Baton Rouge-based Thinkstream likely must be sold or recapitalized, trustee says  

Although a federal bankruptcy trustee hasn’t yet decided how best to resolve Thinkstream’s financial troubles, his latest motion indicates the “most likely scenario” will be selling the Baton Rouge-based company—or finding new investors to keep it going.

In the meantime, trustee David Rubin, who has paid back wages and past-due rent on Thinkstream’s offices since taking over the case, is seeking permission to secure a $750,000 loan from First National Bank of Commerce—a New Orleans bank that Thinkstream already owes $6.74 million—to continue the company’s operations.

Thinkstream, founded by Baton Rouge businessman Barry Bellue, offers a suite of software technology that allows law enforcement agencies to instantly access information from one another’s databases—arrest warrants, criminal histories, mugshots, fingerprints, aliases and more—via laptops and mobile devices. Hundreds of law enforcement agencies in Louisiana and nationwide use the software.

“The systems provided by (Thinkstream),” Rubin notes in his motion, “are mission-critical to its customers and clients.”

Rubin reports that he has met with numerous clients to reassure them of Thinkstream’s viability. He notes that he is currently reviewing strategies to market the company’s assets in hopes of convincing them that “Thinkstream products and maintenance will continue on an uninterrupted basis and that Thinkstream will continue to perform its contractual obligations.” Specific options Rubin mentions include selling “all or substantially all” of Thinkstream’s assets, or “a recapitalization with new investors or joint venture participants.”

In the meantime, the trustee concludes, the company needs additional funding to pay expenses. After speaking with one bank who declined to loan Thinkstream money, given its bankruptcy status, Rubin approached both FNBC and TSB Ventures—the Folsom investment firm that is owed more than $9 million—about a loan. Only FNBC offered a proposal to lend Thinkstream $750,000 at 2% over its prime rate. The loan matures one year after the closing date. The trustee says he ultimately determined that a loan from one of Thinkstream’s existing creditors “would be the least expensive and most expeditious avenue.”

The request for additional funding comes just two months after Rubin convinced the state of Louisiana to  “accelerate” payment of maintenance fees for state agencies’ use of Thinkstream, resulting in two payments totaling $564,500 in July.

A hearing in Baton Rouge federal bankruptcy court is set for 11 a.m. Sept. 16.

—Penny Font

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