POTSDAM, N.Y. – The Seaway Private Equity Corporation (SPEC) has made another investment in a St. Lawrence County company.
Using funds secured from the New York Power Authority (NYPA), SPEC has committed to invest $1 million in SpiceCSM, LLC, a new venture whose other investor is Fused Solutions, a world-class, multi-tenant customer care call center in downtown Potsdam.
Over the past eight years, Fused Solutions developed a proprietary call center management platform that it has used to manage its own operations. SpiceCSM will further refine and sell the solution in a “hybrid” OpenSource/Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Cloud computing model to technology companies and other call centers. OpenSource/SaaS/Cloud Computing is the fastest growing segment of the software industry.
The open source functionality of SpiceCSM will allow users to install basic “call center in a box” functionality on their own computer servers. This allows companies to try the software and configure it to their needs. As part of the license, the users are required to share any and all enhancements with the community. Additionally, these users often pay a fee for installation, customization, and maintenance support. Alternatively, in the SaaS model, SpiceCSM will host and manage the complete application on its own servers and do all the background work to maintain and expand it for the customer.
“Although SpiceCSM is developing great software, as open source, it has no intellectual property protection on the portions of the software released to its community,” said SPEC President Tony Collins, who is also president of Clarkson University. “But by constantly improving the software, and building a network of users, the uptake of the solution is expedited and revenue model is accelerated. Given the expertise of all four universities in the area, as well as the significant developer community in St. Lawrence County, we have the potential to create many new jobs here. Jobs will come from those working in the call center, to positions developing the software, and sales and marketing positions, as well.”
SpiceCSM expects to create an estimated six to ten new high-level, professional jobs in Potsdam during its first year of operations. In addition, Fused Solutions will add up to ten new positions in order to support new inbound and outbound call center activities in support of Spice.
Seaway Private Equity Corporation 65 Main Street, Suite 101, Potsdam, New York 13676
In short, the creation and funding of SpiceCSM will result in the creation of 16-20 new full time positions within 12 months.
The Spice investment was brought to SPEC by Mike Ryan, who created a St. Lawrence County-based firm called North Bay Technology Development (NBTD) in order to develop tech-based companies in St. Lawrence County.
The SpiceCSM investment is the fifth that NBTD has brought to SPEC, three of which have already been closed on. Ryan, who is also one of the principals of Fused Solutions said: “Spice needs Fused to market and service its products, and Fused needs Spice to expand its business. This is a marriage made, if not in heaven, then in Potsdam.”
Ray Fountain, the CEO of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency and SPEC’s Treasurer, said he was happy that “…the initial loan from the IDA a number of years ago to assist in the start-up of Fused Solutions was paying off as the company was growing and diversifying.”
State Senator Joseph A. Griffo repeated his praise for NYPA and SPEC for their flexibility, saying, “When SPEC made its Vertuous investment, I said that public investors had to adopt new rules of engagement to attract internet-age companies to communities like Potsdam. What makes this one fortuitous is that it’s a company that’s already here.”
Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava said, “Three Internet-based companies in eight months — it sounds to me like we have some momentum in establishing St. Lawrence County as a place that Internet-age companies can do business.”
Karen St. Hilaire, SPEC Secretary and St. Lawrence County administrator, has had a long-term interest in Internet commerce that at least dates from her days as CEO of the County Chamber of Commerce. She said that this investment was “…right in line with what the Chamber has been doing with its Adirondack Trading Cooperative – to help local businesses capitalize on the Internet.”