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DALLAS-Octane Ventures LLC has knocked out two of three major decisions, selecting its first CEO and an e-commerce partner. Still to come will be the headquarters location for the powerbroker alliance.

Jim Huser, former COO of US Interactive, will be leading the alliance of CB Richard Ellis, Insignia/ESG, Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. and Trammell Crow Co. With a CEO in place as of June 26, Octane is poised to forge inroads into the commercial real estate industry that have been promised in the past but never fully delivered by other online ventures.

To push the online drive, the alliance has kicked in $10 million out of a $13-million capital funding to workplaceIQ Ltd., headquartered in Waltham, MA. Israel Infinity Fund, Genesis Partners, CLAL Ltd. and the Cedar Fund also are participating in the Series B funding round.

The end goal is to develop innovative technology that will catapult Octane into the premier spot for online wheeling and dealing. In a prepared statement, Octane says it is prepared to roll out the beta launch of its online transaction services platform in the fourth quarter, with full implementation in early 2002.

“Our partnership with workplaceIQ solidifies Octane’s technology to support the business strategy we have developed over the past year,” says Joseph L. Fitzpatrick, Octane’s spokesman. “This is a quantum leap forward into our next phase in meeting the growing needs of our brokers and service providers, clients and all stakeholders in the commercial real estate life cycle.”

In the online launch, Octane is seeking to provide customized, flexible and secure tools for the industry, such as automating key tasks, reducing paperwork and streamlining the administrative process. It’s a start-to-finish goal for deals that is aimed at setting industry standards, a long-time sought initiative that has been undermined by failed high-tech ventures as well as the high-cost for development and implementation. With the Octane powerbrokers’ backing comes a certainty that many brokers will now be won over to high-tech dealing instead of turning their backs on the new ways of trading, an issue that has worked against prior attempts.

WorkplaceIQ comes with a patent-pending, cross-company capability for management and acceleration of a wide range of projects. Its role will be to serve as the backbone of the Octane initiative and incorporate key components of workplaceIQ infrastructure into the integrated suite for online real estate transactions.

In making the dual announcements, Octane also has placed Frank Garrison, president of Insignia Financial Services, and James Groch, Trammell Crow’s president of e-commerce and corporate development, on the workplaceIQ board of directors.

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