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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 3, 2000. All rights reserved.

EcomServer’s Ascent

Business to business software is in its infancy, says

Nixon Patel, co-founder of eComServer, the fast growing Route 1 software

firm. "But once you open up a portal, it is like climbing a mountain.

As you go higher, you see more. There is an immense opportunity just

to automate the way different businesses talk to each other. As you

climb, you see more things to be done."

Nixon Patel, Raj K. Salgam, and Rakesh Patel (no relation) founded

eComServer two years ago in shared office space at HQ in Princeton

Forrestal Village. Now eComServer has about 80 employees in 10,000

square feet in the Guest Supply building at 4301 Route 1 South, and

120 workers in India in 10,000 square feet at a high tech city park

in Hyderabad, the huge software development center with such neighbors

as Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle. The firm opened a 30-person office

in Madison Square Garden on May 1 and has plans to expand to Europe.

But eComServer keeps its "presence" at HQ in Princeton Forrestal

Village, not only for the Princeton mailing address but also because

of emotional ties. "It is where the three of us spent night after

night after night, wondering how to make this happen," says Patel.

He notes with irony that the post office does not deliver to the company’s

new location in Monmouth Junction. "That is so surprising in this

day and age, in the heart of New Jersey, in a building that has two

publicly traded companies (Guest Supply and Ikon Document Services)

that the post office does not deliver mail." Everyone in

this building gets mail through a box at the Monmouth Junction post

office.

The founders report that the company is well-funded by both angel

investors as well as venture capitalists, some located in the United

States and some in Spain. "As per our business plan we will be

profitable by the end of this year," says Salgam. "Unlike

other Internet companies we have a very strong services division that

is enabling us to break even. We are building up the business to business

E-commerce and believe it will also be profitable by first quarter

of 2001."

Products to improve automated voice response systems are prominent

in the eComServer lineup. Many deal with the Lucent Conversant platform,

an interactive voice response (IVR) system with customer service applications,

usually for automated information giving and receiving. Users navigate

these self-service systems by pressing buttons or saying something.

The Conversant platforms start in the $20,000 range and are being

used by Fortune 1000 companies ranging from banks to catalog companies,

says a Lucent spokesperson.

Here are some of eComServer’s products:

1. Netwatch SNMP Monitors for Simple Network Management

Protocol using manager stations of HP, Tivoli (an IBM-based product),

Castle Rock, and the Web. eComServer has partnered with Lucent Technologies

to devise alarm systems for the Conversant platform. These platforms

monitor inbound voice calls and Lucent has sold more than 300 $2,500

licenses for them.

These programs can page or E-mail support people. Real-time alarm

reporting is triggered by such potential problems as low disk space

or no dial tone. The system can do "triage" and put problems

in categories of critical, major, minor, or informational.

2. A Remote Administration Package eliminates the need

for supervisors to log onto individual Conversant systems. eComServer

licenses these $1,000 packages to Lucent. Potential clients for this

Windows-based package might be Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 companies

3. OneManage works with Script Builder to create workflow

applications for Lucent’s Conversant IVR to consolidate reports,

deploy software, and do version control. Lucent sells this add-on.

4. VConnect is just being launched, the first VXML (voice

workflow management) for telecommunications switches and for IVR.

This lets voice mail messages be heard from the Web. "In the future

when you call for bank balance and mortgage information, you will

be able to administer the menus and adjust the workflow so that you

won’t have to go through five different menus. We have a 12-member

team working on the product and believe it will be ready in four months,"

says Patel.

"Creating self help options is moving in the right direction,

and it is good to be a little company that provides a product for

a big company," says Gary Pudles of AnswerNet on Witherspoon Street (www.answernetnetwork.com).

Founded by William Robertshaw, AnswerNet has bought a majority share

in Signius Corp. (another telemessaging processing firm founded by

Robertshaw) and is now the largest telemessaging firm in North America.

"eComServer is taking the existing paradigm for old technologies

— alarm systems and systems control — and moving them to the

new platform, which is a Lucent system. The platforms will continue

to change, but the concept is tried and true," says Pudles.

Salgam, the CEO, graduated as an electrical engineer from Jawaharlal

Nehru Technological University in 1984 and did his master’s degree

at Villanova. He then worked at Bell Labs in Lincroft and Holmdel

as a consultant. He was a key manager at Web Sci Technologies on Route

1 North for nine years and co-founded the company as an S Corporation

with Nixon Patel and Rakesh Patel in 1998. He had known Rakesh Patel

from Bell Labs and met Nixon Patel socially. He is married and has

a school-aged son and preschool daughter. His father is an accountant,

and he has two brothers (one remaining in India) and a sister who

lives in New Jersey.

Nixon Patel, president and CTO, is an alumnus of the Indian Institute

of Technology in Kharagbur, known for its electrical and computer

science, Class of 1985. A native of Calcutta, where his father was

a chemist and had his own business, he went to New Jersey Institute

of Technology for his master’s degree then did networking research

at Research Triangle Park for IBM. He has been married for almost

15 years and has two school age children.

"About the time I started my thesis, I took a job on Wall Street.

I started the derivatives group for Smith Barney and worked for other

brokerages," says Patel. He did the first foreign exchange Web-based

system for J.P. Morgan, reconfigured the derivatives system for Daichi

Bank, and was one of four consultants to structure the "value

at risk" program for the merger of Chase and Chemical. He helped

found one company that grew to 80 people by the time he left, and

had another small company that worked on real-time distributed risk

management systems.

Patel’s vision in March, 1998, was to address the business to business

E-commerce market. At the time he was working with Dresdner Bank;

he knew Rakesh Patel. Between them, they have strong ties with Lucent,

Oracle, and Netscape. "I knew all these old relationships and

partnerships in the application server market were going to boom,"

says Patel.

"We are looking for hyper-growth, $45 to $50 million revenue by

2002," says Patel. "What we see now is just the tip of the

iceberg. The production group in New York has an exciting XML technology

driven by intelligent agents to make businesses work more efficiently

and create systems to make everything more open."

The company refuses to be worried about lagging tech stocks. "We

believe that there has to be a healthy correction and that it is good

for the economy," says Salgam. He says he has "incentified"

his employees with a strong stock option plan. "The only thing

that can affect our business is the core inflation rate."

Salgam compares the IT world with the manufacturing industry and predicts

that more of the intellectual property and creative work will happen

in the United States but that the actual programming will get pushed

off in the future: "The important thing is that the creative high

end will be done in the United States. The U.S. is the most productive

nation in the world and they have the most creative workforce. In

the leading force of all adopting and using technology, the U.S. is

always ahead, and even more so in the electronic and information age."

That the company gets labeled as being Indian because its officers

are from India is understandable, he says, "but it doesn’t reflect

the truth. No work we get here has been shipped to India, though we

may do that obviously in the future."

Salgam emphasizes that most of his workers are citizens or hold green

cards. "We are an American company," he says, "and most

of us have been here for 15 years. We have chosen to locate here in

a 50-mile radius of the major pharmaceutical, financial, and telecommunications

firms. America is a melting pot."

eComServer Inc., 4301 Route 1 South, Princeton

Executive Center, Suite 220, Monmouth Junction. Mailing address: 116

Village Boulevard, Suite 200, Princeton Forrestal Village 08540. 800-348-9664;

fax, 888-979-8800. Home page: www.ecomserver.com.

Top Of Page
Start-Ups

PC Service Network Inc., 397 Ridge Road, Dayton

Professional Center, Suite 3, Dayton 08810. Wayne Kaminski. 732-329-9495;

fax, 732-329-9590.

The computer repair service has opened at this location. It has corporate

clients, mostly in north Jersey, New York, and Long Island, for which

it repairs big printers, PCs, and networks, usually on maintenance

contracts.

Top Of Page
Crosstown Moves

B&R Industrial Automation Corp., 7 Centre Drive,

Suite 1, Jamesburg 08831. Peter Mathe, sales manager. 609-395-9912;

fax, 609-395-9916. Home page: www.br-automation.com.

This firm has moved from 211 North Center Drive, North Brunswick.

Based in Georgia, it sells operator panels, PLCs, and industrial computers.

Prudential Insurance, Princeton Meadows Office

Center, Suite 600, Plainsboro 08536. Robert M. Dilatush, special agent.

609-799-1920; fax, 609-799-1646. www.prudential.com.

This insurance office moved within Princeton Meadows Office park from

Suite 308 to Suite 600. Robert Dilatush offers homeowners, auto, and

life insurance.

Top Of Page
Leaving Town

ADT Security Systems, 2540 Route 130, Suite 100,

Cranbury 08512. 609-655-2200.

The retail seller of electronic burglar, fire, card access, and CCTV

alarm systems has closed this 120-person office and divided the accounts

three ways, between Edison, Pennsauken, and Moorestown.

Systems Fulfillment, 666 Plainsboro Road, Suite

600, Plainsboro 08536. 609-275-7120.

The computer leasing company has moved to larger space in Neptune.

A staff person declined to give further details.

Top Of Page
Legal Maneuvers

H. Gross Outfitters, 51 Hulfish Street, Palmer

Square, Princeton 08542. Henry Gross, owner. 609-924-6088.

Henry Gross filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. Court papers

show that he owes about $200,000 to Starbare Associates, which has

liens on his equipment, merchandise, and his home.

The store had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992 and four years

later moved from a prime walk-in location at One Palmer Square to

a smaller store at 51 Hulfish Street. It sells sporting goods, many

with the Princeton name or university logo.

Top Of Page
Correction

Tachyon Systems LLC, 47 Hulfish Street, Princeton

08540. Home page: www.tachyonsystems.com.

In the April 19 issue of U.S. 1, the photo of Keith Danko at his desk

shows a Bloomberg terminal, not a proprietary product of Tachyon

Systems, as the U.S. 1 caption suggested. U.S. 1 regrets the error.

Top Of Page
Deaths

Issa I. Edmonds, 67, on April 21. She worked with J&J Temporary,

Total Research, and Department of Environmental Protection.


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