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Ohio Firm Acquires LiveWire Logic, Plans To Expand Staff in RTP

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, an RTP-based startup backed by more than $5 million from several regional venture capital firms, has been sold.

Astute Solutions

, a privately held company focused on call-center solutions, acquired LiveWire in a deal that closed late last month. The acquisition was announced Monday. No financial terms were disclosed.

As part of the deal, Bud Whitmeyer, who had been acting as interim chief executive officer of LiveWire, returns to Research Triangle Ventures where he is a partner, a spokesman for Astute Solutions said.

James Lester, the computational scientist who created the RealDialog technology that was LiveWire's primary product, will remain with LiveWire either in a part-time or consultancy role, according to Greg Miller, chief operating officer of Astute.

LiveWire, which once employed more than 20 people, currently has a workforce of four full-time and one part-time person, Miller told WRAL Local Tech Wire. LiveWire will function as a subsidiary of Astute and will grow, Miller added.

Asked if Astute would maintain a presence in RTP, Miller said: "Absolutely. We may add half or dozen so people from our organization."

Overall, Astute employs some 60 people.

Astute and LiveWire had been in negotiations about a deal for some 10 months, according to Miller.

"LiveWire's product is an extremely powerful technology in the self-service area," he said. "You can go to the web and get answers to very specific questions without having to go to a (live) agent. This gives companies a 24-x-7 capability. It also helps train agents. This was just a natural fit."

LiveWire's RealDialog is designed to understand customer-generated questions and provide what it calls "intent driven search capabilities".

"We strive to solve the unique problems that consumer-focused companies face on a daily basis. Consumer-focused companies have few opportunities to truly differentiate themselves other than through brand marketing and through service excellence, " said Joe Sanda, Astute's president and chief executive officer, in a statement. "Acquiring LiveWire Logic and the RealDialog product will enable us to continue to expand our product offerings and to help our customers take the next step in providing unequaled service to their customers through service excellence."

Among LiveWire users were Circuit City and Water Pik.

Astute customers include McDonald's, British Airways and GlaxoSmithKline.

Lester founded LiveWire Logic in 2000. Investors included A.M. Pappas & Associates, The Atlantis Group, Charlotte Angel Partners, Gray Ventures, Research Triangle Ventures, Tri-State Investment Group, and truePilot.

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