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TechTracker connects with Norwegian partner

TechTracker has become a strategic partner with Opera Software, a Norwegian developer of a popular European Web browser named, appropriately enough, the Opera Web Browser. Privately held TechTracker, based in Portland, gives an automatic notice to computer software users when updates are available. Its sites for Mac and Windows users provide self-help services and include product information and maintenance alerts. Opera Software AS is a privately held company headquartered in Oslo, Norway. Strategic affiliate is a term Opera uses, Ralph Risch, chief executive of TechTracker.com told LocalBusiness.com. "They have built a business by integrating other Web properties into their browser, like Google." Opera builds the properties right into the top of the browser, just as TechTracker will be. Searches can be tailored to user needs, so, for example, Google can be used for general searches, and TechTracker can be used for software information searches. The latest version of Opera, 5.10 for Windows, will feature WindowsTracker and Opera 5.10 for Mac will feature VersionTracker, as part of its integrated search box, Jennifer Young, director of marketing communications for TechTracker, told LocalBusiness.com. Since the Opera's free version launched in December 2000, the browser has received a ton of favorable publicity from users and critics around the world. Free Opera 5 increased Opera's user base which has around 20,000 new users registering every day. Risch said the Opera contract is for one year and continues thereafter unless terminated. The financial terms provide for a potential revenue share that works both ways, Risch said. "We both sell advertising (to other companies) and are adding value to each other (by increasing Website visitors)," he said. "We will compensate each other according to relative incomes. We expect to receive added income from advertisers, since TechTracker will now be open to an entire new category of visitors from Europe and Asia." Opera has broader distribution among Windows users, but the Norwegians are just breaking into the Mac market, whereas TechTracker has a strong position with Mac users. Each company has about 2 million users. TechTracker has conducted two financing rounds since it was founded in September 1999: an angel round and a seed round with two venture funds involved -- SmartForest Ventures and Internet.com's venture fund. Internet.com is a strategic investor, which not only has invested cash, but anticipates a marketing relationship with TechTracker. Total funding from both rounds is $2.9 million. The company plans to do another funding round this summer in a size more typical of full venture rounds.