Venture capitalists' interest in the emerging electronic bill presentment field is benefiting BlueGill Technologies Inc.

Menlo Ventures of Menlo Park, Calif., and Morganthaler Ventures of Cleveland invested $2.5 million each in the Ann Arbor, Mich., software company. Two private investors put in another $800,000.

BlueGill, formed in 1996, is one of many software developers and processors pursuing a market that Menlo Ventures partner Mark Siegel said could generate $1 billion of business in a few years.

He rated BlueGill "the market leader" because of "customer feedback more than anything else. People were incredibly satisfied with what they have."

BlueGill's software is for large-company billing operations. The system extracts relevant customer data from a mainframe system and can deliver it to any location through the Internet.

The software is used by American Express, Ameritech, and Pacific Bell. Mr. Siegel said BlueGill has relationships with IBM, Electronic Data Systems Corp., and M&I Data Services.

The company's founder, Hal Davis, is a former employee of Interface Systems, a maker of printers for IBM computers.

He has established alliances with participants in the nascent presentment industry such as Checkfree Corp., Intuit Inc., Princeton Telecom, and the Microsoft Corp.-First Data Corp. joint venture MSFDC.

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