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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 20, 2008 at 11:57 AM

Former VC heading Seattle’s QL2, priming for IPO or sale?

Former venture capitalist Russ Aldrich is the new chief executive at QL2, the Seattle Web market intelligence company announced today.

We’ll see if he lasts longer than the previous boss, Glenn Hasen, who left after about eight months.

Hasen was preparing QL2 to seek outside funding to boost its growth, but he said that ended in a disagreement with founder Kelvin Chin about the company’s direction.

Aldrich said it’s going to be different this time …

Aldrich said he has lots of experience working with companies and investors to turn things around.

He plans to spend the next three months or so sorting things out and putting the company in a position to consider whether to seek outside capital in 2009.

“I plan to be at QL2 and guide it through its successful next incarnation and, who knows, maybe take it to an IPO, maybe take it to an acquisition, but I don’t see it as an impossible task,” he said.

The 5-year-old company has about 105 employees. About half are in India and the rest are in Pioneer Square, Atlanta and the United Kingdom.

Aldrich spruced up several other area companies that were acquired.

Today’s announcement by QL2 noted that in his previous role as executive director at Guide Ventures in Seattle, Aldrich was involved with AdRelevance (which was sold to Media Metrix), Virtual Relocation (sold to TMP Worldwide) and ShareBuilder, which was acquired by ING.

Aldrich also has the database chops to lead QL2. Earlier in his career, he co-founded Simba Technologies, a company that works with Microsoft on open database connectivity drivers. Simba started in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., and is now based in Vancouver.

The release said Aldrich also worked for Silicon Graphics, Unisys, Altos Computer Systems, Apple Computer and Xerox.

Aldrich said QL2 “is running at a healthy pace — we are meeting our cash flow obligations, we’re growing at the continued pace that we’ve been growing over the past two to three years.”

As for taking funding, he said:

“I think we’ll reserve the right in 2009 to look at how fast we want to accelerate that pace — at this stage of the company’s history and genesis, you’ve got to [say] do you want to stay in the 25 to 30 percent range, 50 percent, 100 percent?”

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