Fingerhut Leads OrderTrust Funding Drive

OrderTrust, a privately-held order processing/management services company, announced today that it has closed back-to-back rounds of funding for more than $33 million (US$). The funding was led by Federated-owned Fingerhut, the direct marketer/online retailer.

Additional financing was received from venture capital firm Far West Capital Management and private investors.

Customers Include 1-800-Flowers, VerticalNet

OrderTrust offers both large and small retailers a scalable back-end infrastructure for managing orders that are generated online and through other sales channels.

“OrderTrust is the first company to gain significant traction in the transaction processing segment of the supply chain,” said Cato Carpenter, a senior analyst at Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown.

OrderTrust, which processed more than 100 million transactions in 1998, is based upon a network of businesses that includes more than 600 merchants, suppliers and fulfillers. OrderTrust’s clients include 1-800-Flowers, SkyMall and business-to-business marketplace VerticalNet.

“Merchants are quickly discovering that successful commerce depends in large part on managing the complexity inherent in operating multiple sales channels with multiple sources of supply,” said Jim Daniell, CEO of OrderTrust. “As a result, more online merchants and ‘click and mortar’ retailers will need to rely on our proven, scalable commerce network for accurate order processing and efficient exception handling.”

Fingerhut Will Sell OrderTrust’s Services

Fingerhut’s business services division will resell OrderTrust’s order management services as a complement to its own fulfillment service. In addition, the companies will work together to integrate the business services division’s fulfillment systems with OrderTrust’s nationwide network of businesses.

“As merchants face the E2K issue — the need to engage successfully in e-commerce as a matter of survival — they will need to blend the efficiency model of the brick-and-mortar world with the effectiveness model of the dot-coms,” said Judith Hurwitz, president of consulting firm The Hurwitz Group. “Relationships like this one that drive open standards will make that possible.”

Fingerhut provides fulfillment services to e-commerce sites such as eToys, Wal-Mart.com and Levi.com. Fingerhut also operates nine of its own sites, including Andy’s Auctions, Myjewelry.com and birthdayHut.com..In addition, Fingerhut is partnered with e-commerce sites including PC Flowers and Gifts, and FreeShop.com.

Fingerhut’s parent company, Federated, owns online Macys.com and Bloomingdales.com.

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