MATT HARTLEY<br/>Globe and Mail Update<br/>May 8, 2008 at 8:01 AM EDT
Dozens of technology startups ache to make a name for themselves in the social networking game, but only one has Research In Motion Ltd. co-chief executive officer Jim Balsillie on its board.
For Igloo Inc., a Waterloo, Ont.-based company that develops corporate social networking software, Mr. Balsillie's involvement is the difference between obscurity and instant credibility.
"As a startup, if I go to a large enterprise company and try to sell our software to them, the first question that they are going to ask me is if I'm going to be still around in five years," Igloo chief executive officer Dan Latendre said in an interview.
"Having Jim on the board takes that objection off the plate ... they know we're receiving great direction and guidance from an industry leader," said Mr. Latendre, a former Open Text Corp. executive.
Thursday Igloo will announce the completion of its first round of venture capital funding, securing a $4-million investment through RBC Venture Partners Group.
Igloo's software provides a suite of Web 2.0 and Facebook-like services for firms, allowing their employees to improve in-house communications and share information more easily. Igloo employs a Web-based software as a service model, allowing users to connect to their programs through an Internet browser, e-mail or a mobile device.