914,770 for computer hardware and software. Control Cable Inc., of Baltimore, reported that TidePoint owed the company about $130,000 for unspecified goods and services. The Washington firm of Ellerbe Becket Inc. claimed unpaid bills of $234,000 for architectural services.
Neither a company representative nor an attorney representing TidePoint could be reached for comment yesterday.
"Unfortunately, this sector just got beaten up very badly," said Mark F. Tomasi, corporate credit analyst with the Allied Group. "And they were one of the casualties. The venture capital money was rolling in when they first started doing business, and then they felt the pinch when the venture capital money dried up for this sector."
Tomasi declined to comment on the legal filing.
David Daneman, an attorney with Bishop, Daneman & Reiff LLC who represents Allied, said unsecured creditors are owed about $8 million.
"TidePoint was in the process of shutting down anyway," he said. "We wanted to be able to maximize the payment of claims of unsecured creditors. We wanted to have some control over the liquidation process."
Fourteen other creditors were listed in the bankruptcy papers, but the amount of money owed was not specified. They were: Brocade Communications Systems Inc., of San Jose, Calif.; Cisco Systems, of San Jose, Calif.; EMC Corp., of Hopkinton, Mass.; the Internal Revenue Service; the Maryland comptroller; Oracle Corp., of Redwood Shores, Calif.; Osage Systems Group, of Phoenix; Sun Microsystems Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif.; and Veritas Software, of Mountain View, Calif. And from Baltimore: Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Hull Point LLC, Siquis Ltd., Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse and Verizon.
TidePoint was founded in January 2000 with $2 million in seed money. Under its original business model, TidePoint promised clients secure connections and application integration with their partners, suppliers and customers. A typical customer would have paid a monthly subscription fee starting at about $100,000.
In August the company announced that it would move its 100 employees from Woodlawn and Arbutus to the Tide Point commercial offices project in Locust Point, a Struever project, and add another 100 workers by year's end.
But as the Internet sector began collapsing, it failed to raise money in a second round of financing and, in January, it laid off 65 people and worked to reinvent itself as a software company.