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Services exec takes top spot at start-up

The former head of computer services firm Cambridge Technology Partners, Jim Sims, jumps back into business as the chief of a new business e-commerce consulting firm.

The former head of computer services firm Cambridge Technology Partners has jumped back into business as the chief of a new business e-commerce consulting firm.

Jim Sims, who left the Cambridge, Mass.-based firm in July to launch a then-unnamed Internet start-up today announced he is forming Gen3 Partners with partner Michael Treacy, former head of Boston-based consulting firm Treacy & Co.

Sims' new venture also unveiled its first deal today: a partnership with trucking equipment manufacturer Meritor Automotive and venture capital group Accel Partners for a new exchange called Fleetworks.com. The site will offer parts and other services online for companies in the truck parts industry, a market worth about $25 billion annually, according to analysts.

The company also recently received $12 million in an initial round of financing from Accel.

Sims said the group's consulting work is aimed at helping brick-and-mortar companies improve or simplify the process of buying by moving many of the supply chain processes online. Gen3 will help clients develop business-to-business marketplaces that link them to their suppliers and partners over the Internet.

The company plans to take an equity stake in the marketplaces it helps create, Sims said.

The lucrative business-to-business e-commerce market has garnered favorable attention from a wide range of companies, such as professional services firms, manufacturers, brick-and-mortar companies, Internet services providers and a number of other technology companies.

A major driver Will B2B's magic last?is the huge revenue potential in the growing market. Leading research firms foresee the business-to-business market to be worth between $2.7 trillion to $7.3 trillion by 2004.

"The first wave (of the Internet) favored new dot-coms," Sims said. "We're betting on the second wave, which is really focusing on brick-and-mortar firms and taking their core business and moving it into a related market."

For its part, Gen3 assisted Meritor with ideas for the exchange and secured funding from Accel. Meritor will hold the majority stake in the venture, while Accel and Gen3 will hold minority stakes. Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sims helped build Cambridge Tech, a company that enjoyed a period of success but has lately been plagued with a reorganization, extensive executive turnover and revenue shortfalls. Many of the company's top executives have left to join Net-based start-ups.