Siebel spins off portal site

Software maker Siebel Systems is spinning off its portal site, Sales.com, as a privately held company.

Siebel Systems today said it is spinning off its portal site, Sales.com, as a privately held company.

Sales.com launched in February as a wholly owned subsidiary of front-office market leader Siebel. The spin-off has nabbed $27 million in private financing from Sequoia Capital, U.S. Venture Partners and Siebel, the company said in a statement.

As a result of the private financing transaction, Siebel said it has become a non-controlling shareholder of San Mateo, Calif.-based Sales.com.

Siebel said Sales.com targets sales personnel by offering Web-based contact and account management tools licensed from Siebel.

Siebel, which makes software that automates a company's sales and marketing needs, competes in the fast growing customer relationship management (CRM) market against rivals Oracle, SAP, Clarify, Vantive and others. The market for CRM software is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. AMR Research projects the market to reach $16.8 billion in sales by 2003.

Sales.com offers daily business briefings on sales staffs' key accounts and competitors as well as a sales lead database of more than 15 million names, the company said.

Other online sites catering to the needs of sales personnel have debuted recently. Salesforce.com, a start-up founded by a former Oracle executive, is targeting the sales audience with many of the same services as Sales.com. (CNET, publisher of News.com, is an investor in Salesforce.com.) Earlier this week, the start-up named a chief executive and said it has secured $17 million in financing.