December 18, 1996 5:15 PM PST

Shakeup at NetObjects

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NetObjects, an up-and-coming Web publishing software maker, is shaking up its board and negotiating its largest round of financing yet, sources said today.

As part of the board reshuffling, Terrence Garnett, a partner with the Venrock Associates venture capital firm, has left the board. Another director, Promod Haque, a general partner of Norwest venture capital, also is on his way out, the sources said. Venrock, an investment arm of the Rockefeller family, and Norwest are original investors in NetObjects.

The company also has recently hired a new chief financial officer, Gary Gemoll.

NetObjects chief executive Samir Arora confirmed today that the privately held company planned to restructure its board and expand it from three to five members, but wouldn't elaborate further.

Haque and Garnett didn't return phone calls. Gemoll confirmed that he has been hired as the new NetObjects CFO, but wouldn't comment further.

Arora did confirm, however, that the company is negotiating a new round of financing. He said the second batch of investors will still include both Venrock and Norwest. He added that the new round of financing is already oversubscribed, but wouldn't identify any new investors. Sources said AT&T Ventures is a possible candidate.

Arora said NetObjects was doing "extremely well" financially, in fact exceeding its financial goals. The company will announce full details of the restructuring in a couple of weeks, according to Arora.

Industry analysts and Silicon Valley venture capitalists agreed that the company is performing well financially, but one said the company is nevertheless going through some "growing pains" described as "operational issues."

NetObjects has a Web publishing tool called Fusion for both Macintosh and Windows platforms. Its product partners include IBM, Microsoft, UUNet Technologies, Netscape Communications, Sun Microsystems and AT&T.

One of NetObjects' recent coups was providing the design tool that helped create the 24 Hours in Cyberspace instant Web site. The publicity and the popularity of the site and new book helped the company raise $5.4 million in its first round of financing.

 

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