Neoteris Unites Netscape Co-Founders
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ After stumbling through the dot-com debacle, Web browser pioneer Jim Clark is teaming up with old partner Jim Barksdale again, trying to recapture the success they enjoyed in their heyday at Netscape Communications.
Clark and Barksdale are reuniting as the lead investors in Neoteris _ a Greco-Roman word meaning ``new territory.″ The Sunnyvale start-up, which is being run by one of Clark’s most trusted lieutenants, says it can save companies money by giving their employees and suppliers access to corporate networks through Web browsers instead of more elaborate Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs.
After spending 18 months developing its technology, Neoteris is unveiling its product line Monday.
Neoteris is ``a nice alternative to the supreme headaches you get from using VPNs,″ Clark said during an interview last week. ``This may not be a pioneering market, but it’s going to be an instant market that grows rapidly.″
Neoteris chief executive Kittu Kolluri, Clark’s business confidant for years, is convinced the idea may be good enough to merit another chapter in ``The New New Thing″ _ a 1999 book devoted largely to Clark’s knack for turning technology breakthroughs into lucrative businesses.
Neoteris’ service is more likely to become a supplement to VPNs and other similar remote control services, such as Expertcity’s GoToMyPc.com and Symantec’s pcAnywhere, said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with the Yankee Group.
Clark, 57, gained his reputation as a serial entrepreneur by launching three prominent tech companies:
_Silicon Graphics, whose 3-D computer imaging technology changed movie making.
_Netscape, whose Web browser commercialized the Internet.
_Healtheon, now known as WebMD, one of the first online medical portals.
All grew into major businesses with at least $500 million in annual revenue and became prized investments on Wall Street before falling on hard times.
Connecting to a computer network through a VPN always seemed cumbersome to Clark, so he saw dollar signs when Kolluri showed him the Neoteris technology.
Clark subsequently shared the idea with former Netscape CEO Barksdale and invested $5 million in Neoteris. The seed money is supposed to carry Neoteris and its 25 employees through the middle of next year when the company plans to raise more venture capital.
Neoteris revolves around the premise that VPNs require too much expense for the fairly simple tasks that most employees want to perform while working outside the office. Rather than install special software and other configurations on each computer that an employee uses to access an VPN, Neoteris sets up a password-protected Web site that serves as a gateway into the corporate network.
The company estimates that the total cost per user in its remote access system is 50 percent cheaper than VPNs.
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