Odysii - once TVeez - prospers despite crisis

High quality employees can be hired for less, and banks that remain want customers.

Odysii Inc. is generating good news at a time when many entrepreneurs and investors are pessimistic. The company reported 40% revenue growth for the third quarter, signed three new contracts worth $15 million altogether, hired 80 new employees, and appointed a slew of new executives.

Odysii CEO Adi Eyal and VP technology Yair Goldfinger founded the company, then named TVeez, in 2003. Earlier this year, Odysii went on a campaign to raise capital, mainly in order to accelerate its growth, and succeeded in raising $20 million from Benchmark Capital and Giza Venture Capital. The company used the money for expansion and it now has 400 employees.

Odysii offers enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions for marketing in a point of sale (POS) environment, to replace television advertising and image advertising. The messages to customers are created in real time, broadcast on LCD or plasma screens, and sent to customers' cellular telephones or to other display screens.

In Israel, Odysii's solutions are used by Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI), First International Bank of Israel (TASE: FTIN1;FTIN5), and the Israel Postal Company Ltd..

"Globes": How is it possible that when everyone is talking hardship and loss of customers, you're making a breakthrough?

Adi Eyal: "The situation hasn’t passed us by. We're seeing banks postponing IT and media projects. They now have to fight for clients and win deposits. The budget pie is shrinking, and we offer them a way to reach their customers directly."

Goldfinger: "Not every bank has collapsed, and those that remain are going to seek opportunities. Besides, precisely now there are opportunities to hire high-quality employees who possibly couldn’t have been recruited two years ago."

This is why Odysii signed a contract with Spain's Santander Bank SA (NYSE: STD; LSE: BNC; IBEX: SAN; Euronext: SANT; SANTA), the world's second largest bank with 65 million customers. It also signed contracts with HSBC plc (NYSE: HBC; LSE: HSBA) and Credit Agricole SA (Euronext: ACA). All the banks made large-scale purchases of products and services under 3-5 year contracts, and each contract is worth about $5 million.

To meet demand, Odysii hired as president Jeffrey Gattis, from Microsoft, where he was senior director for product management, and who will oversee the company’s US operations. Eyal said, "This is a great time for companies like us. People are coming into the market whom we wouldn’t have been able to recruit in ordinary times. We've appointed four vice presidents, all of who came from American Express. We're in the midst of a major hiring campaign, and we'll probably be able to hire better people at a lower price. The financing round also enables us to penetrate the Chinese market, for which we'd been waiting for a suitable moment."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 30, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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