“Adapt or Die.”
That’s the mantra of Tim Cahill, CEO of Frontera Corporation, formerly known as Homepage.com, which announced today a strategic shift in business model to become a third-party ASP, accompanied by a round of layoffs and the name change.
“Too many companies stick to a business plan they started with even when it proves not to be working,” Cahill told ASP News. “We’ve spent a good 18 months building our foundation, and now we know we’re not going to build a house of cards.”
The company laid off 30 of its 110 employees at the end of October. The “reorientation” affected the tech, product development, customer service and support departments. “It was not a cash-constraint triggered layoff, but a strategic layoff. The composition of the company had been weighted toward our proprietary homepage application.”
Frontera’s new plan is to host third-party, customer-facing applications, such as Vignette’s V/5 eBusiness Application Platform and E.piphany’s E.5 platform of personalization and data mining technologies. Although the company will still support existing customers of its homepage product, it will not be a focus of the company going forward, Cahill said.
The shift in business plan is the second in the company’s history. The idealab!-backed company began in April 1999 offering free business to consumer websites, similar to Geocites, with advertising revenue as the primary revenue source. Then, beginning in the fall of 1999, the company began moving toward becoming a proprietary ASP, outsourcing its homepage application and collecting licensing fees from clients like Alta Vista, ICQ, BET and Discovery Communications.
“The deconstruction of our B2C model began in the fall and continued through to the spring,” Cahill said. “The sense we had as we neared the summer was that the homepage application is a partial solution.”
At the same time that the company began considering hosting third-party applications, Vignette entered the scene with a partnership proposal, Cahill said. “It came as a natural progression. Clearly we had developed an expertise for hosting applications.”
Frontera hosts the entire V/5 eBusiness Application Platform, composed of applications that manage site content and build dynamic online relationships with consumers. Elements of the platform include content management, personalization, relationship marketing, content and application syndication and mobile communications.
Frontera now has 2 major clients under the Vignette partnership, Pioneer Electronics and Conseco Services. Frontera also inked a deal with E.piphany in October to host E.piphany’s E.5 platform of personalization and data mining technologies.
Frontera will host E.piphany’s series of personalization, analytics, campaign management, wireless applications and other CRM platforms. Composed of real-time analytics, E.piphany’s E.5 system allows companies to more precisely target defined customer groups.
“You can expect to see more partnerships with select ISVs down the road,” Cahill said. “All of them will be in the customer-facing ebusiness category.”