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Saturday, May 9, 1992 < Prev Next >

Start-Up Software Firm Gets A Boost

Axon Corp., a Seattle start-up company developing a mainstream business graphics program for use with spreadsheets and text programs on personal computers, has received $3.5 million in a second injection of venture funding.

The 20-employee company also announced that Scott Oki, 43, who left Microsoft earlier this year after guiding its domestic sales and marketing division for several years, has joined its board. Oki also has invested in the company.

Founded in October 1990 by two Aldus co-founders and a lead PageMaker programmer, Axon has begun distributing a second beta (test) copy of its program slated for announcement in the fall. Industry insiders report being impressed with the program's ease of use and functionality.

The funding came from Technology Venture Investors, a Menlo Park, Calif. firm responsible for early backing of several successful personal computer companies, including Microsoft, Compaq and Sun. The other principal investor was Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers.

A round of funding last summer led by TVI generated $800,000 for Axon.

"Both venture firms have long track records with high success rates," said Jeremy Jaech, president of Axon. "Their investment represents a major validation of our efforts."

Oki, an industry veteran with 10 years at Microsoft, already has begun assisting Axon in analyzing potential sales and distribution methods. A price point for its product has not yet been decided, Jaech said.

The program is designed to permit users to incorporate business drawings in text and data documents without using cumbersome illustration or presentation programs, Jaech said.

Although word processors and spreadsheets increasingly are offering drawing modules built-in, market data show users tend to ignore the difficult-to-use modules.

The program can be used on a stand-alone basis or with group-based documents, Jaech said.

Initially slated for Windows, the program also will be adapted for use under IBM's OS/2 and the Apple Macintosh. While at Aldus, Axon's chief software architect, Dave Walter, and Ted Johnson, a lead PageMaker programmer and Axon co-founder, worked on core-code technology allowing programs to share code among IBM-compatible and Macintosh platforms.

The Seattle Times

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