Responsys, led by executives formerly with Netscape Communications, Banyan Systems, and Mentor Graphics, offers a Web-based service that lets firms upload their email contact lists and automate dispatches.
Responsys is stressing the personalization feature of its service, which can track users' purchases and other transactions to tailor individual email messages to recipients' buying patterns and tastes.
Responsys has not disclosed pricing, but executives say the service will cost a fraction of what a typical packaged application providing the same service would.
Based in Santa Clara, California, and founded in April 1998, the company has completed a $5.4 million round of private financing from venture capital firms Accel Partners and Foundation Capital and from Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia, currently vice president of business development at Microsoft.
Banyan Systems founder Anand Jagannathan is president and chief executive of the start-up.