RealTime IT News

NBCi, Bigvine Unite to Benefit Small Businesses

Big ideas aimed at the small business market were revealed Tuesday when NBC Internet Inc. and Bigvine Inc. formed a new service and commerce platform for small business operators.

NBCi's AllBusiness.com, a provider of small business services and content, and Bigvine Inc., an online barter marketplace for small businesses, have formed a standalone company operating under the AllBusiness brand.

The new operation will be a foundation for a unique and highly active exchange platform with broad-ranging opportunities for small businesses, according to Debra Chrapaty, COO of Bigvine.

"This is an exciting B2B opportunity in an area that has previously been hazy," she said. "Through this consolidation we are providing an opportunity for small business operators to learn, to grow and to transact online, all in one place."

For example, according to Chrapaty, visitors to the new AllBusiness.com will not only be able to locate a service, such as an attorney, but to transact for that service provider online. "It will be an actionable transaction environment," she said. "Small businesses now will be able to find the critical information and education they need to participate in and gain the most from the exchange experience."

The new service will combine AllBusiness' rich content and user base of more than one-million businesses with Bigvine's transaction engine and online trade currency, which currently lists more than $80 million in barter services and good.

Further, the site will be backed by strong marketing efforts. American Express will support the new company through strategic co-marketing efforts; NBCi will provide the new AllBusiness with on-air television advertising on CNBC and NBC, along with online distribution and marketing on the new NBCi.com consumer Internet portal.

Additional marketing support will come from other partners including GE Small Business Solutions, Delta Air Lines and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

"Through these powerhouse supporters, there is great potential to expand our range of services and commerce options for small businesses," noted Chrapaty.

This transaction to form the new AllBusiness company is expected to help NBCi advance profitability before non-cash expenses. Following the completion of the transaction, NBCi will focus its operational efforts on the domestic consumer Internet market, with AllBusiness operating as a standalone company.

Former Bigvine Co-Chairman, President and CEO Bippy Siegal, will become chairman and CEO of the new venture, which will be headquartered in San Francisco.

"Until now, there really hasn't been a small business exchange that is rich in content, services and transaction capabilities, such as barter and other exchange offerings," said Siegal. "The company will move quickly to further expand the commerce offerings and firmly establish AllBusiness as the undisputed leader in small business solutions."

At the conclusion of the transaction, the former Bigvine Inc. shareholders, including, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, American Express and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, will have an aggregate interest of approximately 51 percent in the new venture. NBCi will own an approximate 49 percent interest in the new company.