Netpulse, touted as a forerunner of things to come in club workout entertainment, filed Jan. 24 for Chapter 7 protection in bankruptcy court. The action allows for liquidation of its current assets.
"Presently, Netpulse is operating on a skeleton crew," said Adam Handelsman, company spokesman. "The network is running, and we are exploring all of our options."
Founded in 1993 by forward-thinker Michael Alvarez Cohen and other Silicon Valley professionals and based in San Francisco, Netpulse worked hard to become the standard for multimedia workouts in health clubs. Originally, the company made multimedia exercise systems, then began selling Internet devices that allowed for surf-and-sweat workouts. Originally, those ran for $4,000, but last year, in the dot-com way, the company began giving away the equipment and accompanying monthly services in an attempt to quickly gain market.
Despite forcing the hand of its competitors (E-Zone and Xystos) to follow suit with free equipment, the money didn't flood back. Then, last September, the three merged. But that didn't help either. Backers Crown Ventures, Life Fitness, and Mercantile partners, apparently had to stop the hemorrhage with this filing. Incidentally, Life Fitness just signed up for an alliance with Netpulse less than a year ago in March 2000.
Tom Proulx, author of Quicken and co-founder of Intuit, came on board as president and CEO in 1997 and still leads the helm. He and others are going to try to buy-back the company's assets to start again, this time leaner and meaner. "Mr. Proulx is working
hard to raise the funding that would restart the company," Handelsman said. "He is seeking to raise $6 million."
The company's web site, www.netpulse.com, as of Friday Jan. 26 is live and mentioned nothing about the filing. Handelsman said there is no word as of Friday as to how the liquidation under Chapter 7 will progress.