Appature Looks to Land Venture Funding, Go Big in Healthcare Marketing Software

9/28/09Follow @gthuang

Healthcare-IT is a hot topic in Seattle these days—and it’s about to get even hotter. Sources with knowledge of the company tell me Appature, a two-and-a-half-year-old Seattle startup focused on improving marketing and customer relationship management in the healthcare industry, is close to getting its first round of venture funding—and may even be the subject of a bidding war between venture capital firms in both the Seattle area and Silicon Valley.

I won’t reveal the identities of the VCs involved, because the deal hasn’t closed yet, but let’s just say they are some of the more prominent investors in software and tech. Appature was apparently considering a local deal (with a very different structure) when another Seattle-area venture firm swooped in with great interest—and probably a lot more money. Appature’s founders did not return e-mails seeking comment on the company’s strategy or funding status.

Appature is already profitable and has some big customers, including Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft Health Solutions Group. The company has been bootstrapped up to this point. In the past few months, we’ve reported on Appature’s Twitter search engine, Chatterfly, and CEO Kabir Shahani’s tech entrepreneurship award from BusinessWeek.

The startup is known for its marketing software, which helps companies in the broader healthcare industry do things like deliver targeted and personalized marketing campaigns (and measure their effectiveness in real time), track marketing activity and the performance of their corporate and community websites, and learn more about their customers via sophisticated business intelligence and analytics tools.

Appature was founded in early 2007 by Shahani and senior engineer Chris Hahn. They had met previously at Seattle-based social networking startup Blue Dot, which was backed by prominent angel investors including Richard Fade (now with Bellevue, WA-based Ignition Partners), and former Starbucks senior vice president Donald Valencia, who passed away in late 2007. In an early interview with Seattle-based nPost, Shahani said his startup’s main opportunity was in improving customer relationship management for medical device, pharmaceutical, and healthcare companies. Appature helps these companies “understand what’s going on in their organizations in regards to their customer segments and how they can drive more revenue,” he said.

Earlier this month, Appature was featured as “startup of the day” by Microsoft’s BizSpark program. In a published interview, Shahani said Appature has 11 full-time employees (five are developers), and is planning to expand its team by the end of the year. “We are in the fundraising process to commercialize our product and increase our time-to-market,” he said.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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  • http://eric@peters.org Eric

    That sounds about right, whenever you take VC funding you ALWAYS *INCREASE* your time-to-market :) In all seriousness, I hope they do well – Health Care isn’t a market that is going away anytime soon.