StarCite Raises $15 Million

StarCite Inc., a Philadelphia-based provider of on-demand meeting and event management solutions, has raised $15 million in new VC funding. Return backers include Internet Capital Group, TPG Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners. The company had previously raised around $36 million.

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

StarCite, Inc., the leading provider of on-demand meeting and event management solutions for corporations and hotels, venues, and other meeting suppliers, today announced that it has secured $15 million in funding from current investors, including Internet Capital Group (NASDAQ: ICGE), TPG Ventures, and Norwest Venture Partners (NVP).  StarCite plans to use the proceeds from the funding to support its continued global growth and ongoing enhancements to its suite of technology offerings. 

 

StarCite is experiencing fast-growing demand from corporate buyers and meeting suppliers.  A record $7.5 billion in meeting and event business passed through StarCite's Online Global Marketplace in 2007, an increase of approximately 30 percent over 2006This volume of meeting business represented more than 20 million room nights from some of the world's largest corporations.  StarCite counts among its customers 150 of the Fortune 500 companies, and added a number of prestigious clients to its roster in the first quarter including First Data Corp., Lincoln Financial Group, Great-West Life, as well as one of the world's largest computer and consumer electronics manufacturers, and sporting goods makers. In addition, StarCite counts more than 93,000 supplier participants in its online marketplace.

 

“Meetings have long been one of the last unexplored frontiers of spend management for corporations, but this is rapidly changing,” said Keith Forshew, Chief Operating Officer of StarCite.  “Companies are zeroing in on value-adding technologies that improve both visibility and control over their meeting investment.  At the same time, hotels, venues and other meeting suppliers are searching for ways to connect electronically with potential customers.  Our business fulfills both of these needs.  We are pleased to have the additional funds from this offering to help us ensure we make the investments necessary to solidify our position as the leading provider of on-demand meeting and event management solutions.” 

 

Meetings and events are a major category of corporate spending.  A new report from Aberdeen Group on strategic meetings management found that spending on corporate meetings and events has continued to rise, growing by 10 percent from 2006 to 2007.  Aberdeen found that meetings spend as a percentage of revenue was approximately 2.8 percent in 2007 for the 300 companies it surveyed.  According to the report, companies that institute a strategic meetings management program can achieve 89 percent compliance to corporate policies for meetings and events and can save an average of over 11 percent on their meetings spend.

 

“From connecting buyers and suppliers electronically through its online marketplace to streamlining the meeting planning process from start to finish, StarCite has made a dramatic impact on the market for meetings and events,” said Doug Alexander, managing director at Internet Capital Group and a member of StarCite's board of directors.  “Based on the opportunities that lie ahead for StarCite, both in the U.S. and abroad, we are excited to provide capital along with our colleagues at TPG Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners in this round of funding.”  

 

Over the past 12 months, StarCite has continued to introduce new product offerings and partnerships to improve meeting management practices for both buyers and suppliers, including the following: