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Vignette spins off wireless software venture

The e-commerce software maker launches SoloMio, with $6 million in first-round funding, to develop e-business and personalization software for mobile networks.

E-commerce software maker Vignette said Wednesday that it has formed a wireless spinoff to develop e-business and personalization software for mobile networks, despite recently shutting offices and shaving its work force.

The company, SoloMio, has received $6 million in first-round funding from Vignette and Austin Ventures, Vignette said. It will combine Vignette's e-commerce and personalization technologies with wireless network technologies to develop applications and services for mobile communications providers.

The move is a further push by Austin, Texas-based Vignette, which develops personalization tools for e-commerce and content-management software, to build and sell wireless applications. Its Mobile Applications Suite enables mobile users to access personalized data related to supplier and partner interaction and customer prospects.

Vignette rival BroadVision has made similar moves on the wireless front. In September, it teamed with four other companies to form B-Mobile, which provides business-to-business software and services for wireless networks.

Vignette, which recently announced layoffs and office closings, has been trying to find new avenues for selling its e-commerce software. Wireless network providers, looking to offer e-business software access to their customers, represent a new market for the company.

Vignette executives said SoloMio will sell its applications and services first in Europe, then Asia and the United States.

"There is an enormous opportunity right now for companies that can deliver advanced data applications to mobile users," Richard Schwartz, the new president and chief executive of SoloMio, said in a statement.

Schwartz, former vice president of convergence applications at Vignette, will be joined at SoloMio by former Vignette Vice President of Marketing Laurie Frick, who will be chief executive of marketing at the spinoff. John Thornton, a general partner of Austin Ventures, and Bill Daniel, vice president of products at Vignette, will become board members of SoloMio.