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7/27/1999
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MCI, Novell Take Stakes In VPN Equipment Maker

MCI WorldCom and Novell are among the corporate investors pumping more than $14 million today into Indus River Networks, a startup developer of virtual private networking equipment.

Indus River's flagship RiverWorks VPN equipment uses policy-based networking to build and manage large remote access systems. Using policies to set up "virtual private communities," IT managers can create groups of end users who share similar access privileges on the corporate intranet. Managing groups of users through policies, as opposed to managing individual users through manual administration, is expected to make many VPNs easier to set up and maintain.

The investments from MCI WorldCom Ventures and Novell Ventures represent the third round of financing for Indus River, essentially doubling the capital investors have provided it and marking the first time networking vendors and service providers have contributed. Last year venture capitalists Pioneer Capital, Canaan Partners, One Liberty Ventures, and others provided $13.8 million in the startup's first two rounds of financing.

Indus River's policy-based approach to VPNs interests Novell, whose Novell Directory Services platform stores policy data for both corporate and service-provider networks, says Blake Modersitzki, director of Novell Ventures. MCI says it's interested in the technology as a way to develop a new class of scaleable VPN services. MCI's UUNet Internet-services subsidiary uses Indus River products in its managed VPN service offerings.

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