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Tech Industry

IPO Roundup: Witness Systems, Xcare and Lightspan price

Witness Systems (Nasdaq: WITS), which makes software that helps companies monitor interactions between employees and customers, priced its 3.8 million shares at $20 each, well above their $15-17 range.

The maker of software for call center quality monitoring raised its range from an original $12 to $14 each. The stock is scheduled to begin trading Thursday.

"This company has a huge growth curve -- 75 percent growth rate over 3 years," said David Menlow of the IPO Financial Network.

The offering, led by underwriters Hambrecht & Quist, U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray and SoundView Technology, will leave about 21 million shares outstanding, putting the company's market capitalization at $273 million, based on a price of $13 per share.

For the nine months ended September 30, Witness had net loss of $6.6 million on revenue of $14.9 million, as compared to a net loss of $4 million on revenue of $9 million in the same period of 1998.

Witness says competitors include quality monitoring suppliers to the call and contact center industry, and systems integrators and consulting firms which design and develop custom systems.

Among other IPOs Thursday:

  • XCare.net Inc (Nasdaq: XCAR), a health care E-commerce provider, also priced shares above range, tagging 5 million at $18 a piece. The estimated price range had been raised to $14 to $16 a share from the original $11 to $13 range.

    Underwriter Robertson Stephens was assisted by co-managers SG Cowen and E*Offering. After the offering the company will have about 15.4 million shares outstanding

    XCare.net's platform uses search, filtering and integration technologies, based on XML, an extensible mark-up language for Internet programming.

    For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the company posted revenue of about $2.7 million and a net loss of about $2.2 million. The company is in a transitional stage of development, and just recently started focusing on an Internet-based business model. XCare.net historically earned a key portion of its revenue from sales of software for managed health care systems and from providing services to health care organizations seeking to outsource administrative functions.

    A lot of competitors, such as CareInsite Inc., (Nasdaq: CARI) and Healtheon/WebMD Corp.(Nasdaq: HLTH) have a big head start on the company.

  • Educational software company Lightspan (Nasdaq: LSPN) will also sell 7.5 million shares through lead underwriter Credit Suisse First Boston. Shares priced at $12, the top of their $10 to $12 range.