ServiceWare.com inches up in debut

ServiceWare.com (Nasdaq: SVCW) shares closed up 1 3/4, or 25 percent, to 8 3/4 Friday in its initial public offering.

The offering of 4.5 million shares, one of only two tech IPOs to make it out the door this week, was originally expected to price between $10.50 and $12.50 a share.

The company makes software for multi-point customer service, and has partnerships with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) and 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) to provide its RightAnswers.com product with content. It also has big-name clients including Compaq (NYSE: CPQ), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HP), Lucent (NYSE: LU), and Merrill Lynch.

For the year ended December 31, ServiceWare.com had a net loss of $10.1 million on revenue of $17.7 million, as opposed to a loss of $3.8 million on revenue of $12.9 million in 1998.

Current competitors include in-house developed applications and providers of commercially available e-service solutions, including Ask Jeeves (Naasdaq: ASKJ) and eGain Communications (Nasdaq: EGAN). ServiceWare.com also faces competition in its content product software from firms such as EarthWeb (Nasdaq: EWBX).

Lead underwriter for the deal is Bear Stearns and co-managers include SG Cowen and Wit SoundView.
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