I follow several Software as a Service (SaaS) web content management vendors for the The Web CMS Report. This includes SaaS vendors Clickability, CrownPeak, OmniUpdate and Marqui, a small SaaS-based content management and campaign management vendor headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. In the last version of The Web CMS Report 2008, we recommended that potential buyers of Marqui "perform due diligence before signing deals." While this is good advice when preparing to make any software acquisition, Marqui's previous management overhauls and financial secrecy presented warning signs of potential financial difficulty.
Recently, I was alerted to TechVibes' news that Marqui was in receivership (Investopedia defines receivership as: "A type of bankruptcy a company enters when a receiver is appointed by bankruptcy courts or creditors to run the company.").
Our multiple attempts at contacting Marqui through calls and e-mails have been unreturned. To date, there has been no official communication from Marqui. There have been no Marqui press releases since March and no blog entries on their company blog since September of 2007. Customers we've contacted have remained mum.
One of the arguments against the adoption of a SaaS CMS is exactly this scenario: what happens to my content if my SaaS provider goes out of business? You can typically export all your content via XML, but that's only a part of your web publishing effort, which includes templates, layouts, access controls, and so forth, all of which need to be recreated in a different system. It remains to be seen what will happen to Marqui and how their clients will fare, but buyers certainly need to do their digging on financial stability of any Web CMS partner.
The other lesson here is not to assume that outside funding will automatically improve a vendor's long-term viability. Marqui somehow blew through a considerable investment of approximately $11 million in venture capital, without much to show for it but a long list of creditors.
We will continue to do some digging of our own to find out Marqui's plan for their existing customers.