PlanSoft Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio, which provides a comprehensive site selection database, electronic request for proposal, and meeting management tools via the Internet, has announced a partnership with b-there.com, a Westport, Conn.-based provider of online registration, housing, transportation, and e-marketing solutions. Under the terms of the agreement, PlanSoft will integrate b-there's comprehensive functionality as part of its Meeting Management Solutions (MMS) product.
The alliance enables PlanSoft to immediately meet large clients' needs for an end-to-end housing and registration solution. PlanSoft will bundle b-there's core attendee management capabilities with existing PlanSoft eRFP and MMS products for corporations, associations, and third party management companies. In addition, all of PlanSoft's web-based products will now be available to b-there's customers.
In late March, b-there.com announced it could turn a profit as early as April 2002, according to its Chairman and Founder Peggy Lee, having closed on $6.5 million of a $10 million round of funding.
With a total investment of $35 million in b-there to date, the additional funds include money from the original institutional investors: TL Ventures, Seaport Capital, and BancBoston Ventures.
b-there has processed more than 2000 meetings and has realized a 400 percent growth in the past 12 months, says Lee. "That demonstrates that an integrated online process for event registration, housing, transportation, and eCRM solutions brings real added value to our clients," she says.
While b-there's online registration engine was initially targeted tomanagers and association meeting planners, it's made strides in the corporate meetings arena as well, and now counts Nortel Networks, Penton Media, PGI, Colgate-Palmolive, and Bank of America among its clients.
Some in the industry thought the recent departure of high-profile Jerry Wayne, who left Opryland to join b-there as its executive vice president of sales, meant the dot-com was on shaky ground. But this recent round of funding should put naysayers at ease.
"The business model is sound, the product is first class, and the organization is poised to move confidently to the next level," said Bill Luby, Seaport Capital Partner. "We are enthusiastic about reinvesting and ensuring that the firm has the necessary capital to get to profitability." Adds Lee: "Our commitment to industry associations is the same. There are no changes planned." b-there made a sizable donation to the International Association of Exhibition Management last June--$500,000 in cash and stock optionsãto fund joint IAEM educational intiatives, including Web-tool tutorials.
b-there is also scheduled to take part in the beta testing of Pegasus Solutions Inc.'s new XML (extensible markup language) interface for the processing of group hotel reservations. Dallas-based Pegasus currently connects clients to its hotel switch through the older AMF standard (ASCII Messaging Format) but plans to begin the transition to XML, seen as providing a far smoother transfer of information across different software platforms. It will allow meeting attendees to make hotel reservations online, in real time, giving them instant availability, reservations, and confirmations for hotel room blocks and shoulder dates.
For more information on b-there, visit http://www.b-there.com.