Globeset Inc., a company closely associated with SET software for Internet credit card payments, is going corporate.
It has acquired J. Driscoll and Associates, a prominent vendor of cash management software. This is likely to be the first of a series of additions to the Globeset portfolio, said Dennis Jolly, the company's senior vice president of sales and marketing.
Having put together an extensive global network for software sales to financial institutions, Globeset is setting out to "feed the channel" with additional products, Mr. Jolly said in an interview.
The fact that it is in a position to do acquisitions says much about how far Globeset of Austin, Tex., has come and where it is going.
The privately held company was one of several advanced technology startups -- another was the digital certification company Certco Inc. -- to emerge from the venture capital unit of Bankers Trust Corp. in New York, now part of Deutsche Bank. Michael K. Cation, Globeset's chairman and chief executive officer, was a Bankers Trust vice president in Austin, where this early-stage venture began to come together in 1994.
MasterCard International and Visa International started working the next year on the SET, or Secure Electronic Transaction, protocol for Internet payments. Globeset was one of the first to follow with compliant software.
SET is still struggling to gain acceptance in the United States, but overseas it is much further along. Globeset was, therefore, well-served by its emphasis on global distribution through "channel partners," financial technology servicers or consultants such as Infinicom of Sweden and Netlife and DataDesign of Germany.
On Sept. 29, Globeset announced such an agreement with INDI Inc., a leading Korean software developer. INDI is using Globeset technology domestically for its ActiveWallet system, and wants to sell it in other countries, said INDI president Charles Kim.
Deutsche Bank has been joined as a Globeset investor by Chase Manhattan Corp., Citigroup, Compaq Computer Corp., and American Express Co., which said it is using the software company's virtual wallet in the recently announced Blue credit card program.
"We are still moving forward with SET," said Mr. Jolly, adding that Globeset is unique in having been certified by the SETCo oversight body for both its ServerWallet and ServerPOS software. These are "thin client" methods that shift data processing loads away from personal computers, which Mr. Jolly said "removes tremendous barriers to deployment."
Globeset said its invested funds total $66.5 million and its employee total is approaching 300 with the addition of 60 people from J. Driscoll, which has annual revenues of $9 million. The purchase price was not disclosed.
The acquired firm, which is 17 years old, operates as a subsidiary under the name Driscoll and is keeping its base in Dallas. James Driscoll, the owner, retired after the sale closed in August, and the operation reports to an "office of the chief operating officer" that includes Mr. Jolly and chief technology officer William Archibald.
Driscoll is known for financial reconciliation packages that are called e-CMS/ACM -- electronic cash management system/automated cash management. The software automates key parts of the cash management function and makes handling of exception items easier for 250 major corporations.
Mr. Jolly said Globeset intends to apply its expertise to "Web-enabling" the Driscoll software, which is currently installed on a conventional stand-alone basis at customer sites. Banks would be able to serve a wide range of clearing, settlement, and verification needs securely over the Internet.
"Industry insiders predict exponential growth in e-commerce to drive a strong increase in demand for a secure, global electronic-transaction infrastructure over the next several years," Mr. Cation said. "Combining Globeset's industry-leading e-commerce transaction technologies with the industry's most capable e-CMS/ACM technology gives e-commerce vendors and their back-end financial-service providers the most efficient, secure Internet transaction technology available."
Globeset says it foresees considerable demand for e-CMS/ACM via its distribution channels on the so-called OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, sales model. "A couple of our partners have stepped up -- there is real international interest," Mr. Jolly said.