Portal Software: As Goes Telecom, So Goes Portal Software

Before founding Portal Software
in 1985, John Little had extensive experience with the
communications industry. He consulted for such giants as AT&T, Knight
Ridder and Raytheon. He understood that there would be a universal global
network – that is, the Internet.

At first, Portal Software was an Internet Service Provider (ISP). However,
with the intense competition, he saw another opportunity: providing
customer management services for communications companies. So Portal
Software launched its first product called Infranet in 1996.

A big hindrance to Internet subscription businesses has been batch-oriented
billing systems. With Portal Software, companies can support frequent
price changes and multiple pricing options. Features include real-time
account information, as well as financial, marketing and operational
information; fraud and bad debt prevention; instant account creation; and
immediate revenue assurance (that is, there is no leakage).

Thus, companies not only reduce their costs, but get their services to
market quicker while also maintaining quality service. Customers include
France Telecom, Juno Online, Palm computing, US West, PSINet and UUNET.
Portal has also struck key alliance relationships with Andersen Consulting,
Cap Gemini, KPMG, NTTSoft, and eWaterhouseCoopers.

The company has been growing at break-neck speed. In the past quarter,
revenues were $64.5 million, which was a 210% increase from the same period
a year ago. And there were profits. Net income was $5.6 million. Portal
Software closed 80 new clients in the quarter.

Expect the growth surge to continue. In fact, the company is seeing gains
in international markets, especially in Asia. Recent deals include China
Railway Communications, Ji Tong Communications and Xinhua News Agency.

And Portal Software is continuing to innovate. For example, the company has
collaborated with Andersen Consulting to build Infranet ICP, which is geared
for next-generation Integrated Communications Providers (ICPs).

I wrote a
column
about this company about a year ago. Split adjusted, the stock was at
$19-1/8. Now, the stock is trading $54-15/15 — with a high of $86. With
the company continuing to grow and innovate, the stock price should be
hitting new highs soon.

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