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Monday, January 13, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Interface

Dexterra helps put power of business to work in field

Who: Robert Loughan, 37

Title: Chief executive of Dexterra, based in Bothell

What: Moved to Redmond six weeks ago from California with his wife and 2-week-old twins in the car.

Employees: 42

Offices: Besides Bothell, London, Boston, Chicago and Dallas.

Past successes: Co-founded Octane Software, which was acquired by San Mateo, Calif.-based E.piphany for $3.2 billion in stock, or 12.8 million shares, in May 2000 — the single-largest sale of a private software company in history, Loughan says. Three months after the sale, he sold his millions of E.piphany shares for around $117 apiece.

Background: Before selling Octane, Loughan worked at Scopus Technology, a customer-relationship management (CRM) software company. Started in the Bay Area, Scopus merged with Siebel Systems in 1998.

Things come in threes: Following Scopus, Octane was the next generation CRM. One might say Dexterra is the equivalent of the third-generation CRM. The software, mCRM, is intended to lay the groundwork for companies to extend its enterprise software, like CRM, from the office or call center onto Pocket PCs. "Octane was a better mousetrap. This is a paradigm shift," he said.

The pitch: By having access to records in the field, a service person on a house call can double as a sales person, Loughan said. The service person might come to install cable but end up selling the customer on broadband Internet access. Normally, if a service employee is faced with a situation like this, Loughan said they will tell the customer to call the appropriate 1-800 number.

CRM is cold: "There's a high rate of failure in CRM," Loughan said. "It's not a hot market." However, he said Dexterra's success is not tied to CRM's success. It sits on top of the application a company already has purchased. The average implementation takes 90 days and the total cost of the product is $1.5 million for 3,000 users.

Why Bothell? Loughan said he moved the headquarters from Oakland to Bothell "to be close to Microsoft. We wanted to hire people who understand how to work with Microsoft." He said many of his engineers have experience either working or contracting with Microsoft, and that the Pocket PC and .NET strategy is what he wants to use to implement his vision.

Stage of company: The company has a product and what Loughan describes as "design partners." Those include Hewlett-Packard, Honeywell and Deloitte & Touche in Europe.

Revenue projections: $6 million this year, $15 million in 2004.

— Tricia Duryee

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