Fairfax's Razorsight Goes to 'Aggressive' Calif. Firm for Funds

By Ellen McCarthy
Thursday, January 12, 2006

R azorsight Inc. today will announce its first round of funding, a $10 million capital infusion from Sierra Ventures, a Menlo Park, Calif., firm that's become one of the most active outside investors in promising Washington start-ups.

Charlie Thomas , who became chief executive of the five-year-old Razorsight in March, said his company met with a number of local venture firms and received offers from several of them.

Sierra won out, Thomas said, partly because of its expertise in software companies and partly because of its approach. "Once they decide they like a company, they're quite aggressive in bringing it to closure," he said. It took just three months for Fairfax-based Razorsight to close the round. The 160-person company sells software that organizes unstructured data into a form that can be analyzed by business.

Sierra's most recent local success story was Columbia-based Sourcefire Inc. , which was sold in October to an Israeli security company for $225 million. The firm, which declined to talk about its investing strategy, has also pumped funds into Reston-based Approva Corp ., Everest Software Inc. of Dulles and GenV ec Inc. of Gaithersburg.

Thomas, who raised about $800 million with the first company he ran, Net2000 Communications Inc. , said Razorsight's new funds will be used to expand its sales and marketing team.

'A Practitioner,' Not a CEO

Maybe Randolph C. Blazer should have never become a chief executive.

This week, 14 months after his abrupt departure from McLean-based BearingPoint Inc ., Blazer returned to the government contracting business as the head of SAP North A merica 's public services division and reflected on his career in the industry.

"I got thrust into a CEO role, and that's great, but that's not who I am," Blazer said. "I am first and foremost a practitioner."

For most of the more than 25 years he spent with BearingPoint and its predecessor company, KPMG LLC , Blazer was in a consulting role, working directly with customers. He took over the top executive spot as BearingPoint was spun out into a separate company in 2000 -- and became suddenly responsible for managing thousands of employees and developing a business. "And that was fun," he recalled. "But not as fun as serving clients."

After Blazer's sudden resignation, news of the company's deeply troubled accounting procedures emerged, forcing BearingPoint to undergo a major executive overhaul, delay its 2004 financial reports for more than a year and warn that its results going back to 2002 could be inaccurate. The company's official statements for 2004 and 2005 still have not been released.

Blazer refused to discuss the accounting problems and would not accept or reject blame for what happened but insists he's proud of the job he did at BearingPoint.

While he says it's premature to outline his plans for SAP North America, Blazer's strategy will be to promote SAP's software as a way to help federal agencies become more accountable for their spending.

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