Digital Commerce Corp., a former highflying tech company that filed for bankruptcy protection 18 months ago, became one of the few local businesses to survive Chapter 11 when a bankruptcy judge approved its reorganization plan Wednesday.
But the firm, whose plan was cleared by Judge Robert G. Mayer of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, is much smaller than its former self. It has only a dozen employees, a small office in Vienna and an operations center in King of Prussia, Pa.
The company was founded in 1995, based in Herndon. It created elaborate Web portals intended to connect government agencies with product vendors.
At its peak in the summer of 2000, Digital Commerce had about 400 employees and was planning a $115 million initial public offering of stock. The $60 million in venture capital it secured during the late 1990s was used up as the firm expanded into 13 cities and expanded its sales team. The stock offering never took place.
"The previous management team's game plan was to create another Amazon.com," said C. Daniel Clemente, the company's new chief executive and chairman. "Their main thrust was to take the company public. They had a great story that would sell on Wall Street but wasn't grounded in reality."
Clemente said he was hired in September 2001 to investigate the possibility of fraudulent accounting but found only gross overspending. Most of the company's portals were shuttered.
Digital Commerce continues to run a Web portal for the state of Connecticut and operates a subscription-based notification system that alerts vendors when a government agency issues a "request for proposals" that matches its requirements.
Clemente said the firm had $1.6 million in revenue and a $234,000 net profit during the 11 months ended Nov. 30.