firstRain’s ‘Portlets’ Find Big Name Backers

By @NY Staff

firstRain, Inc., a maker of “portlets” that help people manage Web-based internal and external information, went searching in the venture capital desert for $8 million and hit an $11 million oasis.

The investment may say less about the current negative sentiment regarding Web-based ventures and more about the marquee tech names that had lined up behind the New York-based company in an earlier $2.3 million funding round.

They include Rajat Gupta, CEO of McKinsey and Company, John Hennessy, president of Stanford University, and Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems. In addition, firstRain was founded by software industry veterans and research experts from major universities.

The software products of http://www.firstRain are built with XML and help users monitor internal and external Web sites, “strip” what they want and then integrate that info with their internal, or intranet-based information systems.

The company says its products can be used to create mobile information and applications that can become a kind of browser dashboard where personalized information is piped.

The cash should help the company finish building its products and get them into the market by the end of the quarter.

Allegra Partners and Diamondhead Ventures led the round, firstRain’s first institutional stake. Other backers are St. Paul Venture Capital and Myriad Investments.

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