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Austin Ventures Announces Partnership With Elisabeth DeMarse to Pursue Information Services and New Media Opportunities.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Austin Ventures ("AV") today announced that it has entered into a partnership with Elisabeth DeMarse to form DeMarseCo, Inc. The new company, headquartered in New York City, will focus on acquiring and/or developing growth companies in the information services market. AV plans to invest up to $50 million of equity capital to support management's strategy to build a leading information services company through both organic growth and acquisition. Ms. DeMarse will serve as Chief Executive Officer of DeMarseCo, Inc.

"We are excited about our partnership with Elisabeth to pursue the acquisition and/or development of a leading company in the media, syndicated data and information space," said Phil Siegel, AV Venture Partner. "AV has made several successful investments in the media and information services markets, where Elisabeth has a well-earned reputation as a top-flight operating executive with a keen eye for value creation opportunities in emerging growth markets."

Ms. DeMarse has over 20 years experience in senior management roles of leading information services companies including Bankrate, Hoovers, Bloomberg L.P., and Citibank. Most recently, Ms. DeMarse served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Bankrate, Inc. (Nasdaq:RATE). Recruited by its Board of Directors, she restructured this internet media company to deliver significantly improved operating results. During Ms. DeMarse's tenure, she quintupled unique visitors and page views; increased revenue 560%; significantly expanded operating margins to 32%; and delivered 11 quarters of consecutive EPS. Her accomplishments led to a market cap increase from $12 million at her hiring to $300 million, representing an increase in stock price of 1200% in three years. Ms. DeMarse is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and Wellesley College, and a member of The Committee of 200.

Prior to Bankrate, Ms. DeMarse served for ten years as a senior executive in a variety of roles at Bloomberg L.P. During her tenure, she created and negotiated over 20 major deals and new business ventures, developed the company's marketing strategy, built the marketing function, evaluated acquisitions/ventures, and re-defined Bloomberg's brand to extend beyond financial services to a broader range of media offerings. Her efforts helped build Bloomberg from a $50MM financial information organization to a $1.5B media company.

"We believe that there are numerous attractive, high-growth segments within in the digital information business, traditional media (television, radio, book and magazine publishing) and new media sectors," commented AV Principal Craig Milius. "Elisabeth's particular expertise in developing new products and brands and driving growth in emerging information driven organizations is sure to appeal to a wide range of owners and company founders. We are working aggressively with Elisabeth to identify and pursue the best opportunities."

"Austin Ventures has committed significant capital and team resources to this venture, and we're confident that our combined experience and market knowledge provides the right ingredients to build a successful information company," said Ms. DeMarse. "With AV's resources and capital commitment, this venture is well-positioned to rapidly assess a range of attractive options and execute a successful growth strategy. We're interested in working with existing companies and entrepreneurs that have developed mission-critical information products serving rapidly growing markets. Our efforts will place particular emphasis on identifying opportunities that leverage proprietary information, data and processes to develop predictable and growing subscription-based revenue with significant gross margin leverage."

Ms. DeMarse will be based in New York City and will evaluate potential deals throughout the United States. The relationship with Elisabeth is part of AV's strategy of partnering with talented executives with proven track records to build growth companies in attractive markets. AV has a dedicated in-house talent function that identifies executives that want a hands-on partner in building their next business.

AV is a leading growth equity investor in information services companies, with past and present investments in such leading companies as WVR Group, Sheshunoff Information Services (acquired by MidOcean Partners), Naviant (acquired by Equifax (NYSE:EFX)), Human Code (acquired by Sapient (Nasdaq:SAPE)), and Intelliquest (acquired by Millward Brown, a division of WPP Group plc).

About DeMarseCo, Inc.

Based in New York City, NY, DeMarseCo, Inc. has been established to acquire select electronic publishing and media providers including news, data, content and conference firms, with a primary focus on U.S.-based firms. For more information visit

About Austin Ventures

Austin Ventures has been working with talented entrepreneurs to build valuable companies since 1979. With $3 billion under management, AV is the most active venture capital firm in Texas, and one of the most established in the nation. With a focus on business services, information services, computer and communications hardware, and enterprise software, Austin Ventures invests at all stages of company development, from $100,000 "planned experiments" to $50+ million investments in management buyouts.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 10, 2006
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