Last December, Julie Nickoley, senior manager ofcommercial paper operations at DaimlerChrysler, agreed to work with PrescientMarkets to develop a Web-based subscription technology service to help companiesprice and manage their commercial paper issuance. The goal: a system to providereal-time flow of short-term prices and a way to track investors and competingissuers. At the time, the global automaker and long-time direct CP issuer sawthe possibilities as interesting, but not necessarily a priority.

All that changed two months later, whenDaimlerChrysler’s CP was downgraded to A2/P2. Suddenly, big money-market funds,which once constituted 85% of DaimlerChrysler’s market, were no longer buyers.Nickoley had an immediate need to figure out what other buyers existed out inthe market to take their place, but it took her a day or two to get investorinformation out of the mainframe-based system she used to manage CP issuance.

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