BUSINESS IN BRIEF

Carta Inc.<@VM>Convio Inc.<@VM>FreeBalance Inc.<@VM>Epylon Corp.<@VM>Grassroots Enterprise Inc.<@VM>Way2Bid Inc.

Carta of Sacramento, Calif., which tried to build a business developing Web sites for government agencies, has ceased operations. The 5-year-old firm sent nearly all its employees home after running out of money to pay them for further work.

A spokesman said fewer than 75 employees were affected. The company is searching for new investors or possibly a buyer, he said, and hopes to resume operations. The decision to shut down came from Carta's investors, New York venture capitalists who gained control of the firm in exchange for a third round of funding in January.
Convio, an Internet software company providing relationship management solutions to the nonprofit sector, announced it has secured $12 million in its second round of funding.

Granite Ventures LLC led the round through its Granite Ventures and Adobe Ventures funds. Other investors include Austin Ventures, Silverton Partners and Neil Webber, co-founder and former chief technology officer of Vignette Corp.

Convio, founded in April 1999, conducted more than 1,000 interviews with nonprofit executives before spending the last 12 months developing a comprehensive platform to address the relationship management, fund raising, communication and advocacy requirements of the nonprofit sector. FreeBalance, a supplier of electronic government solutions, and Progestic International, a leading Canadian e-government consulting and technology firm, recently announced a strategic alliance under which they will collaborate to provide Web-enabled grants management systems for the public sector.

The systems are designed to Web-enable and automate complex tasks associated with government grants, contributions, loans, financial assistance and transfer payment programs.Epylon announced the availability of nine new technology vendors, including Compaq, CDW-G, Gateway, IBM, Lexmark, Micron, NEC Computers Inc., Tangent and Xerox.

Epylon's more than 1,400 registered school districts and government agencies now have access to more than 300 suppliers in the Epylon Supplier Network. The network and its associated services offer suppliers access to public-sector purchasers and the opportunity to expand market share in the education and government markets.

Vendors also can receive standardized electronic orders, manage complex bidding opportunities and migrate customer service functions online to reduce the overall sales costs.Grassroots.com officially completed its transformation to a provider of Internet-based advocacy software when it announced its new company name, Grassroots Enterprise Inc.

Formerly the providers of an award-winning Web site for taking political action online, the company changed its name to better reflect its endeavor of providing software to the political marketplace.

The company also announced the appointment of Mike McCurry to chairman of the board of directors. McCurry led the company's redirection as chief executive officer and will serve concurrently as chairman and CEO for Grassroots Enterprise.

Grassroots Enterprise also has met engineering milestones on the development of its software, Grassroots Multiplier, keeping it on track for release next quarter.Way2Bid recently released details of enhanced catalog features now available on its public-sector marketplace, the Way2Bid Exchange. The enhancements, which build on the catalog features of the exchange, are part of a recent upgrade to offer purchasing solutions tailored to the public sector.

The Way2Bid Exchange allows suppliers to provide a variety of e-procurement catalog options to their public-sector buyers: Way2Bid-hosted catalogs, contract catalogs and now the ability to link to supplier-hosted catalogs.

These business briefs are composed of selected excerpts from the BB&T Capital Markets publication, "A&D/B2G/B2E/G2C Weekly Review," written by Thomas Meagher.

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