Exterprise Inc., an Internet infrastructure software company, had a big month in February 2000. The Austin, Texas, company announced the general availability of its flagship eMarket Management product, ActiveMarketTM 2.0. It also announced as customers global dot-com and Fortune 1000 companies such as 3M, Bell Canada, Sprint North Supply, Alamo Iron Works and U.S. Office Products. Exterprise opened European headquarters in the United Kingdom and launched its worldwide partner program, the Exterprise Alliance Network, to enable rapid deployment of its technology globally. Exterprise also was invited to participate with 20 other leading eBusiness vendors in Forrester Research’s Technology Leadership Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz. Forrester has invited Exterprise to participate in a similar leadership forum in Amsterdam.
In the 14 months ended March 2000, Exterprise grew from five employees to 100, and by mid-April, it had 120 employees. It also received $1 million in angel financing and another $8 million from two venture capital firms, filed for a patent for its life cycle management of eBusiness processes, and completed a top-notch management team.
Even so, this award is a special honor for President and CEO Manoj Saxena. It further reinforces Exterprise’s business and technology focus, Saxena says.
The award is good news for the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), too. "I’m really excited," says Joel Wiggins, ATI director. "This is the second year in a row we’ve had the winning technology client."
"[Exterprise has] done a really good job creating buzz about their product," Wiggins says. But their principal asset is the quality of their people, he adds. "They get things done when they say they’re going to get them done."
ATI, an NBIA award-winning incubator, helped create the company by developing a pilot project with 3M Austin to identify a new technology that could be commercialized at ATI. "Now we’re looking to do it again," Wiggins says. 3M Austin and ATI identified Saxena, who worked for 3M, and Rana, who worked for IBM, as candidates for the pilot program.
"We had the good fortune of helping them early on," Wiggins says. "We did provide some critical value in terms of getting them in with the right people" and helping craft their direction. Discussions with ATI directors and mentors led the founders to see different applications and markets from those originally conceived for the underlying technology.
The company creates software that helps existing brick and mortar companies and net market maker companies build next-generation online marketplaces. Its ActiveMarketTM lets companies form collaborative Internet market networks to promote, sell and support complementary products and services. The software platform is based on a unique collaborative intelligent agent architecture that provides speed to deployment of complex eMarket networks.
The resources, physical facility, prestige of ATI and good networking opportunities with potential investors and with other businesses, as well as access to the University of Texas and its students, were highlights of the incubator program for the company. ATI, established in 1989, is part of the university’s IC2 Institute.
The company was founded in ATI in July 1998 and has other U.S. offices in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.
The buzz around ATI is that the company, which moved to a new Austin location in mid-April, will be missed. "They have a lot of connections that they’re developing with analysts, with people outside of Austin," Wiggins says. "They’ve been very good about sharing those connections with other companies." Exterprise has received national and international media attention and is a core holding of Austin Ventures, a leading Texas venture capital firm, thus bringing publicity to the incubator, he says.
Besides sharing its "know where to go" expertise, Wiggins says, the company donated its furniture to ATI.
* On May 29, 2001, Commerce One, Inc., an e-marketplace company, acquired Exterprise, adding to its suite of leading e-marketplace applications.
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