Netjuice Consulting sees expansion in wings from base in Miami
By Sherri C. Ranta
Netjuice Consulting Inc., a Madrid-based Internet firm that recently moved its Latin American division headquarters to Miami, is in the process of investing about $50 million in an international expansion this year, company officials said.
Netjuice Managing Director Pericles Mazarakis said the company moved to the area last fall with the acquisition of the Miami-based Internet consulting firm Initiatives Corp., a firm of 65 consultants generating about $7 million in annual revenue.
"Miami, traditionally has been a hub for any Latin American operation," Mr. Mazarakis said. "Not being present in Miami did not make sense."
Netjuice Consulting, he said, specializes in Spanish- and Portuguese-language e-business by helping brick-and-mortar companies in all industries develop e-commerce strategies and solutions such as developing websites and integrating them into existing customer operations, Mr. Mazarakis said. Netjuice clients, he said, include Burger King, Columbia Tri-Star Pictures, PepsiCo Latin America, Ryder System Inc. and Walt Disney Latin America.
"We are basically the bridge from the old economy to the new economy," Mr. Mazarakis said. "We facilitate companies making the leap into new technology. Think of the Internet as an additional distribution channel."
Founded in 1996 in Madrid, Netjuice has grown quickly, expanding to Barcelona and ending 1999 with 40 employees and $2 million in revenues, company reports show. By July 2000, Netjuice had expanded to Lisbon and the next month purchased Initiatives Corp. to give it a US presence.
By December Netjuice offices had opened in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Headquarters for the Latin American division, 5200 Blue Lagoon Drive, Suite 100, opened late last year with 70 employees. Worldwide, Netjuice Consulting has 300 employees.
"Our main focus is to grow quickly but profitably. We are not going to expand for the sake of expanding," Mr. Mazarakis said.
He said the company also plans to expand to the north in Florida in the future through acquisitions, partnerships and other forms.
Mr. Mazarakis is spearheading the company's international expansion plans, according to company reports. He helped raise $60 million in investment capital for parent company Netjuice to develop the company's new technology and Internet sectors.
An additional $55 million was raised for financing Netjuice's international porfolio of companies Pulsar, Sport Arena, Baquia, Viacarla Photography, Kelkoo and GolfSpain.
Maria Moreno, director of the investment department for the Trade Commission of Spain, said Netjuice is one of about 300 Spanish firms ranging from sole proprietors to large corporations located in Miami.
Among well-known, Spanish-based firms with offices here are Union Fenosa, the largest energy company in Spain, and Telefonica, Spain's largest telephone company.
Ms. Moreno said many Internet technology companies in Spain are interested in the Florida market and as a result, the Trade Commission of Spain plans to sponsor a seminar in Madrid in March to showcase IT opportunities here.