Making a Turnaround

November 2002

In the November 2002 cover story, "Stings Like a Bee," we wrote about Thomas Charlton, CEO of Tidal Software, and his controversial, pugnacious management style. The article described the aggressive sales tactics and 70-hour workweeks he required. Charlton resigned as the CEO of Tidal Software shortly after the article was published. Since that time, he has guided two companies through acquisitions, including VoiceGenie Technologies, a Toronto company that makes voice-recognition software.

Recently, one of the VoiceGenie founders, Bruce Eidsvik, wrote to Inc. about the turnaround Charlton had led at his company. "Prior to Thomas's arrival," he wrote, "revenue was essentially flat, our losses were significant, and morale was in the dumps." VoiceGenie began earning a profit six months after Charlton took the helm in 2004, according to Eidsvik. Turnover was low, he says, and annual revenue increased 55 percent in 12 months and reached $17 million. And Charlton's leadership style? At VoiceGenie, he was not the man captured in Inc., says Eidsvik. Charlton, who is currently a consultant at Insight Venture Partners, a New York City-based venture capital firm, declined to comment on his management style, saying that his results--and low turnover numbers--speak for themselves. --Ryan McCarthy

The Cash Keeps On Coming

July 2005

In July 2005, we followed Chris Cashman on his journey to raise $500,000 for Protez Pharmaceuticals, a company developing an antibiotic to fight drug-resistant infections. Protez had previously closed one round of venture funding, and Cashman hoped to secure enough angel money to keep the doors open until he could raise a second round. Cashman eventually won over the members of Robin Hood Ventures, a Philadelphia angel investing group, which, at presstime, had agreed to invest $500,000 in Protez Pharmaceuticals.

Cashman says Robin Hood's participation helped him raise about $1 million more from other angels. Subsequently, Protez raised $21 million in venture capital. Earlier this year, the company's lead compound started Phase I clinical trials in Switzerland. Meanwhile, Robin Hood has had two successful exits. A software company backed by Robin Hood was acquired, producing a 40 percent return on an investment of $300,000, and a health care company began trading over the counter last December, which allowed some members to cash out and recoup four times their investment. Now, Robin Hood is creating a new fund devoted to small, early-stage investments. --Jim Melloan