Zingdom and NanoCoolers Close

Zingdom Communications (f.k.a. Convoq Inc.), which was launched five years ago to develop software to enable online meetings, shut down at the end of November, company co-founder Christopher Herot wrote in his detailed blog.

“While the company was an innovator in online meetings, and had a core group of enthusiastic customers, it never achieved the traction that would have provided the necessary return on capital, and the investors, patient as they were, eventually called it quits,” he wrote.

The Lexington, Mass.-based company raised about $30 million over three rounds, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of PE Week), from Bay Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners and undisclosed individual investors. Its most recent round was a $13 million infusion in December 2005.

The company was launched in 2002 to develop messaging software to bring people together for online meetings. Recently, the company was focused on developing a Facebook application, called Spark, that allowed users to contribute and access information from the Web, instant messenging or a mobile phone. Herot says that a framework was in place to add photographs and voice to the Spark program.

Bay Partners, which became a first-time investor in the company in the 2005 round, has earmarked millions of dollars for investments in startups creating applications for Facebook. The program, called AppFactory, was officially launched this year.

Herot says that the company is no longer developing the Facebook app, but the source code and patent portfolio are up for sale and the engineers, including Mark Waks, “are eager to continue the project should a suitable purchaser emerge.”

But it wasn’t the only venture-backed company to shutter before the end of the year.

NanoCoolers Inc., an Austin, Texas-based developer of cooling technology for semiconductors, has shut down. The move came after the company’s investors voted to cancel a new fund-raising drive.

NanoCoolers had raised about $19 million in total VC funding since 2002 from Austin Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

The company also received a $3 million loan from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.

NanoCoolers, which had 15 employees, was started by former IBM Corp. researcher Uttam Ghoshal to deal with the increasing amounts of heat generated by next-generation microprocessors. The goal was to apply the technology to everything from computers to refrigerators and climate-control systems.

“It was a huge market opportunity, but also a huge technical bet,” Krishna Srinivasan, a partner with Austin Ventures, told the Austin Statesman.

Dan Primack contributed to this story.