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Resolved: Beware of working with SEAMGEN. Do yourself a favor and read about our experience with them before making the decision to hire them.

To give you some background: We are a nonprofit with a revolutionary App called SAFE that let’s people show their verified STD status on their phone. SAFE is a simple, practical solution to disrupt the spread of STDs among young people, which the CDC reports have reached an all time high in the U.S. Our team consists of industry leaders, including the former chairman of William Morris and co-founder of Guggenheim partners. We are partners with Quest (largest lab in the world) and working closely with the CDC at the highest levels. There are numerous celebrities onboard to promote the social movement. I am one of the co-founders and have built and sold three tech-oriented companies, so have quite a bit of experience in the space. We found Seamgen through an online directory, where they claimed to have a fund that ‘invests’ in startups – which we later learned was completely untrue and just a tactic to lure early stage companies to get in touch with them. We spent several weeks negotiating a deal for SEAMGEN to build the SAFE App for us based on detailed technical specifications we provided. Having negotiated many of these deals before, we where careful to very clearly define the exact people that would lead and work on the project, as well as the exact order of tasks. One of the primary requirements was that the project needed to be done quickly. After finally reaching an agreement, SEAMGEN owner (Marc Alringer) pulled the rug out from under us claiming the team we spent weeks negotiating a deal to utilize was in fact not going to be available for another month. He offered another team, who he claimed needed to be put to work because they were on his payroll and idle. A classic bait and switch. We were not happy, but having abandon our other options and the clock ticking, ultimately decided to move forward, with the explicit caveat that we would have tight control over what work was to done when and who was assigned to do it. SEAMGEN requested an $8,000 retainer, which we paid to them on March 21, 2016. The was project kicked off with one very clear assignment authorized: For the lead architect (Robert Fisher) to assimilate our technical specs into a system diagram, so that we could make sure that they understood everything clearly BEFORE having $150/hour programmers start working to do further research and code the system. We in fact made clear (in writing to Marc Alringer) that, despite his pleas to put his idle guys to work, we were specifically only authorizing this one person to do this one task before moving on to put additional resources on the project. When we followed up with the lead architect (Robert Fisher) three (3) days later, he claimed that he was traveling and was unable to work on the project until the end of the following week and that some junior developer was working on our project. I immediately wrote Marc Alringer to protest, as this was not was agreed, and asked that any billbale work outside the agreed upon scope be immediately halted. Marc Alringer claimed he would look into it and get back to me. This was a Friday. The following Monday, we received an invoice from a ‘project manager’ we had never met, stating that $7,600 of the retainer had been exhausted, providing a laundry list of billable services allegedly provided during the three (3) days between when the project was kicked off and when we asked for work to stop – a time period that the one person we authorized to work on the project had admitted being out of town and unable to work on the project. We of course protested and tried to get the unauthorized charges removed, however Marc Alringer all of a sudden was not accessible and unable to take calls – a very different scenario from when he was trying to get us to pay him the retainer. After spending countless hours trying to get in touch with Marc Alringer and ultimately threatening to file a complaint with the court, we get a call from Daniel Prasad, then Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of SEAMGEN. After reviewing all of the clearly documented facts and correspondence, Daniel Prasad ultimately admitting to over billing and ultimately agreeing to return a $4,000 of the retainer in exchange for signing a mutual release of liability, citing SEAMGEN needing to cover its costs. We agreed to offered to settle the matter upon SEAMGEN returning $5,000, which was much closer to the correct amount it should have returned in the first place. Prasad responded that he would speak with Marc Alringer and get back to use the following day. Despite several phone calls and emails to Daniel Prasad and Marc Alringer, there has been no further communication and as of this date none of the unused retainer paid has been returned to us. At the close of the year our investors insisted that this matter be resolved and hired an attorney to analyze the situation, who determined that Marc Alringer and SEAMGEN had defrauded SAFE and their actions in fact constituted theft. We contacted Marc Alringer, who again was evasive and offered to return $2,000, less than half of what his CFO had admitted (in writing) to overbilling months earlier. As it stands today, Marc Alringer and his SEAMGEN have not returned any of the money they admitted to overbilling and are forcing us to file a lawsuit in order to get our money back. This entire fiasco has delayed out launch by over two months and been a huge headache and distraction. Since this has happened, we have been contracted by 2 other startups who had similar horrific experiences with Marc Alringer and SEAMGEN. For the record, this is literally the first bad review I have ever written in my entire life, after building three companies from the ground up and traveling the world. I am not a complainer and generally just let things go, but this was so blatant and egregious, I felt compelled to take the time to write this and hopefully protect other companies from being victimized by Marc Alringer and SEAMGEN. If these guys would treat a social good non-profit this way, imagine how quickly they would *** over. There are a lot of great development firms out there, so do yourself a favor and take the time to find the best option, you business literally depends on it.
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4 comments
#1785024

Great insight, I am steering clear as well.

#1785023

Holy smokes!

#1373601

Did you eventually sue and succeed or just walk away?

#1302923

Thank you for this review, I was just looking at their company for my startup! I will look into another direction that's for sure, thank you!

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Resolved
ID
#983996 Review #983996 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Location
San Diego, California
Service
Seamgen Application Development
Pros
  • What they sold us on
Cons
  • What was actually delivered
Reason of review
Problems with payment
Loss
$5000
Preferred solution
Full refund

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