Startup Gets US$37M from Intel, Dell and Others

Ineto Inc., a U.S. startup that plans to offer a service to help businesses reduce the cost of interacting with their customers, announced Monday that it has received US$37 million in second-round funding from backers, including Intel Corp. and Dell Computer Corp.

The Austin, Texas-based startup plans to launch a "pay-as-you-go" service later this year that it claims will enable companies to interact with customers via the Internet and the telephone without having to make hefty investments in costly software and hardware equipment.

The Series B round of funding was led by long-distance provider Broadwing Inc. and also included Dell Ventures, the Intel Communications Fund and first-round backers Austin Ventures, TL Ventures and mortonsgroup, Ineto said in a statement.

Ineto plans to use the money for product development, marketing and to expand its network of data centers. It plans to roll out its services nationwide in the U.S. later this year, aiming initially at "high-growth e-businesses," Ineto said in the statement.

Ineto was formed in 1999 by a group of former executives from MCI Communications Corp., the U.S. carrier that was gobbled up in a 1998 merger with WorldCom Inc. Its chief executive officer is Mike Betzer, who used to be vice president of technology at MCI.

Ineto also announced Monday the appointment of three new board members: Jerry Taylor, former president and chief executive officer of MCI Communications, James Schneider, chief financial officer of Dell, and Rick Ellenberger, CEO of Broadwing.

Ineto has been deploying its service among a handful of early customers, including online technical support provider All.com Inc.

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