Intel comes inside for software partner

Intel comes inside for software partner

Intel Capital, the strategic investment arm of the chip monolith, has taken an undisclosed equity investment in Melbourne-based CRM software vendor Streamline.

Streamline will be using the funding to further develop its Web-enabled customer relationship management (CRM) software, which is based on Intel's server and CTI (Computer-Telephony Integration) architecture.

Representatives from both Intel Capital and Streamline refused to detail the value of the investment, other than to say that it forms part of Intel's Communication Fund of $US500 million, where individual investments rarely exceed $10 million. The spokespeople also refused to disclose what percentage of Streamline Intel now owns, or the market value of Streamline. This is the first Australian investment from the Communication Fund, but not a first for Intel Capital, who has also invested in e-commerce security developer SecureNet and supercapacitator manufacturer cap-XX.

Streamline has been developing CRM tools for over 10 years, but recently moved into Web enabling the applications to capture the attention of new market demographics.

"We wanted to use Web technology to spread our position in the CRM market, to make it more available to companies," said Paul Davidson, sales and marketing manager for Streamline. "We have taken Web technology and built business applications equal to what you get in tier one CRM. It gives small business the opportunities larger companies can have."

Naturally, all of these solutions are built on Intel servers and CTI (computer-telephony integration) software, products for which Intel is keen to invest to stimulate growth for its own lines. The deal did not include the appointment of an Intel representative as a voting member of the Streamline board, however Intel has appointed a board observer, who will sit in on Streamline's meetings.

As well as funding Streamline's continued research and development in Melbourne for its Web-enabled CRM products, the investment has allowed Streamline to set up a Singapore office as a "jumping off point" to manage the company's growth into other Asian markets.

"We are working to position ourselves in Southeast Asia," said Davidson. "Now that the Asian meltdown is over, I think there is a really good opportunity for Australian-proven technology in Asia."

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