TimeBridge

MerchantCircle Acquires Online Meeting Scheduler TimeBridge

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Online marketing network for small business owners MerchantCircle has acquired meeting scheduler TimeBridge, we’ve learned. We’ve confirmed the acquisition with MerchantCircle. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2005, TimeBridge provides a web app and an iPhone app that allows users to coordinate and schedule meetings easily. The company, which has over 500,000 users, also offers a number of features that allow users to conduct meetings, including web, phone and video conferencing. The app will send attendees email and SMS reminders and allow users to upload documents and capture notes.

Ben Smith, co-founder of MerchantCircle, says that the startup plans to use to TimeBridge to allow merhcnats on its network to schedule appointments with consumers. Merchant Circle, which has been steadily growing, provides a business directory for merchants in smaller towns and currently lists 1.3 million small businesses. MerchantCircle has long targeted merchants in small locales versus catering towards the consumers, as sites like Yelp and CitySearch do. MerchantCircle has local business members in 95% of the 24,600 U.S. cities and towns with populations over 200.

While the company will continue to operate TimeBridge’s scheduling platform, TimeBridge’s technology will also eventually be integrated into small businesses’ profiles to allow consumers to schedule appointments and calls with merchants (see picture below). Smith said that the acquisition was also a talent acquisition; and says TimeBridge’s Yori Nelken will bring both his technical skills and business acumen to MerchantCircle.

Another asset of TimeBridge that was attractive to MerchantCircle was the patent portfolio that TimeBridge has in the online scheduling space. TimeBridge has raised $14 million in funding to date. MerchantCircle has been steadily adding new features, expanding to international markets, and increasing traffic to its site, perhaps in preparation for a possible IPO in the coming year.

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