RealTime IT News

BT, 3i to Form Software Company

BT announced Thursday it is to form a new Internet performance management software company with venture capitalist 3i.

The new company will develop a software suite codenamed Napoleon, intended to help businesses improve their management and delivery of e-services.

As a key strategic partner and one of the main sales and distribution channels for the new software, BT is taking a 37.5 per cent equity stake in the venture, while 3i is investing £1.7 million ($2.72 million) for a similar stake. The balance of the equity will be held by management and employees.

Graham Davies, BT's general manager for technology acquisition, spoke of "the hidden value of BT's substantial investments in research and development" and said the new venture was part of the company's drive to unlock that value.

Robin Winning, investment executive with 3i in Scotland described the venture as a pivotal deal for both BT and 3i.

"The new company has a world-beating technology and is well placed to grow as the market for network performance software takes off," said Winning.

Currently estimated to be worth over $7 billion, the global market for network systems management is expected to grow rapidly for the next three years. BT and 3i say there is huge potential demand for software to manage the performance and delivery of e-services, including online training, desktop video conferencing and complex knowledge management.

Napoleon has been devised by engineers at BT's R&D facility in Suffolk, where it has been 18 months in development. It offers a full range of network performance monitoring and testing tools, never before included in a single product.