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DigitalThink to reveal new capital

The online information technology training company is expected to announce tomorrow it has received a $5.8 million second round of financing.

Online information technology training company DigitalThink is expected to announce tomorrow it has received a $5.8 million second round of financing, giving it the capital to more than double its course offerings by the end of the year and ramp up its sales force.

DigitalThink, which creates self-paced training courses as part of its catalog listings and customized courses for corporations, is part of the growth trend in online training also being offered by colleges and universities. ZDNet University is another company offering online courses on technology-related subjects.

Under its most recent round of financing, DigitalThink plans to grow its direct sales force from two to about ten and will double its marketing efforts, said Pete Goettner, chief executive and cofounder.

DigitalThink also plans to use the infusion of capital to increase its current course lineup from 20 to 45 at the end of the year, and then expand to upwards of 100 courses by late 1998, Goettner said.

"IT is the topic area that we're in and we'll focus on this area for the next 12 to 18 months," he said, noting some of the new course additions will include networking-related classes.

But Steve Zahm, vice president of marketing, noted that customized courses offered to companies will not be included in the general catalog of courses offered by DigitalThink. Texas Instruments, one of the company's investors, uses the online educational company for developing digital signal processing training kits.

The company, which has 7,000 registered users in North America, Europe, and Latin America, currently receives half of its revenues from customized courses and the remainder from its regular course listings, Goettner said.

"This will remain the same over the next couple of years, but in the next five to ten years we'll see more revenues coming from the [off-the-shelf market]," he noted.

Goettner said he expects the company's revenues to triple or quadruple within the next two years. He predicts profitability in about 18 months, adding that it's too early to discuss the company's timetable for an initial public offering.

The recent round of financing will bring its total level of funding to $7.4 million. Investors include investment units of Texas Instruments, Adobe, and Hambrecht & Quist. Venture capital firm Walden Group is DigitalThink's newest investor.