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Ten Years After the Technology Bubble Burst, LivePerson Emerges as a Leader Among Dotcom Survivors
Apr 7, 2010
The Last U.S.-Based Dotcom IPO Prior to the Market Sell-Off of April 2000, Made Vision a Reality by Dealing with Adversity

NEW YORK, April 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- LivePerson, Inc. (Nasdaq: LPSN), a provider of online engagement solutions that facilitate real-time assistance and expert advice, today celebrates its ten year anniversary as a publicly traded NASDAQ company.  The company went public on April 7, 2000, in the midst of the bursting of the dotcom bubble, and was among the last of such companies to be listed on the NASDAQ prior to the massive tech stock sell-off of April 2000.  Just one week after LivePerson's IPO, the NASDAQ experienced a cumulative loss of nearly 35% from its peak of 5,133 on March 10, 2000.  

"The week we went public, it felt like the world was ending," said LivePerson founder and CEO, Robert LoCascio.  "It was a wild time when the market would surge several hundred points then plummet several hundred points in the same week.  The market fluctuation and uncertainty were dizzying.  We held our IPO on Friday, April 7, and the following week the market took its biggest nosedive since peaking that March.  It felt like we went public, walked through the door, and then that door closed shut forever."

Shortly after the IPO, the company began implementing an aggressive restructuring plan to ensure its survival. This included acquiring an Israel-based competitor, and laying off two thirds of the workforce. The company went public at $8 a share; by July 2001 the stock was trading well below $1. Shortly after September 11, 2001, the company was able to eliminate its last major financial obligation -- a lease for a significant amount of office space -- when one of the tenants of the World Trade Center needed space in order to continue operations.  This restructuring plan enabled the company to break even in December 2001. Today, LivePerson is trading near its original IPO price of $8, but this time the company generates more than $87 million in annual revenue, is cash flow positive, and has over 400 employees in North America, Europe and Israel.

Following are some key highlights of how LivePerson survived in the aftermath of the dotcom implosion to become the profitable company it is today:

  • April 7, 2000 – LivePerson IPO is held at $8 per share amidst a tumultuous market; Company ends the year 2000 with $6.3m in revenue with a net loss of $43.3m.
  • April 14, 2000 – The NASDAQ plunges an additional 10%, its biggest point loss at that time, signaling the end of the speculative tech bubble.
  • October 13, 2000 – LivePerson acquires Israel-based HumanClick Ltd., which becomes the core technology platform and R&D center for LivePerson.  
  • 2001 – LivePerson restructures after its acquisition of HumanClick by consolidating R&D in Israel and downsizing staff by about 65 percent.  All customers are migrated to the newly acquired software platform, as LivePerson simultaneously raises prices in order to generate positive cash flow.  
  • December 2001 – LivePerson achieves positive monthly cash flow.
  • May 2003 – LivePerson stock trades above $1.00 for more than 10 consecutive days and maintains listing on the NASDAQ
  • 2005 – 2009 – Business-to-Business operations grows approximately 35% annually with expanding operating margins.  As of December 31, 2009, the company is debt free and has $46 million in cash.  

"I strongly believe one of the key reasons we are where we are today, is that we dealt with the reality of the market conditions of that time," continued Mr. LoCascio.  "I recall sitting on a panel with other dotcom CEOs and one of them showed us why his company would remain in business, and why ours (the dotcoms) would fail.  That reason, according to him, was that our business models were flawed with wild spending and little income.  We knew we had to make more than we spent, and the drastic measures we took beginning in late 2000 through 2002 ensured our survival.  We made our vision a reality by dealing with reality, and doing it quickly.  That, in addition to offering a relevant and valuable solution to what we knew would be a burgeoning ecommerce market, has made all the difference."

Today, LivePerson is a thriving company, with 2009 revenue exceeding $87 million.  The company is the leading provider of online engagement solutions.  Among its roster of clients are some of the world's leading financial institutions, retailers, telecommunications, travel and high-tech providers.  The company and its CEO are a testament to what will, perseverance and a vision can achieve amidst unimaginable obstacles.

About LivePerson

LivePerson ( ) is a provider of online engagement solutions that facilitate real-time assistance and expert advice. Connecting businesses and experts with consumers seeking help on the Web, LivePerson's hosted software platform creates more relevant, compelling and personalized online experiences. Every month, LivePerson's intelligent platform helps millions of people succeed online. More than 8,000 companies, including EarthLink, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Qwest, and Verizon, rely on LivePerson to maximize the impact of the online channel. LivePerson is headquartered in New York City.

SOURCE LivePerson, Inc.

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