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Approval management software developer Silanis can help you buy a house, apply for a credit card or access government documents online.

So far, Silanis has been strong in providing services to financial service firms and the U.S. government. Now the St. Laurent, Quebec-based company wants to enable a customer's entire approval and purchasing process online for multiple applications in multiple industries.

New investor MM Venture Partners has given the company a $2.5 million venture loan to help it along.

The unconditional venture loan can be used like capital but does not give MM a seat on the board of directors. MM Partner Ron Patterson spearheaded the deal, made earlier this month, beating out previous investors, some of whom wanted to put equity into the company.

Two of the company's previous investors were vying to give the loan to the company once Silanis' CEO Richard Warren made it known that the company was only looking for a loan.

The company has raised a total of between $14 million and $15 million. Past investors in the company include Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (Caisse), Investissement Desjardins, Lehman Brothers and Mosaic Venture Partners.

MM got the deal because they specialize in making venture loans, could do the deal fast (from start to cash in hand was only four weeks) and because Warren, who came on the job this spring, didn't want any squabbles between current investors.

"We would have had squabble on the board. It could have turned into no money or a long drawn out battle," say Warren, who served in executive positions with Hogan Systems, IBM, NewTrend and MPCT Solutions before joining Silanis this June.

"I wanted my efforts to focus on building the team and getting our business plan going," Warren says.

Silanis is looking to create a new category in the online approval processing by combining the two service segments they've specialized in so far: electronic signature verification and electronic transaction services.

The company will be spending its money to double its sales force and create a client services division to better attract and retain customers.

Warren expects the company to more than double its revenue, with 25% of its new sales coming from its new client services business. He says the company will be "solidly profitable" by Q3 of 2004 and that Silanis would plan on opening at least one office in the U.S. Silanis employs about 70 employees and plans to have 100 by September 2004.

From Private Equity Week
September 29, 2003

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