December 5, 1996 6:30 PM ET

VeriSign scores $30M
in private financing
By Maria Seminerio

  Digital certificate maker VeriSign Inc. will announce Friday that it has obtained $30 million in financing from major IT and financial companies, including Cisco Systems Inc., First Data Corp., Intuit Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., Microsoft Corp., AT&T; Ventures and Softbank Ventures.

The investment is a boon for the electronic commerce products developer, formed in April 1995 as a spin-off from encryption software maker RSA Data Security Inc. The funds will enable VeriSign to build upon the visibility it gained when Visa International Inc. selected it as its certification authority for implementing Secure Electronic Transaction services with member banks.

The capital, which brings the company's total financing to $40 million, will be used to fund development and expand global operations, company officials said.

VeriSign's Digital ID applications are used to provide secure transaction services, E-mail, and secure access on more than 10,000 World Wide Web sites.

"This is just a public stake that says we think that this technology is very important," said John Brown, electronic commerce product manager at Microsoft. "We have been a big user of theirs to date and will continue to be in the future."

Among the other companies contributing to the financing are Comcast Corp., Gemplus Card International Inc., Reuters, and institutional investors Amerindo Investment Advisors, Attractor and Chancellor Capital. Previous investors include Ameritech Corp. and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

VeriSign is based in Mountain View, Calif.

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