10 enterprise software companies to watch

Every vendor has a sales pitch - here are 10 worth watching

5. LucidEra

Founded: July 2005

Location: California, U.S.

What does the company offer? Business intelligence for midsize firms in the software-as-a-service model.

Why is it worth watching? LucidEra lets customers outsource business intelligence with an application that is relatively simple to set up and use. "Behind the scenes, LucidEra prepares and presents the business data to you," the company says. "We house the platform that delivers the information; all you do is point the LucidEra service to your company's applications and other external data sources. No special skills are needed." The company went to market in March after several months in beta. Pricing starts at about US$3,000 per customer, per month, which covers the first 100 user seats, connectors to three data sources and forecast-to-billing software that combines sales and financial data.

How did the company get its start? CEO and co-founder Ken Rudin, who was formerly the vice president of marketing for Siebel Analytics and ran a consulting company that did business-intelligence implementations, wanted a business intelligence tool that would be affordable for midsize businesses. Instead of answering "any question about anything you can think of," LucidEra focuses on answering the questions business employees are most likely to ask, Rudin says. "I was always frustrated by the fact that (business intelligence is) so complex, that unless you're in a very large company, implementing one of these solutions wasn't going to be feasible," Rudin says.

How did the company get its name? "LucidEra" signifies the company's goal of providing visibility into what is happening within a business.

CEO and background: In addition to Siebel, Rudin has worked at Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Oracle. After his stint as vice president of marketing for Siebel Analytics, he was vice president and general manager of Siebel CRM OnDemand.

Funding: US$7 million in venture funding from Benchmark Capital and Matrix Partners.

Who's using the product? About a dozen customers, including IronPort Systems , Ingres , 3PARdata and SuccessFactors .

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