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History and Founding
Founded in April 1996, Actra is a venture funded company by Netscape Communications Corporation and GE Information Services (GEIS). Benefiting from GEIS´ market expertise as the world's leading provider of business-to-business electronic commerce services and Netscape's leading position in developing, marketing and distributing software for the Internet, Actra provides next-generation Internet commerce application solutions for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business commerce markets. Additionally, Actra is taking an active role in promoting open standards for Internet commerce.
Actra CommerceXpert is an integrated family of Internet commerce application solutions for conducting business-to-business and business-to-consumer commerce on the Internet. The family consists of five products focused on buying, selling and merchandising over the Internet and leveraging existing EDI investments. CommerceXpert includes: ECXpert, SellerXpert, BuyerXpert, MerchantXpert and PublishingXpert.
The market potential for Internet commerce is enormous. For example, Forrester Research, Inc. forecasts that global consumers and businesses will use the Internet to order over $200 billion in goods and services in the year 2000. The National Association of Purchasing Managers estimates the U.S. market alone for business-to-business purchases at $370 billion annually. Forrester concludes that the Internet Commerce software market will exceed $3.0 billion by the year 2000, with the largest share being applications and servers.
Jim Sha, President and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Sha is the president and chief executive officer of Actra, leading the company in the development of high-end Internet commerce applications.
Mr. Sha came to Actra from Netscape Communications Corporation, where he served as vice president and general manager of integrated applications from August 1994 to April 1996. Prior to joining Netscape, Mr. Sha spent four years as the vice president of the UNIX Product Division at Oracle Corporation from June 1990 to August 1994, helping to drive the Oracle business on open systems platforms. During his tenure the UNIX business grew from 29% to over 70% of Oracles revenue. He led the effort to adopt Oracles parallel technology to UNIX clusters and later to the UNIX massively parallel processing platforms (MPP).
From June 1986 to June 1990 he served as vice president and general manager of the Advanced Systems Division of Wyse Technology, where he led the development, marketing and sales of a family of high-end symmetrical multi-processor (SMP) UNIX systems. The high-end 7000 series won the 1990 UnixWorld magazine product of the year award.
Mr. Sha holds an M.S.E.E. from the University of California at Berkley, an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University, and a B.S.E.E. from Taiwan University.
Larry Fox, Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Fox joined Actra in June 1997 to provide financial and operations leadership, and is responsible for the company's Finance and Administration activities.
Prior to joining Actra, Mr. Fox worked for GE Information Services where he was the CFO for GEIS' European operations based in Paris, France and Milan, Italy. Mr. Fox's 25-year career with GE includes financial management positions at GE's corporate headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut and various global and domestic locations within the Power Generation and Appliance businesses. Key activities included the acquisition of the INS EDI business in the UK and the disposition of a group of engineering and construction affiliates operating in the Middle East, Africa, and South America.
Mr. Fox received his B.S. degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Kentucky.
Ray S. Rike, Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Mr. Rike is vice president of sales and marketing for Actra. In charge of developing relationships with channel partners, Mr. Rike is driving the effort to make Actra the leader in Internet commerce applications solutions.
Prior to joining Actra, Mr. Rike served as the western area supply chain management practice manager for GE Information Services. Mr. Rike began his marketing career in a marketing development role for R.J.R. Nabisco. He began his technology career in 1986, marketing proprietary electronic commerce solutions to the automotive and high tech industries for CompuServes Business Communications Division. Mr. Rike subsequently joined GE Information Services where he served in various leadership roles promoting the use of electronic commerce tools including Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), and proprietary Intra/Inter enterprise network-based solutions.
Mr. Rike received his B.S. degree from Ohio State University with majors in computer science and production operations management.
Mark S. Biestman, Vice President of Commercial Applications & Business Development
Mr. Biestman has spent the last 19 years in the information technology field, where he has held a variety of positions in sales and marketing management. He currently serves as vice president commercial applications & business development at Actra where he is responsible for marketing, channel programs and product sales. Prior to Actra, Mr. Biestman spent two years at Netscape, where he served as vice president of sales - Western region and was responsible for building out the field sales and systems engineering organization in the Western United States.
Mr. Biestman has also held other positions in the software industry, both at Oracle, where he served as Vice President - Telecommunication Sales and at Metaphor as Vice President Sales and Industry Marketing. He also spent 15 years in the hardware industry holding various sales and management positions at Tandem Computers and the IBM Corporation.
Mr. Biestman has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley and has attended the Stanford Business School Executive Program.
Steve Savignano, Vice President of Product Development
Mr. Savignano joined Actra in August 1997 to provide technical direction for the company. In this role, he is responsible for defining product/technology strategy and overseeing the development of Actras CommerceXpert products.
Prior to joining Actra, Mr. Savignano served as Vice President of Product Development for Manugistics Inc, the leading provider of Global Supply Chain Management software. In this position, Mr. Savignano built a global Product Development team and technology strategy, which led the company to record growth.
Before joining Manugistics in 1994, Mr. Savignano held senior technical management positions at Digital Equipment Corp. from 1984-1994, including the development groups responsible for Digital's Software Development Environment Products, UNIX Development, and the Artificial Intelligence Technology Group.
Mr. Savignano holds an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Lowell, an M.B.A. from Northeastern University, and has attended the Stanford University Executive Program for Growing Companies.
Tony Sung, Senior Director -- Customer Services and Support
Mr. Sung brings to the organization over 17 years of experience in the engineering and customer services areas. He is currently responsible for Quality Assurance, Technical Communications, Technical Support, Sustaining Engineering and Technical Training.
Prior to joining Actra, he was Director of Quality Assurance and Release Engineering at Netscape for all products. Previous to Netscape, Mr. Sung was Director of Customer Services for Powersoft with responsibility for Support, Training and Consulting in the Pacific Rim West Coast support center. He has also held similar senior management positions at Sybase and Network Computing Inc.
Mr. Sung has a B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.