Asera sells core technologies to SEEC

Lavishly funded web services pioneer Asera has sold its core technologies to little-known SEEC.

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13 Jan 2003 Asera, the lavishly funded start-up that promised that its web services technologies would enable the 'real-time enterprise', has sold its core assets to insurance and financial services software company SEEC.

The company, which has raised more than $175 million (€165.8m) since it was founded in late 1998, has passed its intellectual property, customers and brand name to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based software maker SEEC.

The brainchild of legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, Asera's eBusiness Operating Systems provides a web services software platform for building "composite applications", allowing organisations to respond to fast-changing business conditions by adapting their applications logic - and their business processes - 'on the fly'.

That product line covers application development, deployment and integration framework; a suite of portal, personalisation, globalisation and content management software; a rules-based workflow engine; and a library of XML-based objects for creating business processes.

But Asera also used the platform to branch into applications itself, building order management and supply chain products.

Early users of the software include oil giant BP; high-tech manufacturing hub e2Open; Steel24-7, Europe's largest steel trading exchange; electronic design software supplier Cadence Design Systems; and Elemica, a chemicals e-marketplace.

They were encouraged by Asera's glittering line-up of investors: aside from Kleiner Perkins Caufield &Byers venture capitalist Khosla, Asera also attracted cash from Ray Lane, the former chief operating officer of Oracle, and investments from Accenture, SAP, Intel and Cisco.

Fifteen-year-old SEEC, which targets financial services companies with its the Mosaic Studio development platform and Axcess, a library of components for Web-based self-service applications, clearly has wider ambitions.

"Asera's vertical solutions and technology expands SEEC's target markets to include companies with significant ERP [enterprise resource planning] and other legacy packages, in addition to custom-built host applications that are SEEC's traditional technology sweet spot," says Ravi Koka, SEEC's chief executive.

But even combined, the two companies will struggle to achieve critical mass. While Asera has never revealed sales figures, SEEC's last reported quarter, ending 30 September, showed revenues of just $869,000 and a net loss of $878,000.

Khosla is not completely abandoning the Asera dream. He will join the SEEC board and has persuaded Kleiner Perkins Caufield &Byers to pump $1.2 million (€1.14m) into the company.