American Shipper

INTTRA sells stake to outsider

INTTRA sells stake to outsider

   Venture capital firm ABS Capital Partners is investing $30 million in ocean freight e-commerce company INTTRA and will become the majority shareholder in the company.

   The founders of the company — Maersk, United Arab Shipping Co., Hamburg-S'd, Hapag-Lloyd, Mediterranean Shipping Co., CMA CGM, and Kuehne + Nagel — will continue to own a minority interest in the company and have representation on the company’s board of directors.

   INTTRA said the deal, about two years in the making, will give it funds to develop new products and services such as a new electronic invoicing product launched last fall. A product for inbound freight aimed at freight forwarders and non-vessel-operating common carriers is also under development, said Ken Bloom, who will continue as INTTRA’s chief executive officer.

Bloom

   As continuing shareholders, the seven founders of the company will continue to benefit both from the future growth of the company as it develops new customers and products, and also because they were able to lock in long-term contracts for existing INTTRA products used by customers for tasks such as booking cargo or providing shipping instructions.

   INTTRA said it had a record year in 2009 with 14.1 million container orders, and 34 percent annual growth in network connections. Bloom said the company has about a 10.3 percent share of the market.

   Bobby Goswami, general partner of ABS, and Don Hebb, chairman and founding partner, will join INTTRA's board of directors. the seven minority owners will continue to have two seats on a rotating basis. Bloom and two outside member will complete the seven person-board.

   Bloom said ABS Capital's investment will allow INTTRA to accelerate its business plans and operations.

   Over the past 20 years ABS Capital has invested in 96 growth companies including the Rosetta Stone language software company, SBA Communications, a provider of wireless infrastructure and Neustar Inc. ' Chris Dupin