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.

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