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Software to track beer draws investors: Intervolve raises $2 million
[April 26, 2006]

Software to track beer draws investors: Intervolve raises $2 million

(News & Observer, The (Raleigh, NC) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Apr. 26--Raise your glass. Intervolve, a Raleigh company specializing in software for beer wholesalers, has raised $2 million.

The money, Intervolve's first outside funding since 2001, will fuel accelerated growth and new and enhanced products for the company, which helps beer distributors manage their business from the warehouse to the convenience store cooler.

"We raised this money to help us scale our business as demand started to be heightened," chief executive Chris Newton said. "We wanted to be in a very good position to grow the company more rapidly."

Intervolve's software meets the challenges of a consolidating beer industry, he said. Wholesalers are taking on more brands, but stores aren't adding more shelf space. That forces distributors to figure out how to strategically place each brand in the location where it will generate the best sales.

Intervolve's first Web-based software product, introduced in 2001, helps beer distributors analyze customer accounts and product placement and set goals for their sales and delivery staff. Its second product, which was introduced last year, helps automate a distributor's supply chain and delivery route planning.

Using Intervolve's Route Accounting System, a salesperson in the field can enter a beer order into his or her pocket PC and immediately sync it with the warehouse system. The warehouse can then start loading trucks with orders for the next day's routes. Likewise, drivers who deliver beer use pocket or tablet PCs to edit orders and invoices and keep track of their accounts.

"It's all about efficiency and smarter selling, and it really runs their business," Newton said.

The company counts about 75 distribution companies in about 18 states as its customers, including Harris and Harris Wholesale, both Triangle beer distributors. Intervolve has 35 full-time employees.

Newton plans to double Intervolve's size over the next two years, adding workers in technology and sales and marketing. Intervolve is a privately held company. He declined to provide sales figures, but he said revenue grew 62.5 percent in the first quarter over the same period last year.

The concepts behind the company's software extend throughout the beverage industry, and one client is already using Intervolve products to manage beer, wine, soft drinks, water, juice and coffee, Newton said. He expects a natural progression into other drinks by customers with similarly broad inventories. Within a year, Intervolve plans to introduce a product specifically for other beverages.

Intervolve seems to have an industry-leading product, said Bill Neal, chairman of NC Idea, formerly MCNC Ventures. The venture capital fund invested in Intervolve, along with Sanoch Management, a New York angel investment group.

"They have a strong management team, an established revenue stream and their future looks very bright," said Neal, who also joined the company's board.

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