Brief life for legal start-up

Summary:Flywheel Communications, a start-up providing secure management of legal documents and agreements, goes out of business barely eight months after its launch.

Flywheel Communications, a start-up providing secure management of legal documents and agreements, has gone out of business barely eight months after its launch.

Flywheel was the brainchild of Netscape Communications' former general counsel Roberta Katz, former Securities and Exchange Commissioner Joseph Grundfest, and former Arnold & Porter managing partner James Jones. The company built what it called the "Global Rights Network," an interface that let people conduct transactions with security and authentication.

The start-up went out of business this month after failing to secure additional funding in a hostile venture capital climate, a company representative said.

Original investors included Goldman Sachs, VantagePoint Venture Partners, Hildebrandt International, and Netscape co-founder and Loudcloud Chairman Marc Andreessen.

Sources close to the company said it suffered partly from the discretion insisted upon by its existing customers. Clients feared that being publicly associated with Flywheel would indicate that their company was engaged in litigation, depriving Flywheel of referrals and testimonials to drum up new business.

Katz, who steered Netscape through crucial parts of its antitrust complaint against Microsoft, is not alone among antitrust veterans who have moved from the law to other ventures.

Gary Reback and Susan Creighton, Wilson Sonsini attorneys whose work is credited with spurring the Justice Department to take antitrust action against Microsoft, have established high-profile antitrust afterlives, Reback with his telephony start-up Voxeo, and Creighton with an appointment to the Federal Trade Commission.

Topics: Start-Ups, Legal, Microsoft, Networking, Security

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