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Ephibian Pioneers 'Venture Technology'

by Christian LesStrang
Business Wire

Two years ago, Ephibian ( CEO Teri Spencer had a novel idea. ``What if technology based startups, whose biggest concerns are often preserving capital while minimizing speed to market, could utilize top engineering talent for back end Web site development for little or no cash?'' Today, this novel idea is called ``venture technology,'' and is the cornerstone for business development at the Tucson based Internet services firm specializing in infrastructure, application development and management services.

In its simplest form, venture technology is the acceptance of equity in exchange for deferring or reducing fees for technology development. ``We have a rigorous screening process for our venture technology candidates,'' notes Henry Guy, Ephibian CFO and managing director of Ephibian Ventures. ``We put our prospective portfolio companies through the same screening process that a leading venture firm like Kleiner Perkins or Draper Fisher Jurvetson would. If we believe in the team and the market opportunity they are pursuing, we'll take a small interest in their company and get them to market fast.''

The cost of quality back-end web development in today's market is expensive and out of reach for many technology startups who have not secured funding at the venture capital or institutional level. In addition, many promising startups have reported that the recent market correction has led many venture firms to demand to see at least some technology development before considering making an investment. Since having just a business plan isn't enough anymore, many startups find themselves in a ``chicken and egg'' dilemma - unable to raise money because their technology isn't developed, and unable to develop their technology without the cash to pay for it. These needs combined with the potential upside associated with an IPO or acquisition, led Ephibian to develop the venture technology model. Similar ``services for equity'' models exist in other industries. The most notable example is the Venture Law Group ( who has negotiated equity for deferring legal fees for many successful technology companies.

So far, Ephibian's venture technology concept is justifying itself. Ephibian's first venture technology company, Fitrex ( was recently acquired by a leading health and fitness portal Asimba ( ``Ephibian believed in our team and in the market opportunity and offered us their services, which would have been impossible for us to afford if it were not for our venture technology agreement,'' says Marc Jablonski, founder of Fitrex. Other Ephibian venture technology partners include contest and sweepstakes portal (, retirement plan management company Decimal, Inc. (, and web based fuel management company TeamFuel (

About Ephibian

Ephibian is an Internet services firm specializing in infrastructure, application development and management services for Fortune 1000 corporations and technology startups. Ephibian maintains a strict focus on the back-end issues that provide the greatest challenges and greatest risk to companies that compete in the Internet marketplace. Ephibian also maintains ``Ephibian Ventures'', a venture technology arm that provides services for equity for select technology startups. Founded in 1996, Ephibian maintains a development center in Tucson, AZ and operates business development centers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Boston, Chicago and New York. Ephibian's headquarters are located at 5151 East Broadway Blvd., Suite 1400, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-745-3999, Fax: 520-745-3775, Toll Free: 1-877-917-4747,