The search marketing firm WebVisible was abruptly closed down by its creditors over the holidays, with CEO Ron Burr managing only to convince the company’s lenders to wait until after Christmas to foreclose on the business. As of Dec. 27 the company no longer exists, and its employees (estimated at 130 back in March but likely fewer at the end) were left with little to do but go home to wait for their final paychecks to arrive in the mail.
In an email to employees, Burr explained the company’s demise this way:
It is with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that today, December 27, 2011 is the last day of operation for WebVisible. I know this is a shock and has come abruptly. Even with all our efforts to recover throughout this past year, we found ourselves in a position in which the debt load of the company was simply too much to overcome. Our bank foreclosed on its loan which means they are taking over the company’s assets and collecting all remaining payments. As a result they have forced the company to shut down. We proposed many different options, attempting to negotiate with the bank, trying to find some alternative, but they are simply not open to alternatives. This happened quite suddenly, and the timing could not be more unfortunate.
Back in March, we talked to Burr about his vision for WebVisible. He had taken over the leadership of the company six months earlier from founder Kirsten Mangers. At that time, Burr insisted the business was generating about $25 million in revenues and was poised for sustainable growth. He said WebVisible made some “expensive mistakes” in focusing WebVisible on a direct to SMB model rather than on serving its reseller partnerships. Burr refocused the business on its partners, but apparently he wasn’t successful in generating enough revenues to service the debt and keep the lenders happy.