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Kinzan.com Pursues Its Mountain of Gold With Web Page Technology

For Kinzan.com, the Internet represents a lustrous nugget of wealth. Hence the Internet start-up’s name, which has Asian roots and loosely translates to “mountain of gold.”

The company netted its name through an employee contest.

Creative name aside, just what does Kinzan.com do?

The company’s Siteman family of Internet software allows firms with large numbers of distributed affiliates to extend their businesses to the Internet.

Companies using Kinzan.com’s software, which utilizes patented Java-based server technology and patented commerce technology, can create thousands of high-quality Web sites with shared control of global and local Web content.

Some of Kinzan.com’s clients include AutoTrader.com, Knight-Ridder Inc., Chase Manhattan Bank Corp. and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

“Our view of the world is all these larger, old economy companies need to include the Internet as part of their business,” said Gari Cheever, Kinzan.com’s president and CEO.

Cheever said brand is becoming increasingly significant on the Internet.

“People are realizing the value of their brand and they’re trying to bring that brand to the Internet.

“In the early Internet, portals became the brand , Amazon.com, AOL, Yahoo!. As the Internet continues to evolve, it’s the brands that will become the portal,” Cheever said. “As brand becomes more and more important on the Internet, organizations need to be able to manage that.”

The market for Kinzan.com’s software is huge, Cheever said. He expects bigger companies will become Kinzan.com’s competitors.

“But because we’re first to market, our objective is to capture the biggest part of that market we can before the competition heats up.”

Kinzan.com had aggressive growth plans from the very beginning, Cheever said. So far the company has raised $5.5 million. Kinzan.com expects to raise $10 million in a second round of financing.

Founded in January 1999, Kinzan.com is a spin-off of iXL, an Atlanta-based strategic Internet services company. Cheever came to Kinzan.com via Silicon Valley-based Encanto Networks, Inc., which had a partnership with iXL.

Cheever was instantly smitten with San Diego.

“Despite the high number of very successful companies in the Bay Area, I don’t think many of those companies are productive. It’s difficult to find good people and difficult to keep them,” he said.

“There may not be as big of a talent pool down here but the talent pool gets engaged. The mentality here is, ‘How do we succeed?'”

So far, Kinzan.com has collected about 75 highly motivated employees. About three-quarters of Kinzan.com’s employees are between the ages of 22 and 32.

Cheever expects the company will have a 100 percent employee growth every year.

“We’re knocking down walls every 45 days,” he said.

Besides creatively decorated cubicles, Kinzan.com’s offices are also filled with pingpong tables and video games.

“It’s a crazy Internet place with a bunch of young people who are having a good time,” Cheever said. “But they also know the opportunity that has been handed to them.

“They are ambitious and excited.”

Kinzan.com plans to extend its presence by opening development and sales centers across the nation.

Kinzan.com is also setting up joint ventures with companies in Japan, Taiwan, Europe and Latin America to replicate Kinzan.com’s business model. Kinzan.com’s partner in Japan is Mitsubishi.


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