Ashley Campbell came to Charlotte software company Midgard in the mid-1990s to help investors merge or sell the firm, but he liked its product so much that he bought the company with its chief technology guru, Paul Weiss, in 1997.

Campbell, now CEO of the company renamed V3, has a background in finance. He did due diligence on Midgard when evaluating its acquisition value and saw a company with great potential. Today, he and Weiss, now CTO, took a year after purchasing the firm to hone its business plan and software. They now own over 95 percent of the company.

The company’s supply chain management software, developed to meet the banking industry’s need for 100 percent tracking of its inventory, has since proved attractive to numerous other industries. It’s currently being used to keep track of everything from flower pots to computer parts.

Reliable sources tell Localtechwire that V3 is three-quarters of the way toward an expected $10 million in revenue this year, up 400 percent from last year, and expects to grow another 400 percent next year.

Seeks first venture round

Campbell tells Localtechwwire the company recently took on some debt to finance its marketing expansion and is also seeking venture capital for the first time.

These guys could be a venture capitalist’s dream, but they will likely avoid giving away the cart with the horse for the $10 million or so they’re after. Campbell says the company would assume additional debt rather than take too low a valuation.

On the other hand, 30-employee V3 has seasoned senior management talent, a hot product with big name “Tier 1” clients, lean operations, and a shot at grabbing front runner role in an enormous software market sector.

In an interview with Localtechwire, Campbell outlines the features he saw in the company that have helped it succeed in a tough, fragmented sector with up to 400 players.

Campbell says V3 Systems can show its clients something almost unheard of in the software business: a 100 percent successfully installed customer base in an industry where 80 percent of installations fail.

Clients include Dell and Compaq

The company’s clients, including computer powerhouses Dell and Compaq, use V3’s supply chain management software to get the pieces they need to make PC systems — screens, chips, keyboards — from manufacturer to workbench at precisely the moment they’re needed.

V3 frequently partners with third-party logistics companies, such as Eagle Global Logistics, which works with Dell, FedEx, UPS, and Rider. These “3PLs” contract with manufacturers to do their shipping. V3’s software tracks the part from the supplier’s to the manufacturer’s workbench.

Lots of companies sell supply chain management software. But the V3 software’s ability to track 100 percent of inventory, coupled with the ability to customize it to a particular customer’s needs quickly with “snap-in” pieces, proved to be a major advantage in the marketplace, says Campbell.

Campbell tells Localtechwire, “In the banking arena, they need to track 100 percent of inventory. In banking, there’s no such thing as being close. It’s exact or you don’t work there.”

Company spokesman John Wagner adds, “You wouldn’t want a bank statement off 5 percent.”

Wagner says the V3 software costs between $40,000 and $55,000 plus a $3,000 to $5,000 monthly fee for an average sized warehouse.

Yet, Campbell says, the failure rate in the supply chain management software industry is 80 percent and few of the products available offer this 100 percent tracking ability.

“The underlying, fundamental attributes of a supply chain do not change for high technology, automotive, or pharmaceutical products,” he says. “They all track units.”

Data available on the Web

V3’s software not only tracks those units whether they move from the sixth to the third floor of an office or go from Charlotte to Singapore, it also makes the data available on the Web. The Web interface is customizable, so that a senior executive may choose to see summary data with graphs displayed, while another might want to see a lot of details.

One reason this is so useful, Campbell explains, is that “the manufacturing supply chain starts in Asia today.” He says many top companies outsource manufacturing and logistics now, and “having an application that be pushed to the far reaches of the world via the Web at low cost is valuable.”

Getting computer parts to Dell, picking the items, packing, sequencing and shipping them from 160 suppliers just in time for manufacture is the challenge, Campbell says. “You have to keep Dell, the 900-pound gorilla, and the 160 suppliers, who pay the 3PLs, all happy,” he says.

If you see it, you can move it

V3’s Rich Sherman, vice president of marketing, tells Localtechwire, “Visibility is a key. If you see it, you can move it. V3’s ability to share this supply chain information with trading partners over the Web is its differentiator.”

Managing inventory everyone is buying isn’t so hard, Sherman notes, but “finding inventory no one is buying is more difficult.”

Accurate tracking and visibility of inventory as it travels the chain offers manufacturers a number of cost-saving advantages, Sherman says. “It eliminates additional storage so goods move through the warehouse and can pass the white glove test. Nothing stays long enough to collect dust.”

It also gives transportation partners the ability to ship full truckloads, reducing empty miles.

Recently, Sherman says, the company received an inquiry from military personnel in Germany about its software. “Being in the ordinance business is a good thing right now,” he says.

Sherman, who recently joined V3 as part of its marketing push, says the company neatly blends “traditional business values and hot technology cultures. A lot of us wear suits, and a lot of us wear jeans and polo shirts,” he says. “It’s still a fairly small office where everyone wears a lot of hats.”

V3 competitors include EXE, Dallas, Texas, a 600-person company, and Manhattan Associates, of Atlanta, Ga. V3 actually hired a number of top sales people who recently left EXE, which partly accounts for how the company supercharged sales this year despite a down economy.

More information about V3 is available at