Analysts Float the B-to-B Market Higher

As if there wasn't enough hot air in the business-to-business market, investment firm Thomas Weisel Partners hosted a gathering this week in Boston to inject a little more.

No analyst-sponsored meeting would be complete without meaningless predictions, and CBS MarketWatch reported that this one upped the ante significantly. Weisel analyst Gretchen Teagarden predicted that b-to-b companies could represent $1 trillion to $2 trillion in stock market value within 10 years. Might be 1 trillion. Might be twice that much. As for the assumptions underlying the math, MarketWatch's Bambi Francisco reported that Teagarden crunched the number by assuming that the Internet could reduce SG&A expenses by 19 percent in 10 years. Teagarden's thinking picks the companies that help shave those corporate excesses via the Net to be the biggest beneficiaries of the savings.

RedHerring.com's Scott Raynovich reported that attendees described the b-to-b landscape as "raw," analyst-speak for "anything can happen." There was wide acknowledgment that the b-to-b game had just started, Raynovich wrote, and that even the high-flying companies - most of whose annual revenue run rates are under the $100 million mark - have yet to mature into sector powerhouses.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what's going to set the trailblazers apart, Teagarden drafted a must-see list of characteristics that will define the b-to-b winners. According to Raynovich, they're the companies that "move the fastest, have the largest expertise in their respective vertical markets, deal in commodities that are most easily moved or described over digital channels, and have management teams with connections at the highest levels." For this, people traveled to Boston in the dead of winter?

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