Sendia Raises First Round $4.5M

To close its first round of venture capital Sendia Corp., a Santa Monica, Calif.-based developer of wireless applications, took this message to investors: To win in a fiercely competitive market, you must invest in the right team, the right technology and have perfect timing.

In other words, says the companys co-founder and CEO, Andy De Mari, invest in Sendia.

It was not a tough sell. Last week, the company announced financing that took four months to raise. Sendia raised $4.5 million in Series A round that was co-led by Boston-based Globespan Capital Partners and Mobius Venture Capital of Palo Alto, Calif. The deal also included commitments from Orion Wireless Investor, a family trust, and Digital Evolution, a Los Angeles-area company that provides security for Web services and applications.

Sendias founders and a group of angel investors seeded the company with $1.9 million as it got off the ground in May 2002. That startup financing, De Mari recalls, took three weeks to raise.

The two-year old company has developed software that brings enterprise software, like that belonging to, onto wireless devices. To make it all work, Sendia has strategic partnerships in place with, Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion and telecommunications provider Verizon. So far, companies such as ADTRAN, Weyerhaeuser/Pardee Homes and Decade Software have signed on as customers. Weyerhaeusers 120 building inspectors, for example, use the technology to schedule the work of subcontractors while on-site.

Although Sendia has won over some key customers, its still not clear whether the company can build enough momentum to create revenue and sustain its operations. Others have attempted to capture the market for mobile enterprise applications with limited success.

Publicly traded InfoWave Software, based in Vancouver, has secured contracts with the U.S. Navy and Shell Oil. Nevertheless, it closed a $5.7 million private placement in April.

Sendia is also facing competition from Dublin, Calif.-based iAnywhere, a subsidiary of Sybase; and Vaultus, a New York-based company financed by Research In Motion, (212) Ventures, Investcorp, China Industrial Development Bank and @Ventures.

De Mari says that his company is providing technology that works, has customers that want it, and the market is ready for it. De Mari also says that much of this round of capital has been earmarked for the companys engineering team. The company is planning to launch and off-the-shelf version of its software platform for wireless devices and is planning to release a set of developers tools so companies can build enterprise-specific applications off Sendias core technology.

Its a lot to accomplish, and none of it is cheap. De Mari says Sendia will be ready for a new round of venture capital by the first quarter of 2005.