StarCite Secures $15 Million of Funding To Meet Rising Demand For Meeting Management Solutions

  • StarCite, Inc.
  • 04.15.08
StarCite, Inc., a leading provider of on-demand meeting and event management solutions for corporations and hotels, venues, and other meeting suppliers, today announced that it has secured $15 million in funding from current investors, including Internet Capital Group, TPG Ventures, and Norwest Venture Partners (NVP).

StarCite plans to use the proceeds from the funding to support its continued global growth and ongoing enhancements to its suite of technology offerings. 

StarCite is experiencing fast-growing demand from corporate buyers and meeting suppliers.  A record $7.5 billion in meeting and event business passed through StarCite’s Online Global Marketplace in 2007, an increase of approximately 30 percent over 2006.  This volume of meeting business represented more than 20 million room nights from some of the world’s largest corporations.  StarCite counts among its customers 150 of the Fortune 500 companies, and added a number of prestigious clients to its roster in the first quarter including First Data Corp., Lincoln Financial Group, Great-West Life, as well as one of the world’s largest computer and consumer electronics manufacturers, and sporting goods makers. In addition, StarCite counts more than 93,000 supplier participants in its online marketplace.

“Meetings have long been one of the last unexplored frontiers of spend management for corporations, but this is rapidly changing,” said Keith Forshew, Chief Operating Officer of StarCite.  “Companies are zeroing in on value-adding technologies that improve both visibility and control over their meeting investment.  At the same time, hotels, venues and other meeting suppliers are searching for ways to connect electronically with potential customers.  Our business fulfills both of these needs.  We are pleased to have the additional funds from this offering to help us ensure we make the investments necessary to solidify our position as the leading provider of on-demand meeting and event management solutions.” 

Meetings and events are a major category of corporate spending.  A new report from Aberdeen Group on strategic meetings management found that spending on corporate meetings and events has continued to rise, growing by 10 percent from 2006 to 2007.  Aberdeen found that meetings spend as a percentage of revenue was approximately 2.8 percent in 2007 for the 300 companies it surveyed.  According to the report, companies that institute a strategic meetings management program can achieve 89 percent compliance to corporate policies for meetings and events and can save an average of over 11 percent on their meetings spend.

“From connecting buyers and suppliers electronically through its online marketplace to streamlining the meeting planning process from start to finish, StarCite has made a dramatic impact on the market for meetings and events,” said Doug Alexander, managing director at Internet Capital Group and a member of StarCite’s board of directors.  “Based on the opportunities that lie ahead for StarCite, both in the U.S. and abroad, we are excited to provide capital along with our colleagues at TPG Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners in this round of funding.”  

Over the past 12 months, StarCite has continued to introduce new product offerings and partnerships to improve meeting management practices for both buyers and suppliers, including the following:

  • Small meetings:  StarCite has seen strong buyer and supplier interest in its new Small Meetings Solution (SMS) for meetings of 50 attendees or less, deploying its first corporate clients and signing recent agreements with Hilton, Hyatt and Kimpton Hotels.
  • Payment and reconciliation:  StarCite partnered with American Express Global Commercial Card to launch meetings360, an innovative Web solution that combines the meetings management capabilities of StarCite with the payment and purchasing technology of American Express.
  • Distribution:  StarCite expanded its distribution channels through an agreement with Pegasus Solutions, Inc., which will provide real-time access to rates and availability among Pegasus’s portfolio of more than 78,000 hotel properties worldwide.
  • Online booking: StarCite expanded its online travel booking capabilities with a new integration with Orbitz Worldwide, linking Orbitz for Business and Travelport online travel booking with StarCite’s registration tool.
  • Green meetings:  StarCite partnered with Meeting Strategies Worldwide to provide customers with resources to help reduce the environmental impact of meetings including the MeetGreensm program.
  • Thought leadership:  StarCite led the most comprehensive benchmarking study on best practices in meetings management.

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