May 04, 2011
Another One Bites the Dust: think3 Declares Bankruptcy
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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This time frame was also the high point for think3, and it didn’t last for long. It turned out that Costello could not work his magic one more time with think3 as he had with Cadence. Same smart guy; totally different markets.

After the Costello era, the company drifted from Silicon Valley to Ohio with an relative lack of presence. As a matter of fact, many MCAD industry watchers started counting down the end of think3. As a matter of fact, it virtually dropped off all the radar screens of industry pundits and customers.

Last October, though, think3 sort of surfaced when the following press announcement was released:

Think3, Inc., a provider of design and modeling software, will join the family of Versata affiliated software companies. Think3 provides technology that links three separate design areas: the concept, its development, and the finished product.

Think3 will continue to operate as a stand-alone corporation within the Versata family of software businesses. Atlas Capital IB LLC acted as financial advisor to Versata on the transaction. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Scott Brighton has been named chief executive officer of Think3. Brighton most recently served as president of Trilogy Enterprises.

“We are very excited to announce Think3 as the newest member of the Versata family,” says Brighton. “Our focus now is to grow the company by investing in our most important asset—our customers. Our goal is to make our entire customer base, which includes over 31,000 customers worldwide, completely successful with Think3.“

Chris Smith, the newly appointed Chief Operating Officer of Think3, brings more than 20 years of global acquisition and consolidation experience to the position.

“Think3 now has access to Versata’s largest asset, its extensive support and development network,” says Smith, Think3 COO. “That allows us to create success for Think3 and its customers by drastically accelerating product development and improving customer support.”

Versata started in the early 1990s as a software consulting company called Vision Software. Over time it developed and sold software for Microsoft Visual Basic development market. Around 1994, it began development of an integrated development environment for applications. It included a GUI builder and a business rules engine that enabled developers to create a Web application rapidly using MS SQL Server or Oracle in the backend. The product, called Vision Jade, was released around 1997.

Vision Software changed its key product and company name to Versata, went public in March 2000 and, and was worth an estimated $4 billion—astonishing considering that the company had revenues of about $60 million and was losing a lot of money; but this was during the dot-com bubble. Despite hard times, Versata managed to stay alive and maintain its customer base.

In mid-2005, the company was notified by NASDAQ that it no longer met NASDAQ's requirements for continued listing, related to maintenance of a minimum amount of shareholder's equity, market value, or net income. Rather than continue to focus on these requirements, the company decided to move to the OTC in order to remain publicly traded.

In December 2005, Versata announced that Austin-based Trilogy, Inc. had made an offer to acquire the company. That deal was consummated in February 2006, taking the company private.

Trilogy then proceeded to merge portions of Trilogy, specifically, Trilogy Technology Group, into Versata and began acquiring other companies, reorganizing dramatically and offshoring most technical positions to its office in Bangalore, India.

From 2006 to 2008, Versata continued to make acquisitions mostly in US. Rumor had it that most of the employees in the acquired companies were laid-off with the majority work being offshored to its India office in Bangalore.

In 2009, Versata made another major overhaul of its business model when it asked all its employees in India to work as contractors through oDesk for a gDev which is an entity incorporated by Trilogy to manage its outsourcing activities. The only employees left in Versata were the ones in the US.

Versata was involved in a couple other legal entanglements, and things stayed relatively quiet for the company until its intent to acquire think3 was rumored and announced. Why would a company like Versata with its history want to acquire a company like think3? Neither think3 or Versata would say.

The whole think3 acquisition by Versata started started smelling fishy when requests for information were ignored, such as the one below from

“As many others have stated in trying to determine if think3 software has any future, I have also had no luck in reaching Versata, even after several calls to their PR department. It’s alway — “we will get back to you soon” or “the executives are busy dealing with customers.” The few folks in Italy just refer me to Versata in the USA. Hardly a way to do business. Especially when we have the ears of their customers, or I hope we do. If I had the poor luck of having think3 installed after these brushoffs, I would RUN to their nearest competitor.”

Ray translated from French a note sent to him anonymously by an unconfirmed source, supposedly sent by Scott Brighton, CEO of Versata. Here is the translation direct from Google about the demise of the former think3 business entity. The translation is rough but the primary idea comes thought. He added some words in brackets [ ] to clarify the translation.

Think3 Customers and Partners –

As you could learn this week, the entity distribution Italian think3 has been placed in liquidation, the first step to a possible bankruptcy. This unfortunate outcome is the result [of] ineffective management by the previous

owners. This will not affect the product development or support [for] customer[s]. Versata, which is independent of think3 SRL and has the mark think3 and productive assets, these commercial operations continue as usual.

To ensure that our customers and partners undergo the minimum disturbances, we are implementing preventive measures immediately.

On the one hand, customers previously served by think3 Italy will now served by Versata. This is good news for customers – Versata is a global software company, financially stable, with development resources and support widely higher. Customers can expect a more rapid innovation in the software, better support and new [product] offers. We will send another letter soon explaining options available to you: stay on your program Support existing switch to WOW our support Standard, or evolve on one WOW programs Premium – Gold or Platinum.

Secondly, we integrated the website into think3 website Versata to family. The old site, will no longer be accessible.

Regarding customer service, as you know the function support Customer service was migrated in February on[to] the support site Versata Cloud9. We are now being migrated to the feature licenses Customer Service Support Website Versata also.

Today, you can submit your requests for licenses by opening a ticket on or by sending an email to
Email Contact. The site will be Customer Service more accessible. For more information on support or Cloud9 how to gain access, you can download the FAQ here.

Finally, we migrated all the email addresses on think3 [to] Versata. All email addresses still exist, but they are @ to
Email Contact place. For example,
Email Contact becomes now
Email Contact. You can not contact anyone [at] think3′s old address, but the same alias to the new address Versata will reach the same people as before.

To explain all the changes taking place and respond to questions you’re likely to have, we planned a webinar (Conference virtual) May 3, 2011. I will explain to you personally our plan, what we have done, what all the changes mean and answer questions from customers and partners. I hope you will join me for this important session.

You can find the full MCADCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.

Review Article
  • Nainar May 05, 2011
    Reviewed by 'nainar Arumuga'
    While your articles covers chronology of events happened in the last decade or so about Think3, the focus is more on not touching anything controversial.Think3 did make more than the $15 million your quoting, but being a private company never declared it. 2009 had been a tough year and the company did go through tough times, but there existed a customer base, some of them actually software product companies. The reason Think3 went bankrupt is not because they did not have assets, but the assets were transferred to another company in dubious ways which is why the Courts of Italy have taken cognisance and reversed the decisions. The truth behind the bankruptcy will come out in the open soon. Most of the mainstream media and social media have stayed away from finding what happened, for the fear of repercussions till one blogger stood up to present the story and provided a platform for Think3 customers also to express their views unitedly. MCADCafe should provide such forums but unfortunately that was not the case but this article providing one side of the story.

      2 of 3 found this review helpful.
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