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The Printcafe Securities Fraud:
A 1/3 $BILLION Dot-Com Disaster!

  • Printcafe was a get-rich-quick 'dot.con' securities fraud -- that flamed out catastrophically after the Internet Bubble burst

Printcafe fraudulently postured as an 'eBay' for the print­ing industry, but it was really a fast­buck IPO scheme that spectacularly flamed out after the Dot-Com bubble burst in March 2000!

In their SEC IPO documents, Printcafe's officers lied to the investing public about having created "e-commerce" for printers and about having a "474% revenue increase," 1999-2000. (In reality, Printcafe never had a functional 'e-commerce' product ... and in reality, Printcafe's revenue cratered by $30 million, from $55 million in 1999 down to $25 million in 2000!)

Printcafe's officers (Guttman, Olin, Whang, and Hyland) also angled to become instant multi-million­aires with 'insider corporate loans' of the sort later made illegal by Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

Printcafe's officers wrote themselves huge loans (as large as $1 million!) from the company treasury, in order to purchase multiple millions of pre-IPO Printcafe shares as cheap as 23 cents per share for a stock that would later go public at $10 per share.

But the Dot-Com bubble burst in early 2000, slamming the IPO window shut on Printcafe's grasping fingers.

$119 million in debt, Printcafe then had to delay its life-or-death initial public stock offering for two more years.

Having already reverse-split 66-to-1, NASDAQ:PCAF got a paltry $37.5 million in the WSJ's "worst IPO of 2002," plunging over 90% from $10 to 91 cents per share in just five months.

In October 2003, the insolvent Printcafe Frankenstein "roll-up" of multiple competing software companies was sold to a predator (EFI) for dimes on the dollar in a fire-sale auction (after an ugly lawsuit slugfest) while facing federal class action charges of securities fraud.

SEC reports show that at the time of its liquidation by acquisition, Printcafe's accumulated deficit (accountant-speak for "cumulative loss") was $250 million -- equiv­alent to $318 million in 2015 dollars.

There was a 'smoking gun' internal memo that exposed Printcafe's vaunted "ecommerce solution" for the non-functional vapor­ware that it was. Rather than go on trial in Pittsburgh's federal district court, Printcafe's officers and directors settled the se­cur­ities fraud charges.

EFI allies within Printcafe created a 'poison pill' stock issue -- allowing EFI to scavenge Printcafe's smoldering carcass, and to thereby establish the EFI print industry software mono­poly that endures today, a decade later.

$1 in 2000 = $1.37 in 2015     $1 in 2003 = $1.28 in 2015