Aria Systems rounds up $20 million

Aria Systems, the Cloud and online subscription billing service which was founded in the Philly area and still has a significant presence in Media (Delaware County) , today announced a Series C funding round of $20 million, bringing its total funding to date to $34 million (Press Release) . InterWest Partners led the round with additional investment coming from existing investors Hummer-Winblad and Venrock. An unnamed "Fortune 500 technology firm" also participated as a strategic investor (later identified as EMC Corp., majority owner of VMWare, an important Aria partner). Bruce Cleveland, general partner at InterWest Partners, who has been an exec at Siebel Systems, Oracle and Apple, will join Aria's board.

Aria's biggest competitor in the online billing space is Zuora Inc., which itself raised $20 million in November. Aria recently reported that its fourth quarter bookings had tripled, though that does not necessarily mean its revenue tripled also. According to Dow Jones VentureWire, Aria CEO Mike Morini said the round was "flat to up", with a valuation between $50 million and $100 million.

Aria moved its headquarters from Media to San Mateo, CA, last year, and now is planning to move it to San Francisco. Morini came aboard last spring from SAP BusinessObjects (where he served as Head of Global Sales), taking over as CEO for founder Ed Sullivan, who remains as Chairman. Sullivan grew up in Delaware County and is a Drexel graduate (see "CoE Inducts Six Members Into the Circle of Distinction"), and previously founded and sold white label ISP LaserLink to Covad before starting Aria in 2003.

Media continues to be the base of Aria's product development & customer operations, in addition to having some sales and marketing personnel located there. Aria plans to use the funding to double its workforce from about 50 to 100; no word from the company on how many are currently based in Media or how much of the growth in headcount might occur in the Philly area.

Although Aria provides billing services for all kinds of online applications, its growth prospects appear pegged to the emergence of SaaS applications and Cloud Services for larger customers.


Detailed MoneyTree Q4 VC report is out

The detailed PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree Venture Capital report (free registration) has been released for Q4 2010. A total of $85 million was invested in Philadelphia Metro, down from $152 million for the same period in 2009, of which $55 million was for Biotechnology and $9 million for Industrial/Energy, with the remaining $21 million going mostly to Information Technology investements, spread among 19 companies.

The largest individual IT-related investment was $5.1 million in Conshohocken's Monetate, by First Round Capital, the Floodgate Fund, and a third undisclosed firm. Another interesting venture funded is stealth startup Relay Network of Radnor ($2.1 million), which appears to be targeted to the FinTech market. Investors include NewSpring Capital. Other sizable investments included networking technology company OnPATH Technologies of Marlton ($3.1 million), health information technology company Halfpenny Technologies of Blue Bell ($2.6 million), TimeSight Systems of Mount Laurel ($2.1 million), which provides IP-based video surveillance systems, and crowdsourced advertising website Poptent of Wynnewood ($3 million).