Ottawa-based Diablo Technologies files for bankruptcy

Tech

Despite winning a long legal battle against a U.S. competitor and reportedly raising more than $99 million from investors, Ottawa-based Diablo Technologies has closed its doors after almost 15 years in business.

According to documents provided to OBJ by trustee Ernst & Young, the semiconductor firm officially filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 8. The documents list zero assets for the firm, save for $39,867 cash-in-hand.

The firm owes roughly $14.5 million to a long list of creditors that includes Ottawa-based Celtic House Venture Partners and several other local firms including Cadence Design Systems and Lloyd Douglas Solutions.

The list of unsecured creditors also includes Diablo’s employees, who are collectively owed $935,264 in severance and termination payments.

Celtic House’s David Adderley, who represented the investment firm on Diablo’s board, declined to comment for this story. Attempts to reach Mark Stibitz, who served at Diablo’s CEO, and former chief executive and co-founder Riccardo Badalone, as well as lawyers representing the firm, were unsuccessful.

According to Crunchbase, Diablo Technologies raised $99 million since its inception in 2003. Its most recent series-C round raised a total $37 million for the firm in 2016.

Diablo employed 88 people in Ottawa at its height in 2014, according to the OBJ’s Book of Lists. The firm made its home at 80 Aberdeen St., just off Preston Street, in the same building previously leased by Invest Ottawa.

Diablo’s semiconductors, which used flash-based memory processing, were hailed as a way to help data centres “do more with less,” as large firms such as IBM adopted its solution.

In 2013, Diablo entered into a long and bitter legal battle with California-competitor Netlist, which sued Diablo alongside partner SanDisk for alleged patent infringement and stolen trade secrets. Those claims, which then-CEO Mr. Badalone called “baseless,” would lead to an injunction on Diablo that prevented it from producing selling its chips for a brief time.

The Ottawa-based firm won that court case in 2015, and defended against subsequent appeals in 2016, though Netlist continues its appeals process against other firms listed in the suit.

The first creditors meeting will be held Dec. 21 at Ernst & Young’s offices on Bank Street.