Arena News Secures $5 Million in Series B Funding

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Foster City, Calif., Jan 23 - today announced it has secured $5 million in Series B funding, led by private equity investment firm Otter Capital. IDEO, a world-renowned innovation and design firm and a customer, joined this round as a strategic investor. is the first company to offer a web-native solution for collaborative product development built around a bill-of-materials (BOM) framework. The product is a powerful tool for storing and organizing product specifications, managing suppliers and pricing information, integrating the supply chain into the design process and unifying members of the entire extended organization in a collaborative working environment.

"Our ability to raise capital in the current environment illustrates the confidence investors have in," said Michael Topolovac, chief executive officer and co-founder of "It confirms not only the strength of our application but also the overall need for more effective — and cost-effective — solutions to enable collaborative product development. We will use the funding to expand our sales outreach, strengthen our market presence and maintain an aggressive approach to developing new functionality."

"During difficult economic times, investors need to see proof," said John Pasquesi, managing member of Otter Capital. "With, the results were irrefutable. Not only has the company architected an elegant, easy-to-use solution for the complex problem of managing and sharing product information — a problem faced by every hardware design and manufacturing business — but it launched that solution on time and on budget. And around that technology, the company has built a solid customer base, a scalable business model and an experienced management team."

Pasquesi has joined the board of directors as chairman. Before founding Otter Capital, he was managing director of Hellman & Friedman, a private equity firm whose investments include Formula One Holdings, Young & Rubicam and NASDAQ, among others.

"In a world of shrinking product development cycles, globally dispersed design teams and outsourced manufacturing, seamless collaboration is a business imperative," said David Strong, chief financial officer of IDEO and general partner in IDEO Ventures. "That is the world IDEO inhabits, and that is why we decided to deploy across our organization. Any business developing complex products needs a better way to navigate this increasingly demanding world. The opportunity for is tremendous, and that is why we decided to invest."

IDEO was actively involved in the early development of the application and recently signed a major deal to license the software.

Since launching in June 2001, the application has achieved swift market acceptance and sales. Its web-native architecture enables customers to deploy the software in a matter of days — and begin seeing the return on their investment instantly. customers incur none of the hardware or set-up costs traditionally required to install enterprise-class software and instead pay just a low, per-user subscription fee. The architecture also means that companies using receive automatic software upgrades on a regular basis. Existing customers have already benefited from the seamless introduction of several major new feature sets, as well as ongoing functionality and usability enhancements.

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