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In one of the biggest venture capital deals of the year, Utah's home-grown Omniture Inc. has received $40 million in funding from a group of investors led by Bank of America (BA) Venture Partners.
Josh James, the Orem company's chief executive, said the new capital will allow the Web analytics provider to expand rapidly and "put some real distance" between Omniture and its competitors.
"We're looking at multibillion dollar opportunities," James said. "And in this industry, whoever gets the largest the fastest is going to win."
Omniture develops and markets software that allows companies to measure customer activity on their Web sites. The collected data, which doesn't include information on individual visitors, can help companies make the best use of their online marketing dollars. Omniture's customers include big-name retailers such as eBay, Overstock.com and Hewlett-Packard.
The infusion of money brings Omniture's venture funding up to $65 million, the company said. Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, which gave Omniture $14.5 million in venture capital in May 2004, also contributed funds in the BA Ventures deal.
The size of BA Venture's investment in Omniture is far larger than most deals received by Utah companies in recent years, said Steven Stauffer, a PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant who tracks venture capital investment in Utah for the firm's MoneyTree Survey.
During the first quarter of 2005 the average venture capital investment in a Utah company averaged $10 million. In 2004 the average investment was $7.8 million while a year earlier that figure stood at just $4.8 million.
"Omniture is the hottest company we've seen in over 10 years," added Mark Groenberg of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. "They continue to deliver on their vision of the future of e-marketing and are being rewarded by rapid success in the marketplace."
In exchange for the $40 million, the BA Venture investors will receive almost 20 percent ownership of Omniture. BA Venture's managing director Rory O'Driscoll will join the company's board of directors.
"Omniture is a compelling opportunity," O'Driscoll said. "They represent the intersection of two compelling [investment] themes that we like - Web analytics and the idea of software as a service," he said.
Rather than distribute software disks to customers, Omniture sells access to the company's analytical programs and charges a monthly subscription fee. And that allows Omniture to generate a continuing stream of revenue.
Investing in Omniture is almost like acquiring interest in an e-commerce index fund, O'Driscoll said. "Online retailers, banks and even media companies need Web analytical services to understand their customers. They just cannot run well without it."
The capital infusion comes after several years of steady growth. The company expects to generate revenue exceeding $40 million this year - more than 10 times the $3.6 million generated in 2002. Omniture, which now claims 300 employees, expects to double that number in the coming 12 months.
The company hired 200 new workers in the past 12 months.
James said the privately held company now can look forward to opening new markets in Europe and Asia where there are few if any competitors in the Web analytics business.