vNet Officially Dead: Founder Pays $599k to City, Files for Bankruptcy
Bill Beierwaltes, founder of now-defunct Colorado vNet, settles lawsuit with Loveland, Colo., which had paid for the home automation firm to stay in town. ‘Serial entrepreneur’ files for bankruptcy.
Five years after the city of Loveland, Colo., gave Colorado vNet $900,000 to keep the fledgling home automation company in town, the city settled a lawsuit against founder Bill Beierwaltes for $599,000.
Beierwaltes wrote the check on May 10, shortly before filing Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, according to Loveland’s Reporter Herald.
In 2008, Beierwaltes threatened to move vNet – a home automation, multiroom audio and lighting control company – out of town if Loveland didn’t pay the company to stay.
All told, Loveland paid vNet $900,000 in cash and incentives, of which $500,000 would be personally guaranteed by Beierwaltes.
When he sold his vastly-scaled-down company to Russound in 2009, Beierwaltes maintained that any obligations to Loveland were passed on to the new owner. Russound sold vNet in 2012 to former employee Mike Anderson, who renamed the company 3vNet.
With the Loveland lawsuit settled, the vNet chapter of home automation history is closed for good. Or is it? Beierwaltes has always promised to sue the new vNet owners to recoup money from any lawsuits. But even if he could recoup, the money might be handed over to his creditors.
Beierwaltes, known around town as “serial entrepreneur,” launched Biochar Now LLC in 2012. Biocharring is the process of “burning” wood without smoke using an oxygen-free chamber.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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