Tuesday, October 9, 2001

Isle travel software
firm Viata gets
$3 million infusion

By Russ Lynch

Viata Online, which launched interactive travel-booking software systems in April in direct competition with what seemed to be a better-connected Get2Hawaii, now has a new name and new financing.

Called Viata Software Inc., the Honolulu-based company yesterday announced that John Dean, chairman of Silicon Valley Bank, has led a group of investors in coming up with $3 million in cash and equity to boost Viata's capital.

In a statement issued after a news conference yesterday morning, J.W. Ellsworth, Viata's chief executive officer, said Dean's commitment is welcome "in today's uncertain environment."

Dean has been granted a directorship in the company.

Viata provides the computer, Internet, security and transactions capabilities that allow travel customers to go through a Web site and book, buy and pay for travel services in a seamless way that does not favor any airline or other travel provider.

For example, one of its major clients, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, can have rooms explored and booked without Outrigger personnel involved.

Viata was almost eclipsed by the big announcement in April of the formation of Get2Hawaii, part of local travel business Panda Group.

At a launch-announcement luncheon, Panda brought out travel leaders such as Bob Fishman, CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority; Tony Vericella, CEO of the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau; airline chiefs Paul Casey of Hawaiian and Glenn Zander of Aloha; and Chuck Gee, dean emeritus of the School of Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawaii.

Viata, headed by Ellsworth, a former Aston Hotels & Resorts president, said it had been working on the same concept.

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