Road Runner Vendor Emperative Gets $20M

Emperative Inc.-a provider of provisioning software for cable, digital-subscriber-line and backbone-service providers-has concluded its second round of private financing, securing $20 million from a group of investors that include former Continental Cablevision Inc. chairman Amos Hostetter's Pilot House Associates LLC.

The financing round was led by Pequot Capital Management Inc. Other investors include Greylock Management Corp., Kettle Partners LP and Boston University's Community Technology Fund. Emperative raised about $5 million from Pilot House and Greylock last year.

Emperative's software, called "ProvEn," sits behind the service provider's Web browser and lets end-users self-activate new services, which helps cable operators and other service providers to reduce the number of truck rolls to customers' homes.

Last month, the company announced a deal with Road Runner, which calls for the data-over-cable provider to use Emperative's self-activation and management software.

Road Runner has already deployed the Emperative software in Minneapolis, and will expand to other locations in the future, Emperative president and CEO Abraham Gutman said.

Emperative will use the additional funding to expand is sales, marketing and development organizations. The company has about 40 employees in Waltham, Mass., and Boulder, Colo.

"We wanted to have a product that was scalable and deployable and solid before going out very, very aggressively to the market," Gutman said. "We are going to use our $20 million for a very big push in marketing sales and continuing our penetration into markets outside of cable and DSL, which are both wireless and next-generation data providers."

That will entail mostly adding more sales and marketing people, but will also include stepping up engineering efforts and expanding the reach of the ProvEn software.

Though Road Runner was Emperative's first customer, Gutman expects the market to expand rapidly, especially since cable operators are beginning to increase their focus on retail sales of cable modems and customer self-installations.

Gutman said Emperative is talking with all of the other major MSOs, and added that the increased investment from Pilot House should lend additional credibility to the company's product.

"Having Pilot House and Amos as an investor is very positive for us," he said. "Not just because of the entry that it gives us and credibility that it gives us in the traditional MSOs, but with overbuilders, it gives us a tremendous degree of credibility."

Gutman has a history with Hostetter, serving as principal consultant for Continental as one of three people in charge of designing and deploying that former MSO's "Highway 1" Internet service.