TeknoSurf adding N.Y., Calif. offices

Young Balto. company seeking global clients, top Internet talent

October 15, 1999|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

TeknoSurf Inc., one of the Baltimore area's fastest-growing Internet companies, is expanding operations to New York and San Francisco.

"This is part of our strategy to have a national presence," said Scott Ferber, co-founder and chief executive officer of the company, which helps advertisers on the Internet target consumers.

The venture-capital-backed company, launched in August 1998, also has opened offices at the former Procter & Gamble plant in Locust Point. That office eventually will serve as its headquarters.

The former plant's buildings are being converted by Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse into office space for high-technology companies.

TeknoSurf, which expects to occupy more than 30,000 square feet in one building, is the first tenant.

The company, which is hiring about 15 employees a month, has outgrown its original headquarters at the HarborView Marina building on Key Highway.

TeknoSurf executives said the San Francisco office will market the company's advertising technology to West Coast clients. It's also being opened to attract top-drawer Internet talent in the Silicon Valley area, said Ferber, who started the company with his brother, John, who is chief technical officer.

The Ferbers said the company hopes to land highly skilled network and software talent that is more accessible in the San Francisco area than in the Baltimore region.

Christopher Parente, marketing director for the company, said TeknoSurf already has hired several sales and network specialists to staff the San Francisco office and expects to have a 10,000-square-foot office opened next month.

In New York, the company has launched operations in leased space in Manhattan, said Parente. That office was opened to market the company's services to companies that have national or world headquarters there.

Also, Parente said, TeknoSurf needed a presence in New York because it deals often with big advertising agencies located there.

Both offices are likely to see employment "jump into the double digits fairly quickly," Parente said.

The company, which recently received more than $11 million in venture-capital funding for its expansion, is generating about $1 million a month in revenue, said Parente.

Driving that growth is TeknoSurf's proprietary technology. It helps advertisers and Web site operators analyze which marketing offers would most likely interest specific visitors to Web sites, and how marketing campaigns can be better positioned on the Web.

The company has created computer programs that over time build a profile of specific visitors to Web sites and their interests.

Such profiles, while not knowing visitors' identities, match them with specific marketing offers likely to get them to click on the offer for more information.

Privately held TeknoSurf competes with several young companies, such as DoubleClick.com of New York, using new technologies to analyze and improve advertising campaigns on the Internet.

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