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Hosted CRM Vendor RightNow Files For IPO

The company says it has had 25 consecutive quarters of revenue growth and posted its first profit in the quarter ended March 31. Inc. just got some company on the list of hosted customer-relationship-management vendors preparing to go public. RightNow Technologies Inc., whose online CRM offering is focused on enabling consistent interactions with customers, on Monday filed its S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. The number of shares and offering price haven't been determined.

According to the S-1, RightNow has had 25 consecutive quarters of revenue growth, reaching $12.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, up from $7.8 million a year earlier. The quarter also was marked by a modest profit of $80,000, the company's first quarter in the black. Even so, in the customary S-1 disclosure of risk factors, RightNow states that it might not be able to remain profitable because of the need to incur significant expenses on sales and marketing, R&D, and administration as it continues to expand. Annual losses were $4.1 million in 2003, $2.7 million in 2002, and $15.3 million in 2001. The company says it has more than 1,000 customers who handled more than 102 million customer interactions during the first quarter, and it employs 322 people.

Sean Forbes, RightNow's chief strategist and VP of business development and marketing, says Saleforce's hotly awaited IPO--which is expected to raise more than $70 million--isn't seen as any kind of obstacle in RightNow's path. "We're big fans of," Forbes says. "They really carried the banner and invested a tremendous amount of money in helping to publicize the emergence and expansion of the on-demand model."

Morgan Stanley will be the sole book runner for the RightNow offering, with Thomas Weisel Partners acting as co-lead underwriter. Adams, Harkness & Hill and D.A. Davidson & Co. will be co-managers.

Research firm IDC estimates the market for on-demand applications will grow by 41% annually, reaching $3.6 billion in 2008, up from $665 million last year.

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