You may remember as one of those deals that seemed too good to be true…It seems the Goel brothers of dakota imaging fame are in a bit of hot water with WebMD. I for one, remember being startled at how attractive the sale of dakota to WebMD looked on paper. Yes, Sandeep Goel was a gentleman and a pleasure to interview, but I also remember classifying him as an unreliable source after some revenue projections he gave me turned out to be completely off base and then he later denied ever making such projections.
I don’t think there is any quesiton that dakota has some pretty good forms processing software. However, it was pretty much only installed in customized one-off type solutions and dakota’s plans for expansion seemed to run into snags. I remember a joint-marketing deal with Top Image Systems early in my career, where after I interviewed both parties, it was apparent the thing was never going to work, as they each saw the deal in completely different ways. Then, there was dakota’s big jump into the ASP space, which reportedly cost them a bundle – and well, you all know what happened to first generation ASPs.
This ASP move, however, seemed to actually work out, when Web MD appeared as a white night and bought the company for a pretty attractive price last year… Lo and behold, it may not turn out so nicely after all. The Goels, are of course denying the whole thing…, but I have to wonder why would somebody the size of WebMD be worried about paying a couple millions dollars out them if they indeed got what they thought they were getting.