online REPORTER - SendOrder Puts Purchase Orders Online

Start-up is out to make it easier for companies of all sizes to keep track of their purchase and sales orders. The Silicon Valley company has set up a B2B e-commerce service for buyers and sellers to send order information over the Internet that, according to VP marketing Neal Novotny, is "an Internet hub that bridges the gap between the paper trail and EDI systems." While a lot of companies have all of their internal systems integrated many - especially small businesses - aren't so organized when it comes to interacting with their vendors. As opposed to the online marketplaces cropping up all over the place that focus on the pre-purchase side of things, is there to help businesses organize all points of contact with their vendors after the sale. 

When a company logs on to its personalized view of the portal, there's an order summary screen that offers a variety of views - purchasing, sales, shipping, receiving, reports and contacts - so people in different roles can get the view best suited to their needs. The vendors can also get a password to get onto the site and see their orders. If there's an order waiting for them, the vendors can be notified via fax, pager or e-mail. 

Oh, and the portal services are free. According to Novotny the revenue will come from licensing the technology to large corporations or online B2B marketplaces who want to add it to their back-end infrastructures, developing integration hooks and patches so its customers can integrate SendOrder with their accounting, inventory or other systems and charging subscription fees for the hooks. The portal, he says, is a way to get visibility. Future plans include possibly developing request-for-quote or request-for-order services, electronic invoicing for B2B transactions or purchasing cards in conjunction with credit card companies. 

The SendOrder portal is currently in beta and should go live in the next week or so. The company was incorporated in April, but the concept was floating around for six months or so before that. It started out with funding from its founders Steve Mezak, whose past includes co-founding Aspect Development and Digital Market, and financial expert Joel Kaplan. Mezak and Kaplan got additional funding for SendOrder from friends, colleagues and former associates in October. The start-up is currently in discussions with several VC firms and should have something finalized in a couple of months.