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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 4, 2008 at 4:26 PM

QL2 chief executive out, split over company’s direction

This is a little awkward, but the chief executive of QL2, the company I profiled Monday, quit after a disagreement with its founder.

Glenn Hasen said he left Friday when the company opted not to pursue outside investment that felt was necessary to bulk up and continue its rapid growth.

I left a message for Kelvin Chin, the founder, but haven’t received his comment yet. Hasen said he’ll remain an adviser and expects Chin will assume leadership of the company.

Hasen said he’s “still very bullish” on the company but for it to grow from the $10 million a year range to the $20 million a year range “it’s going to require outside capital.”

“They decided not to go that direction, which I’d spent eight months working toward,” Hasen said.

Hasen, 47, said he’ll take a break and then decide whether to join another company in Seattle or return to Silicon Valley.

QL2 has a rare opportunity, Hasen said.

“It’s very unfortunate that they don’t want to go in the direction I was hoping they would go in,” he said. “It’s not a negative thing for the company. It’s very hard for companies today in enterprise software to be in a position for explosive growth – you don’t see it very often. You see it in the B2C world but not in the B2B world.”

Regarding the outside capital, Hasen said “it changes the conversation of the board> it injects a level of discipline that entrepreneurs aren’t used to when they’re making decisions about their own company.”

Without the outside funding, QL2 isn’t likely to hire as many people this year, Hasen said. He said it will probably hire a few more technical people but not the 22 he was planning.

My guess is the company will do OK either way, unless this signals a deeper problem. But I’m teed off that they didn’t let me know in time to change the column, which began with an interview I had with Hasen on Feb. 20.

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