The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Ornette Coleman's "The Face of the Bass:"
Israel Business Arena is reporting that start-up e-Glue Business Technologies Inc. has raised $10 million in its second financing round.
Evergreen Venture Partners led the round with a $5 million investment, IBA says, "and was joined by existing shareholders Cedar Fund and Giza Venture Capital, private investors Shimon Alon and Ron Zuckerman, and Kibbutz Ein Shemer and Kibbutz Maagan Michael. This was Evergreen's first investment from the Evergreen V Fund."
Founded in 2001, e-Glue, which had raised $7 million previously, "develops and markets a software package for improving performance and quality, and increase sales in real-time to customer service call centers."
Proceeds from the financing round are intended to further development of new applications for customer service centers and the marketing of new products worldwide, according to IBA.
The journal says e-Glue was founded in Ein Shemer "on the basis of know-how of young programmers from the kibbutz, including CEO Omer Geva and VP business development Moshe Avlagon. The company's software provides customer service call centers, sales centers, and support centers with real-time information to improve their efficiency and boost company sales."
Today is the birthday of two writers, Franz Kafka and Dave Barry. One was born in 1883, one was born in 1947. One writes about existentialistic despair and the alienation of man's spirit in a world suffused with mechanical and psychological terror, about the injustices regularly meted out on helpless people by cruel governments. The other writes about beer, Barbie dolls, cows, exploding toilets and booger jokes.
One died penniless and in obscurity, the other is one of the most widely-read, highly-paid English majors on the planet. Yet another example of the genius of the free market at work.
So as First Coffee readers are known to be a highly intelligent, literary lot, we'll perform a running literary quiz through today's column, posting quotes and passages from these two world-class authors, and it's up to you to detect the nuances in style, theme and context to identify the author. First passages:
A. "We need the books that affect us like disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."
B. "Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it's open to anybody who owns hideous clothing."
At a recent conference in Birmingham, England, Customer: Strategy & Management, participants showed that "integrated customer management is even higher on the agenda of senior management," according to conference organizers.
"Implementing an effective customer management strategy is top of mind for senior management," said Simon Mills, Event Director, Customer: Strategy & Management. "Organizations are looking at overall strategy first then the blend of technology solutions coupled with training and consultancy."
Surveys of conference attendees found that 75% of respondents said their customer strategy is led at "board level," and 80% of the attendees were from "senior management positions or above," an 8% increase from the 2005 event.
In a figure event organizers called "encouraging," 54% of the visitors came to the show with an existing customer management strategy in place and were looking for ways to integrate and fine tune their procedures, while 39% of the attendees used it as a starting point to develop and then implement their strategy.
Over half the visitors stated that they are in active buying and investigating cycles and 50% expected their budgets for customer management products & services to increase by at least 10% in 2006.
Time for another literary poser, as you play guess the author: Dave Barry or Franz Kafka, today's birthday boys:
A. "You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid."
B. "I now realize that the small hills you see on ski slopes are formed around the bodies of forty-seven-year-olds who tried to learn snowboarding."
Art Technology Group, Inc., a vendor of licensed and on demand technology for e-commerce sites and customer service, has announced a "wide-ranging partnership" with Steria, a European IT systems integration and consulting services business.
The partnership is to focus on "delivering consulting and services in support of ATG's European business," according to ATG officials.
Peter Ford, ATG Alliances Director for Europe, Middle East & Africa, said "the partnership will offer Steria customers the opportunity to extend their existing CRM infrastructure and significantly enhance online customer experience and support services using ATG's products."
Gilles Graziani, Director at Steria said his company sees this alliance with ATG as "a strategic decision to provide our clients with time-to-market world class solutions in customer experience and selfcare."
ATG's products, Graziani said, "will help our clients to better understand how end users interact with the business at every touch point and allow them to improve the potential value of every customer interaction, whether it is an outbound marketing campaign, a commerce transaction, or a request for service support."
Part Three of the Great Literary Mystery: Franz or Dave?
A. "Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate... but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins."
B. "I went with my wife and another guy to a Mexican restaurant which we thought would be the ultimate test for an anti-flatulence product. There's a reason most of Mexico is located out of doors."
A. "A first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die."
B. "You can only be young once. But you can always be immature."
Give up? Franz Kafka is "A," Dave Barry's "B." Here's a final thought from the one who has demonstrated the deeper understanding of the human condition:
"What may seem depressing or even tragic to one person may seem like an absolute scream to another person, especially if he has had between four and seven beers."
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