Ex-Ebeon firm notches up the deals


29 Jan 2003

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A start-up that emerged from the debris that was failed Irish web design firm Ebeon has succeeded in notching up a number of key deals in the US, Europe and Asia on the back of demand for its project management tools that help to prevent IT project write-offs.

SteelTrace was established in 2001 by ex-Ebeon employees Fergal McGovern and Tara O’Sullivan and is headed by CEO Mark Melville. Ebeon was at the forefront of Irish tech failures in 2001 when Eircom decided to cut its investment in the company, which was at one staged tipped for an initial public offering (IPO), resulting in the loss of more than 170 jobs.

SteelTrace’s Catalyze product enables IT managers to reduce the risk of IT project failure. A recent report from KPMG claims that 56pc of firms have had to write off at least one IT project in the past year as a failure. According to the study, the average loss incurred as a result of these failures was about US$12.5m, with the single biggest write-off costing almost US$210m.

According to CEO Mark Melville, in the fourth quarter of 2002 the company secured major deals in America, Asia and Europe. New customers included Fortune 500 firms and major system integrators.

“Businesses are under great pressure to cut costs. Consequently many of them are looking for software tools to help streamline projects. Because business process and requirements-capture tools can significantly reduce the risk of project failure, more and more IT managers are purchasing them,” Melville says.

Since establishing in 2001, the company has expanded to include offices in London, Washington, Dublin and San Francisco. In the fallout from the Ebeon debacle the company got in touch with UK-based IT firm Netdecisions, which acquired a 100pc stake in SteelTrace for €1.4m.

By John Kennedy