E-centives Announces Swiss IPO

The first U.S. Internet firm to list on the Swiss New Market for growth stocks, e-centives, Inc. , plans an initial public offering of 3.7 million shares priced at $11 per share. Swissfirst Bank AG acted as the lead manager and Pictet & Cie as co-manager. The Bethesda, Md.-based company’s common stock will be listed on the SWX New Market under the symbol ECEN.

An online direct marketing infrastructure company, e-centives provides businesses with incentives technology and services. The company was founded in 1996 and has established relationships with Internet sites such as Excite, ZDNet, iVillage.com, USAToday.com and more than 150 marketers such as Staples, PetsMart, and Egghead. With its proprietary technology, services and consulting personnel, e-centives provides marketers with an outsourced means for delivering a wide range of personalized promotions to consumers.

The company’s largest group of investors is headed by Swiss venture capitalist Peter Friedli, who has funded approximately two-thirds of its capital and sits on the e-centives’ board of directors. Other investors include J&W Seligman, Moore Capital, ExciteAtHome, and MacAndrews & Forbes Group.

Excite@Home also is expanding its online direct marketing relationship with e-centives. Under a new multi-year deal, Excite will fully integrate e-centives into various areas within the Excite portal, including Excite’s homepage, member services, online shopping, as well as other customizable modules on a member’s homepage.

Founded in 1996, e-centives doesn’t actually sell products, but instead charges fees to merchants who use its technology to target likely customers among its some four million “members.” Shoppers’ identities are concealed from the merchants, who only get identification numbers. Forrester Research predicts online consumer promotions spending growing to $14.5 billion by 2005, up from $1.8 billion this year.

The company has raised more than $50 million in its funding rounds.

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