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March 14, 2008

 

NYS Pension Fund and High Peaks Invest
$500,000 In Clifton Park Company

The New York State Common Retirement Fund (the Fund) and High Peaks Venture Partners recently invested $500,000 in Apprenda, a Clifton Park-based software company, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today. The infusion of capital will allow Apprenda to complete product testing and launch its software product commercially.

“Apprenda is a perfect example of how we can do well for the state pension fund while doing good for New York businesses,” DiNapoli said. “Apprenda has developed cutting-edge technology that will make customized software more affordable for businesses to produce. The company demonstrates great promise and will produce solid returns for New York’s retirees.”

As part of its In-state Private Equity Program, the Fund invested $312,125 through its investment partner High Peaks. High Peaks also invested $187,875, bringing the total amount of capital to $500,000.

“We are excited to invest in Apprenda,” Jonathan Stillman of High Peaks Venture Partners said. “The company has developed important and widely applicable software technology, and has built a talented team. We look forward to working with them to help realize the company's potential.”

“This is an exciting time for Apprenda,” Apprenda CEO Sinclair Schuller said. “We are thrilled to receive support from the New York State Common Retirement Fund and High Peaks Venture Partners. We’ve built a solid value proposition. The investment sends a message to the software industry that technology like SaaSGrid is badly needed and warranted.”

Apprenda developed software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology that helps other companies offer customized software over the Internet. SaaS is a delivery model for software applications that allows users to avoid the costs of licensing and managing software by enabling users to “rent” the software and access the software applications over the web. Software providers need to respond to the growing popularity of the SaaS approach by delivering both new and pre-existing software applications as on-demand services over the web.

Apprenda created SaaSGrid, a platform that significantly reduces the complexity and expense that software companies would otherwise incur in transitioning to SaaS deployment of applications, by providing them with a starting point for development that includes all the required mission critical components.

SaaSGrid removes the need for users to worry about SaaS architecture specifics because it provides a highly flexible and reliable online environment, and enables developers to focus on their core application. As a result, software providers are able to get their SaaS offerings to market faster, with lower capital requirements and with significantly greater initial quality, which in turn reduces ongoing maintenance needs.

The capital provided by the Fund and High Peaks will enable Apprenda to complete its beta testing phase and move toward full commercial launch of the SaaSGrid platform. The company will use the funds to expand their development team, manage the beta testing phase, develop partnerships and acquire its first commercial customers.

Apprenda was founded by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alumni Sinclair Schuller (CEO) and Abraham Sultan (COO), and University of Albany alumnus Matt Ammerman (CTO) approximately two years ago. This is their first startup company together; they had worked together previously at Eden Communications, a Saratoga Springs, NY IT solutions company that was acquired by Unicom Systems in 2006.

Through its In-state Private Equity Program, the Fund invests with private equity managers who seek to invest in companies in New York State that require capital for growth. The program, created in 1999, targets investment of state funds in the New York State economy. The program is designed to provide investment returns consistent with the risk of private equity while also expanding the availability of capital for New York businesses. The program aims to help generate jobs and private sector investment in the state.

Since 2000, $288 million has been invested in 110 companies through the In-state Private Equity Program. DiNapoli has committed an additional $408 million to the program since he took office a year ago, bringing the total amount committed to the program to $861 million.

About the Common Retirement Fund
The $154.5 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension plan in the United States with more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries from state and local governments. Comptroller DiNapoli is the sole trustee of the Fund and manages a diversified portfolio of public and private equities, fixed income, real estate and alternative instruments.

About High Venture Partners
High Peaks Venture Partners (www.hpvp.com), based in Troy, NY, is the largest early stage venture fund in Upstate New York, with nearly $50 million in capital under management. The fund is focused on emerging technology businesses throughout New York State, and is a part of the Village Ventures nationwide network of regionally focused venture capital funds. The High Peaks team brings substantial experience as venture investors, entrepreneurs, and business advisors across a variety of industries.

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