Thursday, June 08, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Atlanta ~ by Frank Wrenn

Word on the street (or at least in Churchill Arms, the pubbiest pub in Buckhead) is that ( is experiencing some phenomenal growth. They have already taken over several floors in the Atlanta Financial Center and plan to hire lots of new salespeople in the coming months. The official word from Meredith A.C. Roth,’s VP, Corporate Communications: “We have about 130 employees...and are on a steady growth curve based on demand for our products and services...and the skills/talent required to deliver them. We are in the process of having our colleagues, who currently are located in Dunwoody, move to our AFC location...where our senior executives, marketing and sales among other depts., are currently located.”

In other Hotlanta news, Healtheon/WebMD ( has taken another step in its vision to connect physicians and consumers to the entire healthcare industry by partnering with SimplyHealth  (, a health insurance services provider. Both are Atlanta based. The companies will develop a health insurance distribution service on’s consumer portal. Under terms of the agreement, Healtheon/WebMD will receive $30 million over three years. Healtheon/WebMD will also make a minority equity investment in SimplyHealth, with K. Robert Draughon, executive vice president of business development at Healtheon/WebMD serving on the Simply board of directors.

In addition to the new funding from Healtheon/WebMD, SimplyHealth also secured second round funding from SSM Ventures, Total Technology Ventures and New Era Capital, as well as returning investors LiveOak Equity Partners and incubate Holdings Inc. Second round funding totaled $26 million.

In another new Atlanta partnership, and have teamed up to promote and distribute one another’s services., developed by Ockham Technologies, provides online content and services to support sales management professionals. Fitability Systems provides online interviewing and assessment services. Ockham also recently announced the addition of Stephen Handel, formerly of Peoplesoft and Jon Hauck, formerly of Siebel, to its management team.

Last month, CyberStarts, an incubator for early-stage e-commerce firms focused on financial services, announced the completion of an $86 million seed round of funding. This week, it announced the addition of CyberASP to its list of accelerated companies. Under terms of the agreement, CyberStarts has an investment of $5 million in CyberASP and will play a key role in the management and direction of the company. CyberASP provides insurance clients with a web-based service that helps clients automate claims processing.

And speaking of e-commerce incubators, there is a new one on the block. Duffey Communications has announced the launching of Golden Egg ( Golden Egg combines business development, acceleration and consulting expertise with a specialization in marketing, public relations and brand development. Its services are offered in exchange for a cash fee and negotiated equity stake in each portfolio company.

If you have information on Atlanta news and events, send it to me at