ARCHIVED  October 1, 1996

Internet company obtains financing

FORT COLLINS – A Fort Collins software company has landed an initial round of $1.4 million in venture-capital financing and plans to more than quadruple its work force by the end of the year.NETdelivery’s software system allows Internet users to select notices they want to receive from a list of magazines, sales catalogs and other publications. The service will be launched officially Oct. 21.
The company has been negotiating with firms in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago for $5 million to $10 million in venture capital to expand its operations, said Susan Mead, marketing director. NETdelivery recently landed a commitment for $1.4 million in financing from a Chicago-based venture-capital fund.
With 13 employees at present, NETdelivery plans to grow to 60 by the end of this year, she said. The new hires will include technical-support personnel as well as software developers.
NETdelivery’s software-delivery system will allow subscribers to pick and choose the notifications they want to receive from certain publishers free of charge and screen out the “junk mail” from those publishers, company officials said.
Already, the company has 92 publishers on its client list, from CNN Interactive to USA Today to Land’s End clothing catalog. With the software program, publishers will be able to deliver customized catalogs, subscriber-specific sales offers and other customer updates on the Web, she said.
Until now, publishers have been able only to send limited e-mail messages to Internet users, she said.
But with the NETdelivery system, publishers will be able to deliver whole downloads, with graphics, lengthy electronic order forms and even software upgrades.
“It’s less expensive than mailing,” Mead said.
The company has applied for a patent on its Zip Delivery System, a nonadvertising-supported program.
By letting the end-user select the delivery of certain publications, the software program effectively changes the current paradigm of surfing the Internet searching for particular web sites, she said.
“When they choose these publishers, they filter out all the other junk e-mail,” Mead said.
While there are a few similar software programs now on the market, NETdelivery is the only one that doesn’t depend on advertising revenues, she said. Instead, it charges the publisher 3 cents to 5 cents per notification to a subscriber, she said.
The system alerts the subscriber of a new notification with a chime or a pop-up screen on his computer monitor, she said.
The company hopes to build its subscription list to 1 million users and 500 publishers by the end of this year, she said. NETdelivery also plans to open offices in Boulder and in New York by the end of December.
More information about the system can be found on NETdelivery’s web site at http://www.netdelivery.com.
Antonio Nunez, an Internet marketing consultant in Boulder, said the delivery of customized information is a new trend on the Internet.
“Everyone’s moving in that direction,” he said.
He said he expects this type of program to become much more competitive in the future.
Already, several companies offer similar services, but most carry advertisements with them, he said.
For example, Pointcast delivers free customized information to end-users on the Net.
“It becomes your screensaver and updates regularly and flashes advertisements,” he said. “The cost is carried by the advertisers.”
Other programs such as Microsoft Explorer allow the end-user to customize a selection so that each time he or she returns to a site online, he goes exactly to the information he wants, Nunez said.
Unwanted electronic “junk mail” can become a problem, especially for Internet users who visit multilevel marketing sites on the web.
“Then you’ll be inundated with junk mail,” he said.
But there are at least 10 software products already on the market that help screen out junk mail, Nunez said.
NETdelivery’s software program was the brainchild of Tom Higley, the company’s chief executive officer and the inventor of some of its principal technology.
A Harvard educated lawyer, Higley served as president, chairman and later executive director of FortNet, the Fort Collins Community Computer Network, an Internet service provider.
He got the idea to develop a delivery-type of software in late 1994, when he realized that Web sites were “entirely pull’ in their orientation,” he said.
“They depended on the individual to search for the Web site, whereas the model in the real world is supported by delivery,” Higley said.
The Internet lacked a delivery option at that time, so he tinkered with the idea of a software program that would offer that component.
Higley hired two software developers in 1994, and they began to work on the concept of a delivery system for the Internet.
“Now we can take a single publication and ship that Web page to thousands of people,” Higley said.
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FORT COLLINS – A Fort Collins software company has landed an initial round of $1.4 million in venture-capital financing and plans to more than quadruple its work force by the end of the year.NETdelivery’s software system allows Internet users to select notices they want to receive from a list of magazines, sales catalogs and other publications. The service will be launched officially Oct. 21.
The company has been negotiating with firms in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago for $5 million to $10 million in venture capital to expand its operations, said Susan Mead, marketing director. NETdelivery recently landed a commitment for…

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