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When money’s tight, you turn to those you know for help. That’s the path telecommunications software developer Trinity Convergence is following to land $3.1 million in first-round venture financing.

Intersouth Partners of Durham, Core Capital Partners of Washington, D.C., and Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds of Reston, Va., took part in the round. All three were involved in Trinity’s $1.5 million seed funding last summer.

“They all know us and recognize our potential,” Trinity Chief Executive Jeff Critser says.

Indeed. All three venture firms have committed to expand the round by another $4.5 million by the end of April, according to Critser. He says that money will provide the company with enough cash to fund its operations for the rest of the year.

The three firms also would likely lead another funding round in early 2003 and help bring in strategic partners to carry Trinity to its projected break-even point late next year, he says.

Trinity (www.trinityconvergence.com )creates packet voice and fax software for telecommunications equipment suppliers to facilitate Internet telephone services and help users sidestep heavy long-distance rates. New York-based market research firm Frost & Sullivan estimates the packet telephony market will grow from $5.4 billion this year to $36 billion by 2005.

New CEO sought

The company expects to almost double its 18-person headcount over the next year as it adds engineers and ramps up its sales and marketing efforts, Critser says. It is working on succeeding generations of its flagship product, VeriCall, to add features and improve efficiency.

Critser hopes to improve his personal efficiency as well, and he’s leading the effort to recruit a veteran technology executive to assume the role of Trinity CEO. That will allow him to move over to company president, where he can concentrate on business development.

National executive recruiting firm Russell Reynolds is helping the company with the search, and Critser says he expects to hire someone by the summer.

“I’ve taken Trinity to the point where we’re beyond concept and early-stage growth, and we need a seasoned CEO in here to kick things up a notch,” he says. “There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do everything that needs to be done. We have partner relationships that I need to spend time on to build so we can capitalize on them.”

Spanning the ocean

Trinity was created last year following the sale of Dallas-based Blue Wave Systems to Motorola’s computer group. Critser headed the global accounts sales efforts for Blue Wave, which developed Internet telephony hardware and software, and was based in Raleigh to call on Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Alcatel and others.

Critser linked up with some of Blue Wave’s researchers in Europe to form Trinity, which has kept its core R&D operation in Cambridge, England, despite the hub of telecom activity within 10 miles of the company’s west Raleigh headquarters.

The company still has a relationship with Motorola, using the firm’s hardware platform for VeriCall.