Supplybase Inc. rolled out a new online marketplace to match buyers and sellers last week — the same day the firm was sold to software maker i2 Technologies Inc. Prior to the purchase, San Francisco-based Supplybase already had ambitious plans to create a large e-commerce Web site. Now the $380 million stock deal with Dallas-based i2 Technologies has Supplybase officials thinking about a more complete package that will allow companies to integrate all functions of purchasing, from design through production.
Supplybase's Web sites specialize in linking makers of custom parts — like injection molded components — with potential customers.
Rix Kramlich, director of marketing, said typical parts sourced through Supplybase "don't cost a lot, but they take a lot of product development time, and if they don't ship on time, you've got really big trouble."
Some key end users to date have been original equipment manufacturers in the electronics industry, where lead times to develop new products are notoriously short.
Supplybase's new Web site, www.supplybasesource.com, gives part buyers a free database of 80,000 global suppliers, sorted by capability. Buyers can select potential suppliers, send them requests for quotes, and — for a fee — access financial and risk-analysis reports on the firms.
The Supplybase.source service also is free to suppliers, although firms can buy enhanced listings in the database to help them stand out.
Supplybase is introducing Supplybase.source in an effort to bring more buyers to its site. The next step is to create a more complete electronic business community, with dynamic bidding and other services. That move, scheduled for later this year, is dubbed Supplybase.exchange, according to Kramlich.
"That will take us from contacting and communicating with supliers to really working with suppliers," Kramlich said. "This is about broadening the scope of the marketplace dramatically."
The company expects the deal with i2 Technologies to quickly add more services. The new parent firm will have 4,000 employees and a research and development budget of nearly $260 million, following its March 13 purchase of Aspect Development Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.
That $9.3 billion stock deal, which was announced the same day as the Supplybase acquisition, was the largest in software industry history. It made i2 Technologies the largest software provider to the business-to-business market.
Supplybase and i2 Technologies expect their merger to be complete in April.