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Student Startup, ProductivityNet, Nets $250,000 in Venture Funding

Tue, 2001-03-27 10:48 -- Anonymous

March 27, 2001

Company is comprised entirely of undergrads

Troy, N.Y. — ProductivityNet, Inc., a company run by a foursome of 20-somethings, received $250,000 in venture funding from iDeal Partners, an Albany-based investment group. In addition to the funding, iDeal has agreed to finance capital equipment, provide strategic corporate advice and management, and assist with identifying and facilitating potential partnerships.

All but two of the company’s 18 full-time employees are undergrads at Rensselaer. In May, most of those students will graduate. In June, the company will graduate to a larger office space in downtown Troy, N.Y.

Based in Rensselaer’s on-campus Business Incubator, ProductivityNet is the first company run by Rensselaer undergraduates to obtain such a lucrative venture capital windfall.

But in this conservative economic climate, why is a student startup attracting so much financial attention?

When it debuts in June, ProductivityNet’s first product, intranet Management Solution (iMS), will enable a systems administrator to manage the company’s network over the Web or by using any wireless device. This will be the first product of its kind in the marketplace.

“It’s a mobile toolbox for any network systems administrator,” says Vinny Pasceri ’01, 21-year-old founder and CEO of ProductivityNet. “Using a Palm Pilot, cell phone, pager, or laptop, one person can manage, control, and monitor their company’s network environment wherever they happen to be in the world.”

Microsoft, IBM, and Hewlett Packard tout similar products, but they are geared for enterprise companies, cost $100,000 or more, and do not have wireless capability. ProductivityNet’s iMS will sell for substantially less than the competition and is targeted for small to medium-sized businesses.

“This product will allow a small business to dramatically stretch its IT budget,” says Mike McCutcheon ’01, Chief Technology Officer. “Its flexibility is the key. Using our system, a network administrator can be sitting on the beach with his girlfriend, get paged that there is a network problem, then log in and correct it using his cell phone.”

iMS Version 1.1 will handle Windows NT and PalmOS platforms. Forthcoming upgrades will accommodate LINUX, BSD, SOLARIS, NT/2000 among others, and be fully compatible with other management products on the market.

The student-run company has received glowing endorsements from area high-tech business people, including John Cavalier, co-chairman of MapInfo Corporation. Cavalier has agreed to become ProductivityNet’s chairman of the board.

“The two seniors from Rensselaer who founded ProductivityNet, Vinny Pasceri and Jim Kazukietas, have a proven business model and an innovative solution for allowing desk-bound IT professionals and network administrators to apply wireless technology to manage their networks remotely,” says Cavalier. “They have identified a unique niche in the IT world.”

ProductivityNet
Founded in 1999 by Pasceri and Jim Kazukietas ’01 during their sophomore year at Rensselaer, ProductivityNet occupied a vacant shower stall in the Institute’s on-campus business incubator. In 2000, ProductivityNet won the $25,000 Rensselaer/Lucent Business Plan Competition, which is sponsored annually by the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, in Rensselaer’s Lally School of Management and Technology. ProductivityNet was incorporated in February 2001.

The management team includes: Kazukietas, chief operating officer and management major; McCutcheon, chief technology officer, and computer science major; and Jon Kloptosky ’01, chief client architect and computer science major.

For more information, contact ProductivityNet at: 518-276-2903
Vinny Pasceri / vinny@productivitynet.com or James Kazukietas / james@productivitynet.com

Contact: Megan Galbraith
Phone: (518) 276-6531
E-mail: N/A