August 19, 2014, 2:02 PM

B2B and B2C platform provider WebLinc raises new funding

The company has raised $6 million in new funding from Safeguard Scientifics Inc.

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WebLinc, a provider of e-commerce technology for developing business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce sites, has raised $6 million in new funding.

WebLinc, a provider of B2B applications to companies such as Fenner Drives Inc., a manufacturer of transmissions and related products, and laboratory products manufacturer Thomas Scientific, raised the funding from Safeguard Scientifics Inc. The private investment firm, based in Wayne, PA,  specializes in funding companies in health care, e-commerce and other growth markets.

The funding will be used to accelerate the development of new features for WebLinc’s e-commerce platform and more integration of e-commerce software from third-party providers, and to expand sales and marketing, the company says.

“We’ve been in business for 20 years, profitable for 19 years, and never took funding—we have grown organically through profits,” says WebLinc CEO Darren Hill. “We saw a void in the mid-market space, retailers making $10-100 million in annual sales—off-the-shelf, open-source on the one end, and really expensive dinosaurs on the other end. We want to fill that void. We could take three-plus years to do it on our own, or six to 12 months with venture capital. We have always had some pride that we have grown the business on our own, but the opportunity was just too great to pass up.”

"WebLinc has a long and impressive history of powering e-commerce sites for leading brands around the globe through its innovative e-commerce platform," says Safeguard managing director of technology Erik Rasmussen, who will join WebLinc’s board of directors. “WebLinc is positioned to continue helping business-to-consumer and business-to-business operations.”

WebLinc specializes in areas such as B2B reordering, the company says. Most business buyers want to be able to quickly reorder products. That isn't hard to achieve, say experts. For instance, a B2B merchant can store its customers' recent orders—including the items they purchased and the quantity—and display them each time the customer logs onto the site. The buyer can quickly select the order he wants to refill, change the quantity as needed, and click the Buy button without having to navigate to the product page to place the order.

Reorders can be grouped in several ways, such as by date of purchase, frequency of purchase or season. The latter is an appealing feature for apparel and sporting goods companies because their inventory changes with the seasons.

Another way to make online buying easier is to set up an automatic reorder of frequently purchased items. The order can include the usual quantity, which the customer can change if needed. If no change is needed, the customer doesn't even have to sign on to the supplier's site to place an order. The order is processed automatically on a designated date.

"Repeat orders are a big part of B2B e-commerce, and the more suppliers can automate the process, the simpler it becomes for the customers," says Hill.

For a free subscription to B2BecNews, a weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry, click here. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes the monthly magazine Internet Retailer.

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