A Riverside, Calif., software company that has been a prime example of the kind of high-tech firms the city wanted to recruit has closed and its employees are seeking more than $200,000 in unpaid wages.
Surado Solutions Inc., started and led by Cal State San Bernardino alumni Sundip Doshi, specialized in selling a "customer relationship management" program that could help small and medium-size businesses keep track of their customers.
The company moved into its $8 million 35,000-square-foot headquarters on a hilltop in Riverside's University Research Park at 588 Technology Court in 2008.
On June 28, it was in foreclosure and auctioned for $1.06 million, a fraction of the total $6.6 million that was still owed, according to county property records.
The company owes 30 workers a total of $204,213, according to wage complaints filed by employees with the state's Department of Industrial Relations. The company and Doshi also face $277,612 in penalties and damages based on the same filings.
Surado ran into cash issues after a private investment fell through, said Rajan Kasetty, a friend of Doshi's and president and CEO of Riverside-based Terrafore.
Doshi also had been diagnosed with a rare skin disorder, pemphigus vulgaris, late last year, Kasetty said.
Doshi had been active in the community and was recently a "champion" of the city of Riverside's "Seizing our Destiny" campaign to encourage more innovation and recruitment of high-tech firms.
Attempts to reach Doshi at his home and on his cellphone were unsuccessful.
The city of Riverside had given Surado a $300,000 grant to convert 10,000 square feet of the company's headquarters into space that startup biotechnology firms could use.
Greg Lee, with the city of Riverside's office of economic development, said the grant came from the federal Housing and Urban Development agency. Surado received the funds and plans were made for the incubator space but it was never built, he said.
Lee said the city is working with HUD on what happens now that $201,000 of the funds have been spent and if the city may be on the hook for repaying the grant.
Riverside County's Economic Development Agency gave the company $50,000 in August 2008 to modernize its headquarters with high-bandwith fiber and to install a security system.
The agency's spokesman Tom Freeman said the grant included a provision that would require the amount to be paid back if the company was in breach or in default before the end of 2013. The company was also required to create five new full-time jobs in five years.
"They came up short," Freeman said in an email. "It appears we have an option to pursue repayment but we will have to weigh the cost of litigation."
The company had tax liens against it since 2007, most recently from the IRS in June.
Surado received its first notice of default for the amount it owed on its headquarters in June 2010 and another in November of that year.
Last month, it was bought in auction by Christopher T. Graham of Graham Financial LLC in Atlanta.
Another Inland technology firm, Agiline in Ontario, licensed the Surado CRM software in May after hiring some of the company's former employees and learning about Surado's financial distress.
"I know it was quite dire when we made this agreement," said Emmanuel Mathew, Agiline's CEO. He said it can be difficult to piece a software company's product back together after servers are unhooked and moved and he had wanted to preserve Surado's software. Under the licensing agreement, Agiline is selling Surado's CRM as Agiline CRM.
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