Andersen to help dot-coms for a cut

Andersen Consulting will take up to a 20 per cent equity stake in e-commerce startups under a three-year $US1.2 billion dot-com strategy.

The scheme will see the firm establish 17 "dot-com" centres, including one in Sydney, which it says are designed to take e-business to market quickly. Andersen said it would take an equity stake as partial compensation for its services.

"We've done research in all dot-com locations around the world and have fairly consistent data about venture capital investments," Andersen's Dot-Com managing partner for Australia, Andrew Macpherson, said.

"In the mid-80s to mid-90s, around 60 per cent of high-tech startups went bankrupt. Thirty per cent liquidated or merged and only 10 per cent succeeded in securing funding and proceeding to IPO," he said. It is that 10 per cent that Andersen's dot-com centres are targeting.

"Once they've secured tier-one finance, they get to a really difficult stage. They've got the cash but they now have to build a business," Macpherson said.

"We'll help them do it quicker by bringing them the infrastructure. We've got an established network of business relationships," he explained.

Other dot-com centres will be in the US, Europe and Asia.