ViaNovus: a little background

Further to yesterday’s post on ViaNovus, here’s a little more background on the latest US company just acquired by Sword.

Founded in about 1998 as the Paragon Company in California, the business was co-founded by Darrell Garrett and Arthur Bart-Williams, with backing from angel investor Michael Fields, of New Vista Capital (Bart-Williams later left the business to form a second start-up, Zonux, but Garrett is still associated with the company).

In May 1999, the company announced $2.5m additional funding from Chicago-based Polestar Capital Partners, and changed its name to ViaNovus (‘new way’ in Latin). The funding was to be used to help build a stronger sales and support infrastructure for its Paragon project management system (at the time, the management team included President and CEO Schone Malliet, later – January 2001 – senior VP of Field Operations, Americas for Citadon).

Since then, according to the ViaNovus website, the company has established itself as “the leading provider of owner-focused program management solutions for the construction industry”, focusing on target markets including US federal, state and local governments, airports, rail, bridges/heavy civil, education and utilities. Its clients include URS, KJM & Associates (acquired by Hill International in 2007), Bechtel and Continental Airlines. It says it supplies both off-the-shelf and customised systems to construction firms across the US; I couldn’t find much evidence of traction for Paragon outside the US.

Its products are Microsoft-based and designed to integrate with third-party systems including existing database and Notes-based systems (technology partners include Microsoft, Oracle and Autodesk). Its Paragon system has built-in integration with Microsoft Excel, Word and Project, MAPI-compliant e-mail (eg: MS Outlook and Lotus mail), Adobe Acrobat, Welcom Open Plan and Primavera Project Planner (P3). It appears to be available on both a locally-hosted and a 24/7 application service provision (ASP) model – however, the ASP version was announced in May 2001, suggesting that the Paragon solution was not originally developed as a pure web-native, software-as-a-service (SaaS) application (though, of course, its architecture may have been substantially overhauled since then).

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