RealTime IT News

B2BWorks Lands New Financing

Chicago-based online ad network and marketing services firm B2BWorks said its focus on business-to-business marketers is continuing to pay off, capping a strong year with $3.25 million in new funds.

Specific terms were not disclosed of the financing, which was led by previous investors Convergence Partners, which has previously funded other Internet marketing plays, including AdForce and Emmperative, and IDG Ventures, the venture capital unit of publishing giant International Data Group.

The funding closes the third round of fundraising by the startup, which offers online inventory and e-mail marketing services for B2B marketers.

B2BWorks said it would use the new funds to finance operations and to develop new products and services. The company recently launched CRMWorks, an end-to-end marketing solution that helps B2B marketers and publishers develop e-mail strategies, create and build e-mail lists of customers and prospects, and execute e-mail marketing programs.

The firm's chief executive and founder, Bill Furlong, said it continues to attract financing due to a record of 34 percent annual revenue growth. Furlong attributed the growth -- coming as it does during lean times for most B2C players -- to the company's traditionally offline client base, experienced salespeople (like last year's hire of Ed Barry from MSN) and the offering of an integrated product suite.

While B2BWorks might have missed out on the high-flying dot-com dollars during the Internet boom, Furlong said the company's focus is paying off now that offline B2B marketers are becoming more Internet-savvy. As a result, the fourth quarter of 2001 proved to be the company's most successful, despite sluggish performance from much of the online marketing sector.

"The market's starting to get what we do," Furlong said, adding that the company expects to turn a profit by fourth quarter.

B2BWorks' success in the marketplace is indicative of the relative strength of the online B2B advertising sector, while consumer-focused plays -- especially media -- continue to struggle.

B2BWorks also would seem to be in an enviable position versus offline B2B marketers, as businesses' purchasing decision makers become increasingly difficult to reach via traditional means. A recent study by Omnicom Group's Doremus Advertising found that upper management relies more on vertical trade pubs than mainstream business magazines -- a boon for B2BWorks, which has deals with the online units of publishers like Cahners Business Information.

Additionally, a recent Forbes.com study also indicated that executives spend more time on the Internet than with any other medium. Meanwhile, B2B direct mail campaigns will become more expensive as the result of June's impending postal rate hike, the third such increase in two years.