Investors take $21M stake in mySimon

An investment group headed by Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc.'s venture capital affiliate, Sprout Group, today announced a $21 million stake in mySimon Inc., an Internet e-commerce hub for online comparison shopping.

MySimon's service lets consumers comparison shop on the Internet for best prices on an item, Sprout Group said. It searches over 10 million products at more than 1,300 merchants, the group said.

"I don't know if a comparison shopping engine like mySimon will ever be as powerful as a Yahoo or an Amazon. But I think there may be a happy moderate business in there somewhere," said Ken Cassar, an analyst at Jupiter Communications Inc. in New York.

Cassar said Web shopping robots make sense considering Jupiter's recent survey of online buying habits. The May 1999 survey found that 77% of online buyers characterized their purchases as planned. "They knew what they wanted before they went online," Cassar said. And 79% of that subgroup said they typically went to more than one site before making a purchase, he said.

"We've got a group of comparison shoppers right now, and shopping 'bots' play into this disposition," Cassar said.

Jupiter projects that the total online shopping market will reach $41.1 billion by 2002. The 1999 market forecast is for $12 billion.

Other investors in mySimon announced today include Brentwood Venture Capital and Marquette Venture Partners. Funding will be used mostly for general corporate expansion and a national marketing campaign, Sprout Group said.

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This story, "Investors take $21M stake in mySimon" was originally published by Computerworld.

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