eseller moves to woo venture capitalists

At a time when many technology companies would baulk at organising venture capital, SME networking services company eseller is ramping up its operations and management team in preparation for an initial public offering within the next 18 months.eseller has just announced the appointment of David Tonuri as director, joining founders and co-directors Glenn Price and Mike Nicholls, in a bid to rapidly move the Sydney-based company into the wider Australian market and offer a comprehensive range of networking service to small and medium businesses.

"It is our plan to list within the next 12 to 18 months," Price told ARN. "Our vision is to be the number one IT services company, particularly in the SME space."

Tonuri brings to the company a wide and varied portfolio in investment funding, working with GS Private Equity as an investment manager, and previously with Bankers Trust in Sydney and London as vice president of mergers and acquisitions.

"He adds enormously to our skill-set and brings a considerable amount of expertise to the company," Price said.eseller plans to roll out a range of hardware, software, networking and Internet-related services to the Australian business market. Its business units are tiered into hardware and software, data services and Internet and Web design.

"We really feel we are adding value to the small and medium business market - particularly for companies which typically run on between 50 to 700 nodes," Price said. "There are a lot of people talking about bringing solutions to this segment, but very few companies are actually bringing them to the market."

And while the stock market has seen some spectacular listings crashes, Price feels there are still plenty of opportunities available for companies that run on sound business principles to grab IPO funding to help them expand.

"Since day one we have never made a loss - that's pretty funny in the venture capital (VC) world," he said. "There seems to be lots of space for VC money to be invested in the industry and not many good businesses to invest in."

Price said venture capitalists were looking to invest in small companies that were being run like their larger contemporaries, using business practices such as external audits, procedure manuals and CRM systems.

"They are simple things that enable your business model to flow," he said, adding that even if eseller's IPO was not to go ahead, the company's expansion would still be realised, just at a slower rate.

The next step in eseller's plan is expansion into the Victorian market.

"It will still happen without the funding, but this will allow us to get many more heads on the ground very quickly and accelerate our growth," Price said.

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