Agillion – what was it and about its failure?

Agillion stands for “Agility for the Millions,” the original concept that Frank Moss and Steve Papermaster, the founders of Agillion, were after when they wanted to deliver an enterprise-type solution at a small-business price.

Overview
Agillion claimed to enable companies to provide customers with a level of service they’ve never encountered online – or anywhere else. By creating Agillion Personal Pages – custom, password-protected web sites that were accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – it claimed it would ·

  • Let your customers place and check on the status of orders, alert you to problems, retrieve documents you’re collaborating on together, write you a note, download a product catalog, etc.
  • Capture customer information in real-time and securely store it in a central database that your Team can access from any web browser.
  • Focus on your top customers by receiving reminders and important alerts about their activity.

For more information see our Steve Papermaster profile page

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History & Founding


Agillion was founded in October 1998. The company was backed by more than $40 million in first-round financing by lead investor Goldman Sachs and by Cisco Systems, Morgan Stanley & Co., Hambrecht & Quist, Integral Capital Partners, Insight Capital Partners and MSD Capital.

How Steve Papermaster reportedly squandered $40m is discussed below.

Agillion Company Milestones

July 2001

July 24, 2000
Bankruptcy


Agillion and MySoftware, a division of ClickAction, announce a strategic partnership to offer the Agillion service as a packaged retail product and to integrate Agillion into MySoftware’s desktop products.
July 10, 2000Office Depot and Agillion announce strategic partnership to providing needed services to the growing small business market
July 3, 2000dbusiness.com names Agillion as one of the “Top 50 Private Companies in Austin.”
June 27, 2000Agillion taps former FedEx CIO as its first Board of Directors member; names Dave Henkel as Agillion’s chief operating officer
June 6, 2000Agillion launches first global operation in Australia
May 15, 2000Agillion named one of Upside magazine’s “Hot 100 Private Companies” about to ignite the technology scene
May 8, 2000Agillion named industry veterans Alex Kuli as executive vice president of sales and Mike O’Rourke as executive vice president of development and operations.
April 19, 2000dbusiness.com includes Agillion as one of its “50 to Watch” list of emerging companies, a list of the most dynamic private and public small- to medium-cap companies in 18 markets
Feb. 23, 2000Agillion launches full-featured version of its Web-based service to help growing businesses focus on their customers with personalized communication
Jan. 24, 2000DigitalSouth magazine names Agillion one of the “50 Companies to Watch in 2000,” recognizing the quality of the management team, financial backers and marketing opportunity
Dec. 13, 1999Agillion joins forces with Employease, works.com and eight other Internet companies in a new industry initiative to expedite the availability of Internet Business Services for small and medium-sized businesses, projected to be a $6.6 billion market by 2003.
Nov. 15, 1999Agillion joins the Cisco Resource Network, an industry group dedicated to providing information, tools and resources to help small and medium-sized businesses fully participate in the Internet economy
Nov. 8, 1999Agillion secures over $40 million in first-round financing from lead investor Goldman Sachs & Co. and strategic and financial investors Cisco Systems, Morgan Stanley & Co., Integral Capital Partners, MSD Capital and Hambrecht & Quist.
Nov. 8, 1999Agillion appoints blue-chip advisory board comprising Internet industry rainmakers, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders with track records building successful e-businesses, including: Amazon.com, America Online, broadcast.com, Cisco Systems, Dataquest, Dell Computer Corporation, EDS, HotMail, Tivoli Systems and Vignette
Oct. 4, 1999Agillion previews new Internet Business Service, eliminating barriers that separate companies from their customers. Available free through February 2000, the service lets businesses, their partners and their customers interact anywhere, anytime over the Web to achieve one-to-one customer selling and service.
Oct. 12, 1998Technology industry veterans Frank Moss and Steve Papermaster form Agillion Inc., a new company that will deliver sophisticated customer relationship management functions to small and medium-sized businesses as services over the Internet.

Executive Management:

· Frank Moss, Co-founder and active Chairman

· Steve Papermaster, Co-founder and CEO

· Phil London, Senior VP of Development and Technology

· Troy Heindel, VP of Technology Services and CIO

Advisory Board:

· Joy Covey, chief strategist at Amazon.com, Inc.

· Stephen R. Douty, former vice president, sales, marketing and business development of Hotmail

· Ross Garber, co-founder of Vignette

· Judith H. Hamilton, former chief executive officer of Dataquest and current chief executive officer of Classroom Connect, Inc.

· Nick Hanauer, chairman of Avenue A Media

· Alexander Kuli, former senior vice president of worldwide sales at Tivoli Systems

· Tom Meredith, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Dell Computer Corp.

· Morton H. Meyerson, former president and founder of EDS, former chief executive officer of Perot Systems and current chairman and chief executive officer of 2M Companies, Inc.

· Jerry Michalski, former editor of the Release 1.0 technology newsletter and current president of Sociate

· Mark Seriff, co-founder of America Online, Inc.

· Peter Solvik, chief information officer of Cisco Systems

· Tina Williamson, former vice president of marketing of broadcast.com.

Bankruptcy trustee claims Papermaster, other Agillion execs ‘squandered’ assets

Apr 22, 2003, 10:48am CDT

By Colin Pope – Austin Business Journal Staff

Six of Agillion Inc.’s former top executives have been sued by a U.S. bankruptcy trustee for the legendary spending sprees that bankrupted one of the most well-financed and well-known high-tech startups in Austin.

U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Marsha Milligan — the person charged with protecting the interests of hundreds of creditors collectively owed more than $20 million — on Thursday sued Agillion co-founders Steve Papermaster, Frank Moss and four other executives and board members for breach of fiduciary duty, gross negligence and waste after they “irrationally squandered Agillion’s assets,” according to the suit, filed in Travis County District Court.

The suit comes well after Agillion burned through more than $60 million in less than three years — and nearly two years after the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. At its zenith, the company employed about 125 people.

Agillion, which offered a Web service that helped businesses maintain vital information about their customers, filed for bankruptcy in July 2001 with about $100 in the bank. Just 15 months before, Agillion had $30 million in the bank, according to the suit.

Between the product launch date, Feb. 23, 2000, and the bankruptcy filing more than a year later, Agillion had only a “few dozen subscribers” to its Web-based service, the suit claims.

“Their revenue was so inconsequential that management never recorded a single dollar in revenue in their internal bookkeeping,” the suit alleges.

Despite the poor performance, “Agillion’s management increased their wasteful spending,” the suit states.

The 17-page lawsuit — filed by Donald Taylor of the Austin law firm Taylor & Dunham LLP — contains a detailed list of events outlining Agillion’s spending habits.

Among the events listed in the suit:

Spending more than $3 million on a 30-second commercial during the 2000 Super Bowl. The spot aired a month before Agillion launched its product.

Spending about $500,000 to take all Agillion employees on an all expenses-paid trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Despite earning only a “few hundred dollars in the U.S.,” Agillion opened an office in Australia, which closed six months later.

Agillion entered into a $13 million, 10-year lease at Stonecreek Park on North MoPac Expressway that the suit alleges was “lavish and unnecessary.”

Tripling the size of its workforce only to lay off many within months.

Spending more than $430,000 during the first three months of 2000 to sponsor several events, such as South by Southwest, “Austin City Limits” and the 360 Summit.

Spending “tens of thousands” of dollars on several company parties, such as a “Casino Night” Christmas party in 2000 and a Super Bowl party at Dave & Buster’s, where Agillion bought 168 bottles of wine.

An exhibit attached to the suit is a copy of a color photograph of Papermaster — as the master of ceremonies during the Cabo San Lucas trip — wearing a sombrero and riding a horse on the beach as he talks to his employees with a wireless microphone.

Papermaster was Agillion’s co-founder and CEO. Papermaster stepped down as CEO in November 2000 and was replaced by Jim Travers, who is listed as a defendant.

Moss — former president and chairman of Austin’s Tivoli Systems Inc. software company — was an Agillion co-founder and chairman of its advisory board.

Last August, Papermaster announced he formed and invested in an Austin-based software startup called CooperaTech Inc., where he is chairman.

Aside from Papermaster, Travers and Moss, Dennis Jones, Dave Henkel and Phillip London, who either were Agillion board members or officers, are defendants.

None of the defendants could be reached for comment.

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