Double Duty

AmEx launches second B2B venture, continues to do well with first

San Francisco  June 6, 2001  When most people think about B2B e-commerce, names like Ariba, Commerce One, Oracle and eBreviate come to mind, whereas a name like American Express brings to mind Travellers' Checks and corporate credit cards. But all that may stand to change in the next few years. American Express Co. is moving aggressively into the B2B space lately, funding two major e-commerce ventures, Workadia and MarketMile.

Workadia is American Express' latest venture launched just yesterday in conjunction with TIBCO Software Inc., Infosys Technologies Ltd. and WestBridge Capital Partners. The newly created company, Workadia LLC, will provide companies with customizable business intranets through browser accessed hosted portals. The company will also offer consulting services to help customers select and deploy their intranet applications, content and services.

Workadia's initial round of funding totals $16.7 million, enhanced by the strategic assets each company brings to the partnership. The company will generate revenue from three primary sources: licensing fees from customers, consulting fees, and third-party product and service sales.

The new company will begin operating for the near-term under the guidance of co-founder and Interim-CEO Mohit Mehrotra, who is currently vice president of interactive business development at American Express.

Commenting on the American Express' movement into the B2B space, Glen Salow, executive vice president and chief information officer at American Express made the following statement: American Express has extensive experience building strong relationships with and servicing thousands of business customers with a wide range of products and services, including Web-based Corporate Card and travel applications.  Through this experience, we know companies have a strong appetite for deploying a broader set of services to their employees. We're pleased to play a role in creating and guiding Workadia, a company with all the right ingredients to quickly deploy a valuable workplace service for corporations.

Outsourcing of corporate intranets will be the way of the future for companies, said Phaneesh Murthy, Infosys Board Member and Head of Worldwide Sales and Marketing.  Our own experience in building and integrating systems and connecting enterprises will be invaluable for Workadia as it rolls its services out for all ranges of businesses.

Workadia is currently operating the portal in a pilot phase and plans to make it more broadly available later this year.  More information is available about Workadia on the Internet at

It is really no surprise that American Express would launch a new e-business venture, given that its last B2B venture is doing quite well nowadays. MarketMile, a hosted e-procurement application and indirect goods and services marketplace, was founded by Amercian Express and continues to be partially funded by them.

MarketMile recently announced that it has signed 10 new suppliers to participate in its sourcing solution: Compaq Computer Corporation, CompUSA, IKON Office Solutions, Micro Warehouse, Software Spectrum, Corporate Express, FranklinCovey, Jannus Group, Motion Industries and Newark Electronics. These new suppliers join other participating companies like Boise Cascade Office Products, Office Depot and CDW Computer Centers.

We're very encouraged by the reception we've received from the nation's elite business suppliers, said Gayle Sheppard, chief executive officer and president of MarketMile, LLC. Our success is especially significant given the cautious nature of suppliers in this current business environment.

MarketMile is selective in choosing its supplier relationships because we know that a strategically selected network of top suppliers will better serve both our buyers and our suppliers, continued Ms. Sheppard. Being selective allows us to provide buyer choice without supplier congestion, and enables us to fully partner with suppliers in extending the procurement process beyond electronic transaction enablement.

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