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LivePerson Snaps up NewChannel Assets

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Posted July 10, 2002 By Erin Joyce     Feedback

Real-time CRM provider and Silicon Alley survivor plucks corporate customer contracts as a rival provider prepares to wind down.

Real-time customer service ASP LivePerson has acquired all the customer contracts of NewChannel, a rival firm that provided real-time customer acquisition campaigns.

The Alley-based LivePerson said it paid less than $1 million for the assets, which it expects to help boost its own revenues by about 12 percent each month.

Robert LoCascio, the chief executive of LivePerson, said the NewChannel customer base will be moved to LivePerson's customer service platform immediately.

"Strategically, this will help us focus on high-end customers" including the 14 large customers it purchased from NewChannel.

NewChannel, based in Redwood City, Calif., launched in 1997 offering Web-based sales channel services that would help clients track site visitors, qualify the leads and pitch them on sales. Some of its customers included AT&T, Bell South and Bell Canada, which now revert immediately to LivePerson's platform while the privately-held NewChannel prepares to wind down operations, LoCascio said.

LivePerson is often cited as one of the last Alley companies to get an IPO out the door before the tech sell off hit the Nasdaq in early 2000, effectively shuttering the initial offering market for months. When dot-com clients began falling off the company's balance sheet, LivePerson hunkered down by slashing costs, cutting staff, renegotiating leases, moving to the Nasdaq small cap market and hanging on to its cash.

As of the end of March, for example, LivePerson had about $10.4 million in cash and securities on hand, slightly more than the same time the prior year. The cushion has helped keep the wolf from the door for the company, whose revenues slid to $1.8 million as of the end of March of this year from $2.4 million during the same time last year.

LivePerson's customer base has grown to about 3,000 in the past four years to include American Airlines Credit Union, Ameritrade, EarthLink, Federated Stores, Godiva and QVC. It recently signed a big contract to provide back-end instant chat and other customer service applications for e-commerce giant eBay, which counts about 46 million registered users.

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