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RealTime IT News

LookSmart to Invest in START

LookSmart announced a major equity investment in START, an Australian Internet application company.

The partnership means LookSmart users will have access to the portable START Corp. Web technology on LookSmart.com.au. START's free e-mail service will be the first product on offer, with other products due to be integrated into the site throughout the coming year. LookSmart users will also have free access to the latest in Web based communication including instant messaging.

"This partnership is unique in the local industry and puts us in a position to dominate the market," said Tim Pethick, chief executive officer of LookSmart Australia and VP International. "As LookSmart and START are both Top 20 Web properties, joining forces will extend our reach dramatically and enable us to offer more Australian Internet users world-class online services."

"There is an extremely synergistic fit between START and LookSmart," said Bardia Housman, co-director of START. "Both companies have strong revenue models, large user bases and complementary core product offerings; a critical combination for expanding both the breadth and depth of our respective customer bases."

"Both LookSmart and START have built-in wholesale distribution in their technology and business models, which means our combined product will become one of the most competitive in the local and international markets."

While this equity investment will give LookSmart a majority share in START Corp., each organisation will remain autonomous with the current management of START remaining in place.

Following the recent announcement of LookSmart's joint venture to create and distribute portal services throughout Europe and Asia with communications powerhouse British Telecommunications, an international rollout of the combined START/LookSmart product through the joint venture is being explored.