British Firm Invades U.S. with E-Commerce Suite

BROOMFIELD, COLORADO (08/21/2000) - British company Infobank Inc. has set up its U.S. office here and by the end of next month plans to release a version of its business-to-business e-commerce software that company executives claim will be a bargain at a half-million dollars.

According to John Ball, vice president of Infobank's new U.S. operations, the company's Web-based InTrade 5.0 offering will combine the three core e-commerce functions: e-procurement for controlling employee requisitions through online catalogs; a "sell-side" or "buy-side" component that a single seller or buyer can use for interacting with trading partners; and an exchange for commerce between multiple buyers and sellers.

"It's an e-hub in a single application," Ball says. A Web-based application that runs on any NT or Unix server, InTrade 5.0 relies on XML to exchange data between enterprise resource planning application formats, electronic data interchange and back-end databases.

InTrade 4.0 is limited to the e-procurement functionality, which puts it in competition with Ariba and a handful of others. If Infobank's new three-pronged application works as advertised, the company will find itself competing against much of the e-commerce software industry dominated by U.S. vendors, including Commerce One, BroadVision, Ironside Technologies, Haht Software and InterWorld.

That doesn't seem to bother Jim Conning, Infobank's chief operations officer, who's confident there will be plenty of demand from midsize companies for InTrade 5.0.

He claims the price of a half-million dollars makes Infobank's software a bargain when compared with the millions of dollars needed to buy several types of e-commerce packages to get what InTrade 5.0 will have.

Business-to-business e-commerce software often looks like a rich man's toy.

According to a recent study by IDC in Framingham, Mass., the typical cost of a software license from Commerce One is US$650,000; Ariba, $1 million; BroadVision, $300,000; and InterWorld, $365,000.

Infobank also plans to make InTrade 5.0 available as a hosted application, charging application service providers about 3 percent to 4 percent of any transaction fees they collect for its use.

The software firm says its customer roster includes Biotech Analytics, an online medical community called Vitals986; a business-to-business company called Latinobanc.com; and Guilbert and British Telecom in the U.K.

Conning notes that with $200 million in financial backing, the company is set to compete aggressively in the U.S. for the business of Fortune 1000 corporations and government agencies.

Infobank: www.infobank inc.com.

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