- The Washington Times - Monday, August 5, 2002

The Central Intelligence Agency's venture capital arm has teamed up with two other investors to put $3.4 million into a small software company in Utah.
In-Q-Tel has invested in Salt Lake City-based Attensity Corp. The venture capital arm isn't disclosing its equity stake in Attensity, founded in January 2000 by David Bean, 36, and Todd Wakefield, 34.
The investment in the privately held company signals In-Q-Tel's belief that Attensity's software will be useful to intelligence officials. Created in 1999, In-Q-Tel is charged with searching for technology that the CIA could use to gather and analyze information about U.S. enemies.
It is the second investment announced this year for In-Q-Tel, the Arlington-based private nonprofit venture group funded by the CIA, and the first investment made in Attensity. The $3.4 million will come from In-Q-Tel; the Entrepreneurs Fund, based in Mountain View, Calif.; and German equity investor Triangle Venture Capital Group.
A formal announcement is planned for today.
"This enables the company to move beyond scrap and survival mode," said Mr. Wakefield, the company's chief executive.
Since the September 11 attacks, In-Q-Tel has also been on the lookout for high-tech tools in its counterterrorism and homeland defense efforts.
The software, which Mr. Bean developed during the past decade, sifts through information databases to sort and analyze data.
Farm-machinery manufacturer Deere & Co. and household-products maker Procter & Gamble Co. use Attensity's software to analyze data gathered by employees at customer call centers. The software culls through reams of notes from operators who write down customer complaints. It can generalize information from the calls to help corporate officials analyze the data quickly.
The software can do the same for intelligence agents collecting information compiled into vast databases about people under surveillance.
"Attensity's technology addresses one of the most difficult and pervasive information technology challenges facing government agencies that collect and analyze intelligence for national defense and homeland security," In-Q-Tel President and Chief Executive Officer Gilman Louie said. "The amount of text-based information generated by these agencies on a daily basis is overwhelming."
The CIA's venture capital arm tested the software this year before approving the technology. In-Q-Tel officials declined to say whether the CIA or other agencies is using the software.
Attensity, with just 23 employees, had no plans to search for customers in the federal government until In-Q-Tel came calling earlier this year.
"The fact that they vetted this technology over the past several months will help us market the software in the private sector and public sector," said Mr. Wakefield, who once served as general counsel to the U.S. national ski team and started a law firm in Utah before joining Mr. Bean to form Attensity.
In-Q-Tel has made investments in 15 companies since it was formed. During that time it received inquiries from 2,100 companies seeking investment. In-Q-Tel hasn't revealed how much it has spent to take equity investments in the 15 companies, but it operates on a $30 million annual budget.

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