RIP Turning Out the Lights –

turn_off_lightsBeing an entrepreneur means you have to do alot of background work – constantly checking, and re-checking the premise of the business. And as I’ve learned, just because you are making money, don’t sit still – because there may be another opportunity staring you in the face.

With the same force of will, it is always important to look for other lessons. And while it’s good to hear these tales, often finding them seems like a passing theme. This is why I was overjoyed when I found a 2009 series from the Wall Street Journal called Turning Out the Lights.

There is one story in 2014, one in 2012, and the remainder are from 2009. Below is a list of the companies and their product category. The links available lead to the VentureWire column story. The column is now part of the Private Equity & Venture Capital news service – which runs an active website. Lastly a reminder that many of the companies went down because of the Real Estate Bomb of 2008.

Turn Out the Lights. .OR. Turn Off the Lights.

Is it historic or idiomatic?


Stipple Shuts Down; VC Backers Included Floodgate, Kleiner Perkins

  • Image-tagging advertising startup Stipple Inc. has called it quits, shutting its doors less than 18 months after raising capital at a valuation just south of $25 million.
  • Stipple announced it was ceasing operations on its Twitter account.
  • At the time the company said it had tagged more than 80 million images and had more than 140 brand partners (…)


No Playing: Signs Of Upheaval At Rivet Games

  • Backed with $15 million in venture funding and led by a former Playdom executive, social gaming company Rivet Games has abruptly shuttered one of its games amid signs of upheaval at the start-up.
  • The San Francisco-based company posted a message on its Pet Tales page on Facebook, stating: “Pet Tales has moved on. We are truly sorry that we are no longer able to keep Pet Tales going. We hope to be able to bring it back in the future. Thank you all so much for playing!”
  • Shortly after, the community forum on Rivet Games’ site lit up with posts from users who play the virtual pet game, wondering why the company had shut it down, why they weren’t given any warning and whether they would get refunds for money spent to buy virtual goods.
  • (No word on any success in this story.)


The last story post in 2009 lists all the companies it made note of in 2009. To access the stories you can search the website for the company name, or browse through the category listings for the column Turning Out the Lights. I’ll add a few selected story links as well.

Turning Out The Lights: Transoma Medical, Onetime IPO Hopeful

  • Transoma Medical Inc., which raised more than $40 million in venture capital and had filed to go public in late 2007, has shut down after running out of money.
  • (No word on how the announcement was made.)
  • The St. Paul, Minn., company couldn’t attract new investors or acquirers even though its newest cardiac monitor, which received 510(k) clearance in February, had won some fans among physicians who treat heart-rhythm conditions.

Medical, Health & Drugs

  • Allux Medical Inc., Menlo Park, Calif. – devices for treating upper airway and dermatological inflammatory diseases.
  • Archus Orthopedics Inc., Redmond, Wash. – a device for an alternative to spinal fusion surgery for the treatment of leg and back pain caused by moderate-to-severe degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Argolyn Bioscience Inc., Durham, N.C. – a peptide drug developer
  • Aspen Medtech Inc., Bellevue, Wash. – a medical device field to be determined.
  • Cogentus Pharmaceuticals Inc., Menlo Park, Calif. – a pill designed to provide protective cardiovascular benefits while reducing gastrointestinal side effects associated with anti-platelet therapy.
  • DiObex Inc., San Francisco – diabetes drug
  • Dynogen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Waltham, Mass. – a drug
  • Innovative Spinal Technologies Inc., Mansfield, Mass. – spinal-surgery device
  • OmniSonics Medical Technologies Inc., Wilmington, Mass. – an ultrasound technology that breaks up blood clots
  • Pegasus Biologics Inc., St. Paul, Minn. – (summary unclear about business)
  • Therative Inc., Livermore, Calif. – aesthetics device for acne treatment

Computers, Networks, Communications & Robotics

  • Autonomic Networks Inc. (Formerly known as Vernier Networks), Mountain View, Calif. – network access control products
  • BrightScale Inc. (Formerly known as Connex Technology), Sunnyvale, Calif. – The maker of chips used for video processing.
  • Cswitch Inc., Santa Clara, Calif. – communications semiconductors
  • Hammerhead Systems Inc., Mountain View, Calif. – a data-switching company
  • LucidEra Inc., San Mateo, Calif. – on-demand business intelligence
  • LV Sensors Inc., Emeryville, Calif. – maker of semiconductors, micro-electromechanical devices that were to be used as wireless sensors in automobiles.
  • MetaRAM Inc., San Jose – semiconductor designed to reduce the costs of servers and workstations by up to 90%
  • Nanochip Inc., Fremont, Calif. – memory circuits maker
  • Nevis Networks Inc., Mountain View, Calif. – protect local-area networks (LANs) from unauthorized users
  • nTag Interactive Corp., Boston – digital name tags that can communicate with each other wirelessly
  • OQO Inc., San Francisco – sophisticated pocket-sized PCsOQO
  • PulseWave RF Inc. – power amplifier chips for cellular base stations
  • Recordant Inc., Alpharetta, Ga. – sales analytics technology
  • SiCortex Inc., Maynard, Mass. – A high-performance computing
  • Silicon Navigator Corp., Cupertino, Calif. – electronic design automation software for chipmakers
  • TallyGenicom LP, Chantilly, Va. – Printing products
  • Woven Systems Inc., Santa Clara, Calif. – maker of a 10-gigabit Ethernet switch
  • Yoomba Inc., Menlo Park, Calif. – VoIP technology maker

Internet & Web

  • Coghead Inc., Redwood City, Calif. – a Web application company
  • Kadoink Inc., San Francisco – mobile content delivery and advertising platform
  • ManiaTV Inc., Los Angeles – produce Internet TV shows
  • NebuAd Inc., Redwood City, Calif. – online behavorial tracking
  • Ortega InfoSystems Inc., Fremont, Calif. – remote viewing of security facilities through a Web browser
  • ProQuo Inc., San Diego – filter out people’s junk mail, while continuing to receive the offers they want.
  • SafePage Corp., Menlo Park, Calif. – “secure personal portal” using online “widgets.”
  • SkyWi Inc., Fort Worth, Texas – Originally VOIP, but to dial-up and DSL Internet service
  • SplashCast Corp., Portland, Ore. – lets people watch television shows within social networking sites
  • Sotto Wireless Inc., Bellevue, Wash. – stealthy wireless service provider
  • TeeBeeDee Inc., San Francisco – social networking Web site for people over age 40
  • Tipjoy Inc., Cambridge, Mass. – Internet tip jar for digital content
  • Trusera Inc., Seattle – health Web site


  • Advanced Power Projects Inc., Fremont, Calif. – make power plants more efficient.
  • Elephant Pharmacy Inc., Berkeley, Calif. – the operator of health and wellness stores
  • Expresso Fitness Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif. – interactive stationary bicycle
  • GreenFuel Technologies Corp., Cambridge, Mass. – an algae greenhouse designed to use carbon dioxide emissions from a cement plant to create biofuel
  • TeachFirst Inc., Seattle – educational training company
  • Ugobe Inc., Eagle, Idaho – The maker of the Pleo robotic dinosaur – a lifelike, interactive toy (youtube)


    The interactive Pleo, robotic & life-like.

  • Ultreo Inc., Redmond, Wash. – battery-powered toothbrush that used ultrasound waveguide and sonic bristles
  • Verified Pass Identity Inc., New York – provider of faster airport security lines for approved travelers, which did business as Clear



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