RealNames Lands $46.5 Million

RealNames Corp. became one step closer to developing a global Internet
keyword system Monday when it received $46.5 million in its fourth-round of
venture funding.

The company– which has pioneered a system that enables people to go direct
to a company’s Web page simply by typing a corporate, brand or product name
in the browser — plans to restructure into four business units to support
its open-registry-based distribution model, according to Keath Teare, CEO of
RealNames.

“We are particularly excited by the participation of strong strategic
partners,” Teare said. “This new level of funding — at an increased
valuation over our last round and in a particularly tough market —
demonstrates that investors beliefs that we are deploying the new modern
layer for Internet naming infrastructure.”

The company’s new divisions are Global Registry, which will be
responsible for licensing country registries; RealNames Registry, which will
appoint registrars who sell keywords to customers in U.S., U.K., Germany and
Japan (the countries where RealNames is the country registry); RealName
Registrars, which will sell keywords in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan;
and Global Applications Sales, which is the company’s technology and service
divsion for the wireless, Internet and enterprise markets.

Calls to RealNames to acquire additional details on the restructuring
plans were not returned as of press time.

Plans to develop the
open worldwide system
were unveiled late last month at a meeting of the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). At that time,
RealNames introduced an open worldwide registry that will distribute and
sell Keywords.

New financial backers for the venture account for a majority of the
funding. The investors include Strong Capital Management, Munder Capital
Management, Digital Island, DWS Investments, Emigrant Capital, Peak Capital
Holdings and Dentsu.com. Other investors include Verisign, which previously
acquired more than a 10 percent stake in the company.

Teare noted that Internet Keywords is a simplified, human approach to
online navigation in which companies purchase Keywords to enhance their
overall web presence, leverage their brand identity online and make it
easier for customers to do business with them.

“Internet Keyword navigation allows major brands to improve their return
on total advertising spending by unifying their identity online and
offline,” he said. “Marketing executives, brand managers and agencies that
serve brand owners use Internet Keywords to converge offline media such as
print, TV and radio advertising with a company’s Internet presence. Internet
Keywords enable brands to drive customers directly to specific pages deep
within their sites and allow companies to secure and protect their
trademarks and brands on the Internet.”

Teare will lead the Global Registry division. Chris Dobrow will head the
RealName Registries and the Global Application Sales divisions, and David
Orren will be responsible for Global Application Sales.

The momentum of the past few weeks has been incredible,” said Teare. “The
investors in this round, several of which typically invest in public
companies are a testament to the vision and importance we play in building
the foundation of the future of the Internet. As a result of our
restructuring, we can now ensure proper support for both our own and the
world’s Keyword registries and registrars.”

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