EProject becomes Daptiv, aims to take over PPM market

A Seattle, Wash. company known for a decade as eProject has changed its name to Daptiv, in an apparent challenge to Microsoft and other dominant players that offer portfolio and project management software.

Founded in 1997, eProject barely scraped through the dotcom bust. Investor Kennet Partners recapitalized the company in 2005, and it secured another $12 million in funding from Bay Partners and Kennet earlier this year, simultaneously claiming that it was growing quickly enough to become profitable by next year.

Now Daptiv says it has more than 700 corporate customers, including Dell, Fidelity, Merrill Lynch and Sprint/Nextel. Most corporations employ some form of PPM software, which is used to manage aspects of projects like budgets and time-lines.

In Daptiv’s case, as well as several newer startups, the software is all web-based. Microsoft, by comparison, has stood by its desktop software. The approach of the online PPM upstarts in challenging Microsoft’s desktop PPM software is comparable to Google Docs versus Microsoft’s desktop-only Office suite. Microsoft has so far resisted making any of its software web-based.

However, companies are increasingly accepting of web-based software — especially in the huge industries of financial services and insurance, according to Daptiv CEO Jeff Pancottine. Daptiv, as eProject, simply arrived a decade too early, to a party that’s just now getting noisy.

Part of that noise is growing competition. Since last summer, three competitors all received their first funding. Smartsheet.com took $4 million in June 2006, Clarizen took $7 million in December 2006, and AtTask also brought in $7 million, this June. There’s also Project.net, an open-source PPM company acquired by Integrated Computer Solutions in February 2006.

Pancottine says his company’s more extensive history helps give it a leg up on newer entrants, through its established customer base and polished product. He compares Daptiv to Salesforce, an online customer relationship management software suite that has stolen away a large portion of the CRM business from a much larger company’s offering, Oracle’s Siebel.

That’s pretty ambitious, considering that Salesforce has a market cap of over $5 billion, while Daptiv’s valuation during its last funding was around $50 million.

Daptiv also released the latest version of its software today, called PPM Fall ’07 Edition. It costs $50 per month for each user.