IconWorks gets Bizi

IconWorks gets Bizi

Australian Internet and software developer IconWorks is undergoing a metamorphosis, and in more than just name.

Since last week the developer has been known as BiziWorks, a change brought about by an anonymous player taking an equity stake in the growing company.

The only hint Tim Stroh, managing director of BiziWorks, would give was it was "one of the world's premier notebook manufacturers".

This deal is coupled with $US5 million in capital investment by Australian Mezzanine Investments, Macquarie Technology Fund and Mooroolbark Technology.

"We want to be the undisputed heavyweight champions of the world," joked Stroh of BiziWorks' now cashed-up ambitions.

BiziWorks will facilitate its growth through internal development, with several "major new products and projects" underway. "A fair chunk of this capital will go into R&D," Stroh said.

The company must also concentrate on providing the services to back those tools up, including application integration and a greater understanding of its target audience - small and medium businesses. "The Web site is really secondary. We include things like lead management tools, security areas, direct e-mail tools and Web traffic tracking software."

The revitalised company will continue to focus on expanding and consolidating its position in the Australian market with plans to attract more development, distributor and reseller partners.

BiziWorks will also move into the US market with more force "ASAP", according to Stroh. It already has an office in the US but future plans dictate an expansion of BiziWorks' presence through more direct sales and the establishment of a reseller network.

Also on the agenda is BiziWorks' growth into Asia, with Stroh in discussions with two partners in two Asian countries.

"We will double our staff very quickly and will create a single, inter-national brand," added Stroh.

He said the initial goal was to "create enough tools to make up our own development packages", which have in his eyes made the Internet a more affordable and accessible technology. "We set about developing tools that brought the cost of a Web site down and still allowed you to do the 50 or so things that all companies demand, like establish customer loyalty and offer good customer service, and that was also easy to update."

According to Stroh, BiziWorks' Internet tools are unparalleled. "We don't have any head-to-head competition. There are a lot of shopping cart applications out there but our development was based on building a body of code targeted at specific needs of small and medium businesses and the different subsets of this segment. There needs to be a lot of functionality as part of the integrated whole."

The expansion plans demand additions to these packages, allowing them to address the various needs of small and medium businesses. "Almost every developer in this space exclusively focuses on retail business solutions. We have a broader target market," said Stroh.

Fast facts

BiziWorks offers BizHome, BizOffice and BizStoreBizHome is a free service to home users to create their own Web site using a Web browserBizOffice costs $400 in the first year and $300 in subsequent years. It includes domain name registration, a fully built Web site, secure areas in that Web site and 12 months hostingBizOffice costs $600 a year and includes secure e-commerce capabilities, a customisable order form, promotional tools, lead management and contact management services

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