||This article has an unclear citation style. (November 2011)|
|Industry||systems integrator and internet consulting|
|Fate||merged, then bankrupt|
|Key people||Bob Bernard, CEO|
marchFIRST, Inc. was a short-lived international systems integrator and internet consulting company at the tail end of the dot-com boom. marchFIRST was a Nasdaq traded public company whose peak stock price reached $52. By the time the company filed for bankruptcy, it traded for pennies ($0.16 on March 28, 2001).
MarchFIRST company was formed on March 1, 2000 by the merger of Whittman-Hart, a respected systems integrator employing thousands of consultants in the US, Canada, and Europe, and USWeb/CKS, a pioneering interactive services company formed during the 1990s by accretion of numerous local or regional Internet and Web design consultancies. The CEO was Bob Bernard of Whittman-Hart.
The merger was considered problematic by many observers, with a clash between the buttoned-down culture of Whittman-Hart and the Web casual culture of USWeb/CKS inevitable. By late 2000, despite aggressive moves by Bernard, the problems became public, with the stock price dropping 60% in one day on October 24, 2000. Despite a $150 million cash infusion by Francisco Partners in December, the company folded in early 2001. On March 13, 2001 the company leadership around Bernard resigned, and on April 12, 2001, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In May 2001, the company was dissolved and the marchFIRST brand was retired.
Razorfish acquired several offices, Divine many of the Midwest offices, and others were sold individually. The international offices in Hamburg, Germany were acquired by Divine and those in Oslo by the Scandinavian Itera Consulting Group.
Bernard later reacquired a much reduced part of the company and it was reconstituted as Whittman-Hart. Bernard died in 2007.
- The original USWeb was founded in 1995 by a group of former Novell executives (Joe Firmage, Toby Corey, and Sheldon Laube)
- USWeb went public with an IPO in 1997
- USWeb agreed to buy the offline advertising agency, CKS Group, in a stock transaction in September 1998
- Whitman-Hart acquired Four Points Digital LLC, Fulcrum Solutions Ltd., and BALR Corp in 1999.
- USWeb/CKS acquired Mitchell Madison Group, a management consulting firm, in 1999.
- USWeb/CKS and Whittman-Hart merged in March 2000 to form marchFIRST, Inc.
- John Guynn, a copywriter at Mckinney & Silver, developed the name marchFIRST.
- Bernard resigned in March, and marchFIRST went bankrupt in April 2001
- Two companies (Avenue A and Divine) acquired several offices in April 2001
- Whittman-Hart re-emerged as a separate company under Bernard
- USWeb is currently an Internet services firm copying the name of the original USWeb
- Divine purchased several companies that struggled after the dot com bust, including some remnants of marchFIRST
- Divine went bankrupt in Feb 2003 (in April 2003, Divine's assets were sold at auction)