Company Logo Tuesday, August 29, 2000

Ardesic secures $10M financing

Kevin Crowley, Record staff

A Waterloo start-up that creates software applications for online business exchanges has raised $10 million in private financing.

Ardesic Corp. plans to use the money to establish a sales and marketing team, company president and founder Jeff Fedor said.

The investment group was led by Kanata-based Celtic House International Inc. and U.S.-based TL Ventures.

Co-investors include Waterloo Ventures Inc. and the Toronto-based Working Ventures Canadian Fund Inc.

"It's been great," Fedor said. "We set out to get one marquee VC (venture capitalist) in Canada and one in the U.S. and we were able to do that."

Celtic House was founded in 1994 by Terry Matthews, the Ottawa-area entrepreneur who previously founded Mitel and Newbridge Networks.

Celtic House has a stake in another Waterloo start-up, PixStream Inc., and continues to look for promising young companies in the area, said Andrew Waitman, Celtic House's chief executive officer and a University of Waterloo engineering graduate.

"It's a great area to invest in and we hope to do more down there," Waitman said in a phone interview from Ottawa.

As for Ardesic, Waitman said the company has a strong technical and management team that has developed a "vital component" for online business-to-business marketplaces.

Ardesic's flagship product is eMarketMinder, a suite of customer-relations management applications designed for online business exchanges.

Such exchanges, or e-marketplaces, bring buyers and sellers together to conduct transactions over the Internet or similar computer networks.

Customer-relations management is a generic term that applies to a wide range of software applications that help exchange providers better serve their member companies.

Ardesic was launched in June 1999 and employs 14 people.

The company completed a beta test of its application suite this spring and has landed its first customer, a European medical exchange that Fedor declined to identify.

Ardesic recently hired a new chief executive, Steve Traplin, who previously co-founded Nitidus Technology of Ottawa. Traplin continues to operate out of Ottawa to take advantage of his contacts there, Fedor said.

Ardesic plans to keep its administrative and research and development base in Waterloo, and will likely add sales and marketing people here and in Ottawa.

This round of financing is the second time that Waterloo Ventures Inc. has invested in Ardesic.

The venture capital fund was created by Working Ventures Canadian Fund in 1999 to develop early-stage technology companies in the Waterloo area.

Waterloo Ventures provided Ardesic with a $500,000 boost last December. The latest investment is somewhat less than that but it shows the fund's confidence in Ardesic, fund manager Andrew Abouchar said.

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