Thursday, May 22, 2008

ANTs in my pants

You know, I really don't know what to make of these guys.  I mean, we all know they are rowboat adrift in the sea.  But, have you ever seen a more scatterbrained company in your life?  I  wrote about them on September 19, 2007 because I got a kick out of their "no news" press releases.  I have never seen more thinly veiled attempts to make themselves bigger than they are.  But, up until now, they were merely ants.  After all, they are a publicly traded company but their revenue numbers have been pathetic.  In 2005, they did almost a half million dollars in revenue.  That's right, I said a half million, or $467,000 to be exact.  In 2006, it got worse at $288,000 in revenue and last year they did $360,000. 

Yet, they continue to drone on about their "consortium" which, from the outside simply looks like a beta program.  Its no consortium.   They made a big deal out of a Cadbury Schweppes deal and I thought they were getting somewhere, but that amounted to a single, small app that was nothing. 

And, they continue to mention a major deal with IBM that COULD be worth millions over time.  You can read about it in every SEC filing.  But, it has never materialized.  And, the last time I checked, IBM's money and backing went to... US!

They announced a major Oracle partnership, but Oracle never acknowledges their existence.  I think they simply signed up for the partner program at oracle and paid the $1500.  End of story.  (for details on these releases, check out my previous post about ANTs)

But, they continue to get more private funding... and this quarter has seen some real action...finally.  Sybase is paying them $1.4 million to do whatever they want with the entire product line from ANTs.  Not a bad deal really for Sybase, though, had they waited another 12 months, I think they could have gotten for free in the fire sale.  This means that Sybase can do whatever they want with the product, including reselling it without paying another dime to ANTs.  Sounds desperate if you ask me.

Then, this month they announced that they were acquiring Inventa Technologies.  a professional services company.  And of course, in order to do that, they needed MORE financing.  Throwing good money after bad, if you ask me.  At some point, you just have to say enough already and recognize its time to move on.

But, it gets better.  Today ANTs announced that they have sold 1/2 of their product suite (along with a few bodies) to Four J's Software.  Why would Four J's want it?  Because it is the underlying technology of their Genero db product.

So, I haven't taken the time to figure out the total numbers yet, but it seems that ANTs has paid millions for Inventa and yet have basically sold everything to everyone else.  Yes, they still have the compatibility product.  But, so does Sybase.  And I don't suspect that anyone else is going to come knocking on their door...other than the shareholders... ;)


David said...

Derek, I have no idea what your vendetta is with ANTS, but you seem to have twisted the story a bit. Following the announcements of late one can see what earnings look like in the next few quarters. I cannot argue that earnings have been a long time coming, but the Sybase deal was worth $1.4 million. Plus add the $3.5 million from 4J's comes to a little less than $5 million. Then Inventa had about $6 million in revenue last year and looks to improve a bit over that for 2008 puts earnings at about $11 million or more. With ANY revenue from licensing the ACS the revenue picture looks even better. So, I think maybe you have elected to selectively ignore and distort the information that is available, for what reason I do not know.

As for the consortium with Oracle users, it was presented that the test would be for one application. Most seem to have completed that test and have indicated satisfactory results with positive feedback. How that translates into additional business is yet to be seen, but at the shareholders meeting Mr. Kozak indicated that we should be seeing the results from some of these companies sooner than later. As for IBM, the only license I have seen from EDB was shelved. But for the next four years ANTS gets 50% of the revenue from the IBM joint deal with the Navy and sold the expense for those earnings to 4J's. That's even more revenue not even included above.

As for the licensing to Sybase, I understand that to be the ADS only with no compatibility component. So now Sybase can use 4J's ADS and we were paid for it. And with all the different combinations for the compatibility server, ADS was hardly 50% of the company.

Not trying to be confrontational but as I see it EDB announced their flagship product as an Oracle to Postgres server! Postgres already lost the open source war to My SQL which was acquired by SUN for $1b. Now EDB must continue to give away their product and hope some company will pay them for support. From what I can glean, all of their revenue, and there's very little to speak of, comes from supporting a dead product where only small apps reside. Dead end strategy which is the reason for the recent CEO replacement.

So I guess my point is that I will stay with the rowboat that is growing into a ship. David Ott/ ANTS shareholder

Anonymous said...

Derek, most everything you've said is absolutely dead on, except for the bit about the ACS and Sybase. Call Raj Nathan at Sybase and ask HIM. I have.

By the way, who do you work for...or can I just google you?


David Ott said...

siddesh, I haven't spoken with Raj, but I suspect that he may have an ax to grind with ANTs. The first compatibility server that ANTs was asked to produce was the Sybase to Oracle product. If I worked for Sybase I wouldn't like that very much either. It would be interesting to get his take if he can be persuaded. /david

Derek M. Rodner said...

Look at the amount of debt ANTS had to take on to get that$11 million. And, the Sybase deal doesn't allow them to get anymore money.

As far as EnterpriseDB is concerned, I no longer work there, so I can not speak on their behalf. But, you couldn't be more wrong. Come talk to me in the fall and we'll see what's up.

Derek M. Rodner said...


Thanks for the comments. I am now the VP of marketing for PERFMAN, a cross-platform enterprise-wide tool for systems management, monitoring and modeling.

But, I just left EnterpriseDB where I ran their marketing.

David Ott said...

Derek, I agree that ANTs has been a long time getting to market and a costly time as well, but they did not have $40 to $50M in VC money to speed the process as many small start-ups have. So, to now have a product and recurring revenues from the Inventa purchase should give them a much needed source of capital generation and allow work toward the ACS rather than funding needs. The sale of the ADS license to Sybase did not eliminate further revenue from them, but according to a press release by Raj Nathan, Sybase is working with ANTs as a partner in develping a version of the ACS."

Quoting from their web site, "The initial focus of the Sybase-ANTs partnership will be to develop a version of ANTs’ ACS to help Microsoft® SQL Server customers to take advantage of Sybase ASE. “Given the already common source code lineage between Sybase ASE and Microsoft SQL Server, the ANTs Compatibility Server will facilitate an easy migration for Microsoft customers limited by SQL Server’s scalability for mission-critical applications, which is a strength of Sybase ASE 15,” added Dr. Nathan."

I don't wish any ill on EnterpriseDB and I hope they do show some promise by the fall. Maybe by then we will both be talking a little differently.

Good luck in your new position with PERFMAN. /david