Is Cornami Inc at the verge of bankruptcy in 2020?

This post was written by eli on November 2, 2020
Posted Under: oddities

I’ve been a freelancer for 20 years, and maybe because I’ve picked my clients well, I’ve never been through anything like this. In the FPGA industry, so it seems, there is no such thing as not paying. I’m used to agreeing upon assignments worth tens of thousands of dollars over the phone with my clients, never worrying about whether promises will be kept.

My rule of thumb has always been, that if someone can maintain an intelligent conversation with me on an FPGA project, this person works in a company that can back it up financially. And it has worked so far.

But then came Cornami. A relatively simple project, 25,000 USD, split into 50% at kickoff, and 50% after delivery and testing. The first payment went through fine, I did my little thing, sent the requested materials slightly earlier than scheduled, and waited a bit. Having been a bit early, it’s fine that they don’t check it right away. And then some time passed, and then, eventually, I got an OK from the company to issue an invoice for the second payment.

Usually, this is when I consider the deal to be done, and getting the money moved from one bank account to another being just a matter of formalities. This is the way it always works in this industry.

So an invoice went to their mailbox almost a year ago, in December 2019. Nothing happened. This is way before Corona meant anything but beer. So I started with some friendly reminders to my main contacts in the company: Paul Master, who requested the project, and Taylor Thomas, who has his hands on the financing. I received numerous promises to have the funds wired, each time with a different promised future date. Several times my emails remained unanswered.

At some point, I was told that Cornami was in the middle of a funding process, and that I will get paid as soon as they’ve done with it. And indeed, the company announced a $26 Million funding round in April 2020, as well as recruiting Wally Rhines as their new CEO. On the face of it, the company is rolling in full speed.

But in reality, they don’t pay a debt of 12,500 USD and don’t answer emails, which is the behavior of a company on the verge of bankruptcy.

It’s November 2020 when writing this. I’ve emailed every single person I could think of, the new CEO included. I’ve had an awkward phone conversation with Taylor Thomas, and more than anything, I can’t figure out how a flashy company like Cornami, with this huge funding round, fails to pay an invoice they agreed upon to begin with.

This is the first time ever that I have to make efforts to collect a debt. And more than anything, I’m trying to figure out how this could happen.

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