SAN MATEO, Calif. -- nCommand Inc., a mortgage technology developer, quietly began soliciting buyers Tuesday, company officials confirmed late Wednesday.

A consultant to the company sent out an e-mail to 10 to 12 prospective buyers, informing them that the company is on the block, according to the e-mail and nCommand officials.

Andrew Wright, president, chief executive officer, and founder of nCommand, said the company is putting out feelers because the venture capital markets have cooled toward technology firms. As a result, he said, selling the company may be better than trying to arrange another round of funding; nCommand has received $12.1 million in funding since September 1998.

A month ago a company asked nCommand if it was for sale, Mr. Wright said, and the company then decided that "where there was smoke there could be a fire." Though he insisted that the company still has "ample cash to get us through our initiatives," Mr. Wright said a sale would enable nCommand to increase its penetration of the market.

Nonetheless, profitability "is some time off," he acknowledged. According to company projections, it won't be profitable until the first quarter of 2002.

An anonymous source who received one of the e-mails said that while nCommand has good technology, the company, like others in the technology space, is suffering from the mortgage industry's slowness to adapt to new technologies.

The source added that companies such as nCommand are also being hit by the current boom in refinances. As many lenders are struggling to meet the new demand, the source said, new technology projects are getting put on the backburner.

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