Less than two months after its official launch on the Web, PowerAgent, a much-watched startup, suspended operations late last week. The company, which promised to give consumers and advertisers true one-to-one Internet marketing, failed to get additional funding from its investors, which include several prominent venture capital firms.
In an internal email sent to PowerAgent staff, chief executive officer Dale Sundby wrote, "There is no alternative but to immediately suspend operations and attempt to restructure the company." As a result, the firm, which had planned to offer its services starting next month, laid off all but a handful of employees.
Sundby told IQ News he expected the company could continue and said he was still in discussions with investors and partners who would help relaunch the venture.
Among those who were laid off was David Carlick, the former Poppe Tyson executive who served as PowerAgent's president of network services. "I'm extremely disappointed that it didn't work out," Carlick said. "It was so promising."
PowerAgent's premise was that it could provide millions of registered consumers with relevant marketing information they wanted, via its automated Web software. The plan was to vastly cut down electronic advertising clutter for users and sharply reduce marketing expenses for businesses.
But PowerAgent ran into technological and financial roadblocks. The software required to implement PowerAgent was late and cost more than anticipated, one source said. And with money tight after hiring an extensive sales force, PowerAgent was unable to mount an aggressive campaign to attract consumers.