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Passkey.com Closes on $4 Million in Financing

Boston-based Passkey Systems Inc., which operates a portal for convention industry hotel reservations, said it has raised $4 million in venture capital in a third round of financing.

The company said it is doubling its sales volume each quarter and will process $9 million of group hotel reservations in March.

Lazard Technology Partners, the venture capital arm of Lazard Freres & Company, DRV Investment Group and individual investors participated in the round, which was led by Lazard's $3 million investment.

The company also announced a name change today to Passkey.com, to better characterize its position as an Internet portal for group bookings in a travel industry segment that the company says is "estimated to produce more than 100 million hotel reservations per year."

Passkey's "ResDesk" reservation system features a central database accessed via the Internet by meeting planners, hotels and group housing service providers such as convention and visitors bureaus to set up and manage hotel room inventory via any Internet connection. The system also permits attendees to access this live hotel room inventory via the Web and through Internet- enabled call centers connected to Passkey's database.

"We have harnessed the Internet to connect this important industry to a real- time transaction and reporting environment, and are experiencing tremendous growth. . ." said Roger Paradis, president and chief executive officer. "We are leveraging the Internet to create breakthrough efficiencies in an industry largely driven by manual processing, and in doing so have created a compelling e-commerce opportunity that we expect to be profitable by year's end."

"It's been one year since we first invested in Passkey, and this continues to be an important portfolio investment for Lazard," said Russ Planitzer, managing principal for Lazard Technology Partners. "Passkey's market presence and progress to date are impressive, and Passkey is indeed well positioned to become the de facto industry standard in the group hotel booking space."

Funding will be used to bolster the management team, maintain the company's technology and launch various marketing initiatives in 1999 and 2000.



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