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Niku files for an IPO of up to $115 million

The software maker and services firm files for an initial public offering intended to raise up to $115 million.

Niku today filed for an initial public offering and said the company intends to raise up to $115 million.

Niku, which makes software and runs portals that companies use to manage professional services such as billing and hiring contracted employees, said it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO of up to $115 million of common stock.

Goldman Sachs is managing the offering, which will be co-managed by Dain Rauscher Wessels, Thomas Weisel Partners and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

Niku, based in Redwood City, Calif., competes in this new market against Opus 360, eLance,, Monster Board and, in the future, perhaps rivals such as PeopleSoft and other enterprise resource planning (ERP) software makers who might move into the market.

International Data Corp. estimates that the market for packaged software such as Niku's, which automates the supply chain for service industries, will grow from approximately $600 million this year to $12 billion by 2003.

Earlier this month, Niku announced a $40 million financing round, to which CNET,'s publisher, contributed.

Niku is led by Farzad Dibachi, a former Oracle senior vice president who left the database software maker in 1995 to start Diba, a designer of much-hyped Internet appliances that was later folded into Sun Microsystems.

In November, Niku acquired Proamics, a maker of accounting, time and expense, and billing software, in a stock deal valued at about $40 million. Niku plans to fold Proamics' technology into both its Internet-based business software and the portal the company launched in May.

Niku operates the Niku Services Marketplace, a marketplace for buyers and sellers of professional services. People seeking work can post profiles of their skills, certifications and experience. Companies and organizations seeking resources can post project specifications and job requirements.

In the SEC filing, Niku said its customers include consulting firms and companies such as Business Objects, Comdisco, Computer Associates, EMC, Gateway, Sybase and Xerox. As of last week, the iNiku business portal had over 12,000 registered users, the company said.

Niku reported net losses of $3 million for the year-ended January 31 1999, and $13.5 million for the nine months-ended October 31, 1999. Meanwhile, Proamics has never been profitable, accumulating debt as of Sept. 30 of $13.4 million. The company said it will depend on eNiku software sales for most of its future revenues.