Trintech Group of Ireland has strengthened the foundation of its second home in California with $20 million in private financing.
The investors in the electronic commerce systems company include an all- star cast of high-tech investment banks and investment managers for prominent individuals such as Hasso Plattner, chairman of the German software giant SAP, and Jim Bidzos, president of RSA Data Security.
Trintech has business relationships with those two companies, among others, and sees the mix of both conventional investors and strategic partners as a strong endorsement, said chief executive officer John McGuire.
"This is an insiders' club of people who really believe in electronic commerce and see secure payment as central to it," he said. "Having such great partners positions us well. We are firmly on the ground and will be able to add good people."
Credibility and talent are crucial to a market entrant like Trintech, and $20 million will be significant for its "marketing and visibility," said Gary Craft, senior analyst at BancAmerica Robertson Stephens in San Francisco, which helped raise the capital.
"This is a rapidly growing but relatively small player facing leviathans" like International Business Machines Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Verifone subsidiary, Mr. Craft said. He said Trintech has made impressive strides internationally with the credit card industry's Secure Electronic Transactions protocol, which has been slow to take off in the United States, and it enjoys support from American Express Co. and Visa International.
Trintech was founded in Dublin 12 years ago by brothers John and Cyril McGuire, specializing in point of sale software. Like Verifone, it set its sights on carrying conventional payment systems over to the Internet. Last year it took up residence near San Jose, Calif., and put a research and development center in Princeton, N.J., to tap into that area's scientific and engineering talent.
About one-fourth of Trintech's 200 employees are in the United States. It disclosed a long list of hirings that John McGuire said illustrates its "traction" here. They included sales director Tony Tyson from Netscape Communications Corp.; director of strategic initiatives Kayode Owens, formerly of American Express and MasterCard; account director Cameron Randolph, who was sales director of SET specialist GlobeSet Inc.; and Leo Ring from Microsoft, head of the business development unit.
Trintech also added former GlobeSet marketing manager Chris Hamilton, who will remain based in Austin, Tex.
Mr. McGuire said privately held Trintech is profitable and will use its "war chest" to rise "above the noise level in North America."
It has clearly made strides with backing from the likes of BT Alex. Brown, Hambrecht & Quist, and HarbourVest International, a Boston investment firm with $2 billion under management.
Security Dynamics Technologies Inc., parent of the data encryption leader RSA, is an investor, as is Tolmi LLC, portfolio manager for RSA president Jim Bidzos. RSA chief operating officer Al Sisto joined Trintech's board.
Ronn Loewenthal, managing director of Loewenthal Capital, speaking for Mr. Plattner of SAP, said, "We consider Trintech the leader in secure payment products and are confident they will be a significant player in the emerging world of electronic commerce."
Trintech can help make Internet commerce a reality with systems that improve customer service, reduce costs, and generate profits, Mr. McGuire said. "We are winning a third of all the deals that come up," he said, "and we expect we can get to 50%."