RealTime IT News

ASP Play Abridge Lines Up $7 Million Series B

Score one for application service provider plays, a still-hot area for venture capital in an extra-choosy funding environment. Abridge, Inc., whose bot technology interprets electronic messages to help groups coordinate on projects, said it raised $7 million in Series B financing. Venrock Associates, EMC Corporation and Angel Investors, LP, took part in the round.

Former Lotus senior executives Jim Manzi (former CEO) and John Landry (former CTO) also took part in the second institutional round. Landry, who marks his 25th-year in the computing and technology industry, is taking a seat on the company's board of directors. The technology also pays homage to the Lotus notes legacy - a form of groupware for corporate intranets and on the Internet.

Investment firm Allen & Company initially backed the start-up. The company's first product aims to simplify email coordination among groups on projects by capturing and interpreting existing e-mail messages regarding the group project. The service essentially knits the messages into a secure Web space and acts on e-mail-based commands to automate routine group coordination tasks like meeting scheduling, reminders and alerts.

The company said Abridge's applications are based on a proprietary, patent-pending "Expert Messaging" platform that uses natural language and intelligent algorithms to translate content from e-mail and other standard digital message forms into commands that can be understood by applications, such as calendars, word processing programs and Web sites. In short, the technology uses artificial intelligence, or bots.

Susan Hunt Stevens, president of Abridge, said the company was pleased with the investors who joined the round, while welcoming new Landry to the board.

"Between our new partners' extensive experience and knowledge, we now have unmatched resources to achieve our mission of making electronic communications more intelligent in order to simplify how people work together."

The company said the beta version of the service is currently available for free at Abridge.com; an enhanced enterprise version of the service will be available for a monthly per user subscription fee in the fourth quarter.