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Developers Of Crystal Reports Launch New Business Intelligence Venture
New Venture To Target Small And Medium-sized Business Market Being Ignored By Larger Software Makers

by Peter Traynor, Editor in Chief, Dashboard InsightFriday, November 28, 2008

By Curt Cherewayko, BIV Interactive

If the karmic residue of previous success has any role in future success, Indicee Inc. is on the right track.

A two-year-old Vancouver startup, Indicee is being developed in the same office space and by members of the same team that created Crystal Reports. The software tool is now a flagship product line of Business Objects, an SAP Company, one of the world’s largest business intelligence (BI) companies.

Indicee was founded by Mark Cunningham, a member of the Cunningham Group, a family-run investment vehicle that founded Crystal Services, and Fred Tummonds, a former vice-president of Crystal Decisions, a later incarnation of Crystal Services.

“We’re right back where we started,” said Cunningham. “We like to say internally here that we’re building Crystal 2.0.”

After founding Crystal Services in 1984, Cunningham, his brother Terry Cunningham and other members of the Cunningham clan developed Crystal Reports.

That company was sold to Seagate Technology for roughly US$18 million in 1994 and renamed Crystal Decisions.

As a vice-president of Crystal Decisions, Tummonds oversaw three releases of Crystal Reports. The report writing technology, which arranges database information for software developers and IT professionals, generated $80 million annually for the company until it was acquired by Business Objects in 2003 for US$820 million.

This time around, Cunningham and Tummonds are bringing business intelligence – a term that describes technologies used to collect and analyze business information – to entrepreneurs “who couldn’t use Crystal Reports if their life depended on it.”

“It’s kind of this spreadsheet hell that most small businesses live in,” said Cunningham. “We want to solve that.”

Cunningham is also a co-founder of Vancouver’s Symmetrics, which sired Indicee. He noted that most business intelligence companies such as Business Objects and Cognos Inc. create products for enterprises with more than $1 billion in revenue and more than 1,000 employees.

Indicee is looking down market to small and medium-sized businesses.

“The big guys are failing time and again to get down market,” said Cunningham. “They’re getting blocked because their products are too complicated, and they’re too costly to get going.”

Indicee management is all from the BI space and are former employees of Crystal Services, Crystal Decisions or Business Objects.

When Indicee launched in early 2007, some of its team had recently left Business Objects.

“A lot of it was timing for us,” said Cunningham, who left Crystal Services after the Seagate acquisition.

He said Business Objects’ acquisition of Crystal Decisions was a major adjustment for the Crystal team.

“Business Objects and Crystal didn’t really mesh together very well. It was a very different culture.”

Indicee’s product is in trial with eight customers, including Mary Kay Cosmetics Ltd. and local companies in the manufacturing, legal and hospitality industries.

Whereas Crystal Services and Symmetrics were both funded internally, Cunningham has looked externally to finance Indicee.

A $2 million seed round that Indicee closed in March 2007 included funding from Yaletown Venture Partners and angel investors such as David Galloway – a former vice-president of Crystal Decisions and Business Objects – and other Cunningham family members.

Expecting to launch its commercial product by mid-2009, Indicee is in the midst of a $5 million Series-A round.

A number of venture capital firms are doing due diligence on Indicee now, according to Cunningham, despite the challenges many venture capitalists are facing in closing their funds during the credit crisis.

“It narrows the number of VCs that I can shop this deal around to,” said Cunningham, who expects the company will close its $5 million round by year’s end. 

Source: BIV Interactive

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