Tuesday, March 30, 1999

Local firm wins Net security deal

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Compaq Computer Corp. has selected Cincinnati-based Skipjack Merchant Services for encription security for Compaq's new service EZ Store, which allows merchants to develop a secure Internet presence.

        New and existing small and medium-sized businesses looking for a way to embrace e-commerce are targeted through Compaq's EZ Store. Compaq servers process nearly 90 percent of the world's securities transactions and 66 percent of all credit card transactions.

        Compaq agreed to a strate gic alliance to resell Skipjack to its merchant base because of Skipjack's secure and easy-to-implement software, said Brian Griffin, vice president of business development at Skipjack Merchant Services.

        Skipjack is a service of Evolv Adaptive Technology, a 1996 Cincinnati start-up company.

        Negotiations with Compaq began in September, and an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 new merchants are expected to sign up for EZ Store annually, Mr. Griffin said. The Compaq pact will mean revenues of $3 million to $5 million annually to Evolv.

        “We've been working on deals like Compaq for quite a while, and it's a reaffirmation of what we've been trying to do in e-commerce. We are on the right track,” said Brad Hoeweler, president of Evolv.

        David Bukvic, director of strategic alliances for Evolv, said a customer is more likely to be struck by lightning every day of his life for a year than have a credit card number stolen during an e-commerce transaction managed by Skipjack.

        He said Skipjack is similar to a card-swipe machine at any merchant, but instead of the card going through the machine, customers enter the numbers themselves on the Internet.

        The entry is encrypted and passed onto a credit card processor for authorization through the browser's code. Skipjack brings a degree of safety to e-commerce transactions because merchants do not have access to the credit card number.


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