CHARLOTTE … V3 Systems, which has successfully transformed itself from a boutique consulting firm into a developer of enterprise supply chain and warehouse management software, has received $11.5 million in first-round venture funding.

The round, which the company said was oversubscribed despite current market conditions, will provide V3 the capital needed to expand global sales and marketing campaigns, increase product development and support international deployment of its software.

“We’re being pulled up into a lot of Tier I and Tier II accounts, and that requires a completely different capital structure than we’ve had up to now and the expertise of the venture syndicate, who have dealt with the needs of international customers before,” V3 President and Chief Executive Ashley Campbell says.

V3 was founded in 1994 as a systems integration consultant serving Charlotte’s financial institutions, including the former NationsBank and First Union, now Bank of America and Wachovia, respectively. The company, which has always been self-funded, bought a supply chain software unit almost five years ago and gradually shifted its focus to that industry, Campbell says.

The company’s customer list now includes the likes of Compaq, Dell, Nokia, Alcatel, Nortel, Furman Foods and Goulston Technologies as well as third-party logistics concerns like Eagle Global Logistics, TNT Logistics and USCO Logistics.

Going north for money
“We’re not the typical startup looking for a first round,” Campbell says.

Yet the company had difficulty getting a deal put together with North Carolina venture firms. So he hired an investment bank, Hyde Park Capital Advisors of Tampa, Fla., to put the word out about V3 and ended up with a high-powered group of investors.

Sterling Venture Partners of Baltimore led the round, and Draper Atlantic Management, SpaceVest and Updata Venture Partners, all based in suburban Washington, D.C., also participated.

“Sterling Venture Partners has found in V3 Systems a company of remarkable leadership and rock-solid technology,” Brian Hirsch of Sterling said in a statement. “Since its inception, and especially in the past two years, V3 Systems has experienced exponential growth as it has won A-list customers on three continents. We have long sought companies of this caliber and welcome V3 Systems to our growing list of portfolio companies.”

V3 makes, markets and installs enterprise supply chain execution applications that offer a variety of functionality, including modules that manage receiving, multi-owner inventory management, order management, RF-directed picking and packing, shipping, billing, querying and reporting.

The company also accommodates multi-tiered web-based supply chain visibility through the “V3 Digital Dashboard,” which allows anyone with a secure login to view supply chain information, key performance measurements and the disposition of shipments from anywhere they have access to a web browser.

AMR Research Alert, a Boston-based strategic advisory firm, recently reported that V3 saw 150 percent revenue growth last year and estimates another 50 percent increase this year.

Campbell says the venture money “will address human capital issues” at the 40-employee company. He expects to hire a number of people in sales and marketing and some software developers at the Charlotte headquarters as well as salespeople at offices in Singapore, Sydney, Australia, and an office the company plans to open in Europe.

V3 Systems: www.v3systems.com