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VENTURA COUNTY BUSINESS | VENTURA COUNTY REVIEW

$7.5-Million in Cash to Help jeTECH Expand

November 10, 1998|LEO SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Few corporate executives would have trouble finding use for a multimillion-dollar cash infusion. Certainly Michael Edell, president and chief executive of jeTECH Data Systems, isn't at a loss for ideas.

Edell's Camarillo-based company, which manufactures labor management software, has received $7.5 million in financing from Brentwood Venture Capital of Los Angeles. The investment, Edell said, will enable the company to expand its distribution across the country.

"The money for us is maybe a little different than it would be for other companies," Edell said. "We have virtually no debt going into this deal. High-tech companies, a lot of times, look to finish off certain initiatives, but we are 90% to 95% completed in our new product announcements. For us, the money is putting us in a position to strengthen our sales and marketing."

Specifically, he said, the money will be used to open sales and support offices in up to 10 major cities throughout the United States over the next year. The company already has a regional office in Chicago, with Dallas likely to be next on the map, he said.

The regional expansion coincides with the introduction of several new lines of labor management products and comes during a period when jeTECH sales have increased by 100% in each of the last two years.

"We would like to open in a different city every four weeks, beginning now," Edell said. "Coming into January, our product line will have basically increased fivefold. We need this engine to go out there and distribute those products."

Founded 15 years ago, privately held jeTECH has become a leading manufacturer of software used for the management of employee information, including production and labor records. It recently added software intended for labor resource management, such as scheduling and project planning.

"I think one of the things that has been driving the market, a small percentage, is the year 2000 concerns--some companies are completely restructuring," Edell said. "The other thing is companies' continued desire to control costs."

Edell said the company has spent the last few years scouting out a venture capital group that could help jeTECH take full advantage of the healthy market.

"Some wanted to take us public immediately because of our significant growth, and we had some that wanted to do a much larger deal, trying to go for acquisitions," he said. "Then we had groups, like Brentwood Venture Capital, that really wanted to deal with a later-stage company that would have a more controlled growth and a bit more foundation. We were that company."

Brentwood general partner G. Bradford Jones said jeTECH was alluring because of its track record and the success and future potential of the labor management market.

"They're really the technology leader in the time and attendance segment," Jones said. "It's a big market; it's growing fast. They've already proved they can grow a company."

Brentwood's $300-million investment portfolio includes Xylan Corp., ComCore Semiconductor, WebTV Networks and Biopsys Medical.

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