Business-to-business concern



has formed a strategic alliance with privately held

, a marketplace for the building, design and construction industry.

Ariba has developed software that connects global buyers with the suppliers of business goods and services over the Internet. will use that software to create a more efficient and profitable procurement process for its marketplace. That marketplace offers design collaboration, bidding, construction administration and buying services online.

The domestic construction business is a $715 billion industry and should comprise a large part of the B2B e-commerce transactions, expected to hit $7 trillion in the next four years.

The B2B sector is an explosive one, with all manner of companies entering the market or seeking to remake themselves as purveyors of services for dealings between businesses. Only Wednesday, Ariba announced a strategic

alliance with


(IBM) - Get Report


i2 Technologies


for an integrated B2B service. That was just the company's latest attempt to establish itself as a creator of Internet marketplaces., based in San Francisco and founded only last year, is backed by


, a supplier of PC design software and tools for the creation of digital content that spun off last November; and

Crosspoint Venture Partners

, a venture capital firm that put up $15 million in first-round financing for the company, also last November. Crosspoint has also invested in Ariba;

Covad Communications Group


, a provider of broadband access services; and

Foundry Networks


, a provider of switches for companies and Internet service providerss.

In Wednesday morning trading, Ariba was down 5, or 2%, to 326.