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NeoCarta jumps into business-to-business game

The venture capital firm becomes the latest to set its sights on the Net, announcing a $275 million fund that will focus exclusively on Internet commerce.

The spotlight is on the burgeoning business-to-business industry, and venture capitalists are lining up to fund its growth.

Just today, NeoCarta Ventures, the latest venture capitalist to enter the field, announced a $275 million fund that will focus exclusively on Internet commerce. The firm plans to invest in business-to-business companies, as well as business-to-consumer firms.

The announcement follows several other high-profile venture funds created to focus on the online business-to-business market, which is slated to garner the majority of revenue generated through e-commerce. Forrester Research estimates that the business-to-business industry will explode to $1.52 trillion in 2003 from about $131 billion in 1999.

Just last month, CMGI launched its CMGI @Ventures B2B Fund, separating it from its @Venture fund to highlight successes in this sector. Also recently, a start-up fund based in Washington, D.C, Venturehouse Group, said it would focus exclusively on the online business market.

NeoCarta Ventures--based in Cambridge, Mass., and San Francisco--will be led by managing directors Jarrett Collins and Karin Kissane, who were previously principals of TTC Ventures, the venture capital arm of The Thomson Corporation. The fund also will be led by Thomas Naughton and Tony Pantuso, who were formerly vice presidents at GE Equity, a private equity subsidiary of General Electric Capital.

The fund's principals plan to leverage the expertise of its key partners, including senior executives at Healtheon/WebMD. They also plan to work with the fund's Internet Commerce Advisory Group, which includes representatives from Microsoft and PlanetRx.

Venture-backed funding has been climbing to record levels, with Internet and technology funding winning the bulk of the capital. According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, venture funding surged to a record $9.04 billion in the third quarter of 1999.

Companies currently in NeoCarta Ventures' portfolio include Fibermarket.com, Freshnex.com and Vitessa, among others.