Amp’d Mobile hears call of Ch. 11

The primary reason Amp’d Mobile raised about $360 million in venture funding (from Vivendi, Columbia Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Intel Capital and Redpoint Ventures, among others) was to handle the launch of a nationwide mobile platform. It was not enough.The Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company, which offers cell phone service by leasing airtime on wireless networks, filed for Chapter 11 on June 1 as the number of nonpaying customers reached about 80,000. Apparently, its targeted demographic (ie, youngsters) isn’t quick about paying its bills. But that doesn’t mean that the company is done going to the VC well. Amp’d said that it is in the process of obtaining financing from an existing investor, according to its bankruptcy filings. Rumors peg its funding target at another $100 million or so.

It will be interesting to see how additional cash, not to mention the bankruptcy, will affect the shareholders. There has been an interesting dynamic in which the early stage venture investors of Columbia, Highland and Redpoint each hold less than 10%, according to the Chapter 11 filing, whereas late stage entrant Vivendi holds more than 12 percent.

There also have been reports that two investors have left the Amp’d board, although details are not available. One likely departee is Jon Auerbach of Highland, given that the firm has removed any mention of Amp’d from Auberbach’s website bio. In fact, Highland also has removed Amp’d from its website page that lists portfolio companies. A Highland spokesman did not return requests for comment.

Amp’d last week filed some additional Chapter 11 documents blaming Verizon for its straits, and even suggests that it may file suit for what it alleges was an improper service termination warning. The Amp’d saga goes on as other virtual wireless networks are now under fire. —Dan Primack and Alastair Goldfisher