TrainingNet Shows That IT has Skills

With an initial public offering right around the corner, TrainingNet Inc. recently completed a $33.7 million mezzanine round of venture funding. The deal marks the fourth time, including a $2 million seed round, that the business-to-business marketplace operator has dipped into the venture capital well. All told, the company has raised $54.1 million to date.

BCI Partners led the most recent transaction with an investment of approximately $16 million. Other new contributors included Hikari Tsushin Inc. and investment banking entities like William Blair & Co., Jefferies & Co. and Dain Rauscher Wessels. Existing investors Blue Rock Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Charles River Ventures also participated.

The presence of investment banks in the transaction amid the many venture funds is significant considering that TrainingNet Chief Financial Officer Al Davis said that the company hopes to go public in the first half of 2000. While he did not confirm whether or not the banks involved were likely underwriters for an initial public offering, he did note that TrainingNet thinks highly of a number of analysts, including ones from Jefferies, Dain Rauscher Wessels and Adams, Harkness & Hill.

“The b-to-b market is extremely hot right now, and we don’t want to miss out on that environment,” Davis said.

TrainingNet provides business customers with a comprehensive online marketplace for almost all types of professional skills training and education.

“We have competitors, but they’re fairly narrow in scope,” Davis said. “We offer skills training related to sales management, any of the skills connected with software like Windows, Powerpoint or Excel … public speaking and even classes related to industries like medical, oil and gas.”

The company is headquartered in Billerica, Mass.