Monday, June 3, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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SeaTab speeds up the return of critical data to business

What: SeaTab Software

Where: Factoria area of Bellevue

Top executives: Founded in 1998 by Samuel Koshy and Qiang "Ching" Wan, both formerly of Cambridge, Mass.-based Cambridge Technology Partners. Kristi Marchbanks, previously vice president of consumer imaging for Eastman Kodak, is the chief executive officer.

What it does: Provides software that allows corporate customers to retrieve and analyze business data from information stored electronically. Client roster consists mostly of retailers.

Typical client questions: "How much did we sell in April, or how much inventory is left remaining?"

No middleman: Questions are usually answered through a three-step process. First, data is added to a repository. Second, a complex data structure is built, often referred to as "data warehousing." And finally, answers emerge from searches of that structure. SeaTab skips the middle step by compressing the original data in the repository, making possible faster, cleaner searches.

How it's packaged: It uses an ASP, or application service provider, model. That means the software is accessible through the Web. Instead of collecting a fee for each of a company's users, SeaTab charges by how much data is being stored on its servers, Marchbanks said. She added that customers are starting to allow its suppliers to access its records.

Customers: 17, including Associated Foods, REI, Swiss Army Brands, Bartell Drugs, CarToys, Brooks Sports and Foot Locker.Sales pitch: Before any commitments, SeaTab will build a unique prototype of its product for a potential customer, allowing it to understand how the system will perform.

The early days: Koshy and Wan started the company from a home, first pitching Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz by attending one of his book signings. "We don't do that now, but when you are a two-person company, you have to find a way to get an audience," Koshy said. Critical benchmark: Reached profitability in April, roughly 19 months after raising $1 million in venture capital — the only money it has ever raised.

Financials: Revenue reached $600,000 in 2001. This year, the company expects to at least double that, Marchbanks said.

Employees: Five full-time and 15 part-time workers.

— Tricia Duryee


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