SavaJe Falls on Hard Times

SavaJe Technologies, a well-known micro Java development shop, has hit bottom and is seeking additional funding.

SavaJe Technologies, once the darling of the Java devices community, is now looking at bad times and struggling to keep its doors open.

SavaJe, based in Chelmsford, Mass., makes Java operating systems for cell phones and was selected as the vendor with the showcase technology at JavaOne last May.

Now the company is close to closing its doors as it seeks additional funding from venture capitalists.

The company, which employs about 140 people, had furloughed its developers and some other employees early in October, asking them to use up their vacation time or go on unpaid leave while SavaJe moved to find its way out of its financial troubles.

A company spokesperson would not comment on the status of the furlough, referring calls to the companys board of directors, including executives at its venture capital firms.

However, sources indicate that SavaJe may in fact have shut down operations entirely.

SavaJe investors were just as reluctant to speak on the companys status.

"I am not in a position to make comments at this time," said Jeff Strasberg, chief financial officer at Ridgewood Capital.

Founded in 1999, SavaJe set out to make Java-based operating systems for PDAs and then moved to support cell phones.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about the SavaJe Java phone.

The company became a poster child for the power of Sun Microsystems Javas micro edition (Java Platform Micro Edition), as well as a mainstay at the annual JavaOne conference.

At the 2006 JavaOne conference in San Francisco in May, Sun named the SavaJe-based Jasper S20 mobile phone, manufactured by Group Sense Limited, the "Device of the Show."

Several Sun officials, including James Gosling, the creator of Java, demonstrated the device during keynote addresses at the conference.

According to SavaJe documents and published reports, SavaJe has raised about $71 million in funding over the years, with investors such as New Venture Partners, Murray Hill, N.J.; Ridgewood Capital, Ridgewood, N.J.; RRE Ventures, New York; and Investcorp Technology Ventures, New York; as well as the investment units of carriers such as Orange SA and Vodafone Group.

Meanwhile, SavaJe developers, among some of the most coveted in the micro Java space, are said to not be waiting on news from the company and are beginning to entertain inquiries from the community at large, sources said.

Calls to the SavaJe main number are answered by an automated system, although an operator will pick up if requested.

However, attempts to reach various individuals were met with voicemail and no calls returned.

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