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Cisco-backed firm aids manufacturers on Web

Cisco-backed firm aids manufacturers on Web

Comergent Technologies, a supplier of e-commerce software, has announced a new version of its software and $US54 million in funding from several investors, including Cisco Systems, its largest customer.

Founded two years ago, Comergent provides software that lets manufacturers create collaborative Web-based marketplaces for selling their products through distributors and resellers. Comergent is among the few companies trying to put these complex sales environments on the Internet.

"If a customer looks at their sales invoice, they might find that the product comes from the manufacturer, the price comes from the distributor and the aftermarket service may come from a systems integrator or reseller. Our technology pulls all three together," says Tom Mescall, vice president of product marketing and strategy for Comergent.

Much of Comergent's technology came from Cisco, which provided software and expertise to the startup in exchange for development work and a commercial version of the product.

"Comergent learned a great deal from us, then they took our tools and made them better," says Mike Odenheimer, senior manager for Internet commerce at Cisco.

Cisco was so pleased with the end product that the network giant made a minority investment in Comergent during its most recent round of financing. Other Comergent investors include Crosspoint Venture Partners and Softbank Technology Ventures.

So far, Comergent has attracted 15 customers, including two of Cisco's largest distributors - Ingram Micro and Tech Data - as well as Seagate.

Version 3.0 of the Comergent Distributed E-Business System, which just began shipping, now features catalogue, marketing and analysis modules. The latest version also supports Documentum for document management, and Extricity and Vitria for enterprise application integration.

The software is written in Java, supports XML and runs on Windows NT and Unix servers. It requires no client software, but the database engine runs on either Oracle or SQL Server platforms.www.comergent.com


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