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Ten Square in the Hole

Ten Square, the savvy maker of interactive video monitors that allows motorists to view advertisements or punch out coupons from touchscreens at the fuel pumps, has significantly scaled back operations, watched its financing drain and now faces the prospects of shutting down, sources told CSNews Online.

While the company's product draws rave reviews from some of its staunchest backers, several sources say Ten Square, which has raised more than $35 million since last year, is running out of currency and is struggling to garner additional funds.

"The word is they're in very serious trouble," said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of his company's working relationship with Ten Square. "We hear they could be shutting down as soon as this week."

"We like their product. It works," said another official, who also spoke with anonymity for similar reasons. "It's a fabulous technology. It's one of the most innovative things I've seen in a long time. Asked about Ten Square's financial status, the official said, "we should know better within 30 days."

With little doubt, Ten Square has won plaudits for its aggressive outreach effort. The company secured capital from major oil companies BP Plc. and Chevron Corp., and has entered into alliances with the major fuel dispenser companies. It has enlisted an impressive list of gasoline operators from Big Oil companies, which also include Citgo., to family operations like Marietta, Ga.-based Fitzgerald Convenience Centers Inc.

However, two officials familiar with operations say Ten Square has struggled to woo advertisers that would provide stable financing to the fledgling outfit by paying to have its products promoted on the pump screens. In turn, that failure has slowed the company's efforts to recruit petroleum marketers to invest in the system.

In January, Ten Square announced an ambitious national rollout for the year. In all, it would penetrate 2,800 petroleum stations and c-stores in 20 major markets, including Dallas, Atlanta and Miami.

Officials at Ten Square have not returned repeated requests for an interview.
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