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Scheduling is seen as the next wave of  online marketplace services for SMBs, encouraging sticky usage, premium features and, in some cases,  highly contextual advertising. Scheduling vendors such as Agendize, Full Slate, MaxiPage and X Time are actively syndicating solutions.

Jumping aboard the scheduling trend is MerchantCircle, the SMB services company with 1.3 million registered SMBs. It announced today an all-cash acquisition of TimeBridge, an online meetings facilitator that incorporates scheduling among its other solutions. TimeBridge represents  MerchantCircle’s first acquisition.

CEO Ben Smith told us that MerchantCircle will use TimeBridge to incorporate a free, simple to use scheduling service for its merchants.  While TimeBridge is not primarily a scheduling platform, over time it has acquired 25,000 SMB customers over time. “We knew (scheduling) is something we’d have to have at some point in time,” said Smith.

Ultimately,TimeBridge’s value may be its use as an in-house technology vendor. CEO Yuri Nelkin is bring brought on as CTO of Merchant Circle, and the expectation is that his five-person Israeli team will work on a number of development projects for MerchantCircle.  Meanwhile, TimeBridge will continue to exist as a separate entity.

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