Federally supported IT startup files Ch. 7

Tuliva office

Neighboring offices said Tuliva had already moved out, and the door was locked. Photo by Amy DiPierro.

An IT startup that offers job training courses has filed for Ch. 7 bankruptcy with $4.3 million in debt.

Tuliva, which advertises cloud storage, data processing, security services and IT certification prep courses on its website, filed for bankruptcy in Denver on Friday.

Started in 2010 by CEO Jonathan Parnell, Tuliva says it combines IT services like remote data storage and a help desk with job training and job placement for people who want to work in IT.

The startup is one of a number of companies providing job training in IT and advanced manufacturing under a $6.2 million federal grant awarded in 2014 to organizations in Colorado. The four-year initiative is called Technology Employment in Colorado Partnership, or TEC-P.

Anita Davis, the assistant director of workforce development for the city and county of Denver, said 40 job-seekers attended courses at Tuliva this spring under the TEC-P. Tuition ranged between $2,000 and $4,000 per person, she said.

Davis praised Tuliva as “a really great partner,” committed to teaching people without the financial means to gain IT skills.

“They were trying to balance that with the need to generate revenue and sustain the growth of their small company,” she said.

Court records show that Tuliva’s revenue doubled from $145,000 in 2014 to $295,000 from January through July 15 of this year.

But the startup reported only $161,000 in assets to balance out debt totaling $4.3 million. For cash, it listed just $11,000 in a Wells Fargo bank account in a July 15 bankruptcy filing.

Tuliva also faces a trio of legal proceedings. It has two Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints pending as well as a civil breach of contract complaint in Delaware, bankruptcy filings show.

Since last spring, Tuliva has announced a series of workforce training programs, including a training and career placement program for the blind with the Blind Institute of Technology and a 12-week summer course for young adults applying through the Arapahoe Douglas Workforce Center.

At the same time, Tuliva said it would expand IT services, hiring a vice president of security to help launch a cybersecurity specialty.

As recently as May, Parnell posed alongside Governor Hickenlooper at the signing of a workforce bill, grinning and wearing a tie to match his company’s light blue, yellow and black logo.

Tuliva is being represented by Lee M. Kutner of Kutner Brinen, P.C. Neither Tuliva, Parnell nor Kutner responded to messages seeking comment.

Parnell owns 80 percent of Tuliva, but minority shareholder Doug Bushell is now the company’s single largest creditor. Tuliva owes him $3.16 million, according to a court filing.

Local creditors include Tuliva chief operations officer Stephen Katsirubas, a former chief information officer at Crocs who Tuliva hired in February. Tuliva owes him $100,000, according to a court filing.

Additionally, the company reported owing $85,000 in rent payments going back to April to Reverdie, the LLC that owns its office at 2399 Blake St.

Court records show that the startup worked with business consultants in the past three months, paying Denver-based business consultants Townsend Wardlaw and Front Porch Consulting a combined $93,000. Tuliva also paid $85,000 to IQShare, a Castle Rock company that teaches IT certification prep courses.

Tuliva office

Tuliva office

Neighboring offices said Tuliva had already moved out,…

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