A San Francisco company, Just in Time Solutions Inc., has joined the crowded field of electronic bill presentment vendors.
Just in Time is selling BillCast, a system for sending bills and receiving payments electronically in conformance with OFX, or Open Financial Exchange, a data interchange standard.
Mike Lanza, president and chief executive officer, said his company provided "significant input" into developing the OFX specifications with its sponsors Checkfree Corp., Intuit Inc., and Microsoft Corp.
Mr. Lanza is selling primarily to large billers.
An advocate of open systems, he said, "This industry will not go anywhere if we are all trying to come up with our little proprietary ways of doing things."
Dozens of vendors have designs on bill presentment, which has been touted as an Internet "killer app" because it might encourage consumers to keep returning to chosen financial Web sites.
Mr. Lanza put down the approach of MSFDC-the joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and First Data Corp. that has galvanized much activity in the field- as inefficient and "not in the interests of billers."
Just in Time's system would have retail customers connecting directly with billers to resolve problems. They interact with consolidators only to receive and pay bills.
"We are forceful advocates of doing it this way," Mr. Lanza said.
The system includes the BillCast OFX Server, which already is in use by Intuit, to help consolidators exchange billing transactions and information. It starts at $150,000. The BillCast Presentation Server, which billers use to brand and present bills, starts at $50,000.
Just in Time Solutions also has a comarketing agreement with Checkfree, another major force in the presentment market, and is working closely with a large West Coast bank that Mr. Lanza declined to name.
The company's financial backers include Intuit and Norwest Venture Capital, San Francisco.
Kevin Hall, general partner at Norwest Venture Capital, which has chipped in $5 million, acknowledged that a vast number of companies have jumped into the electronic presentment game.
"I think Just in Time's relationship with Intuit and Checkfree helps position them as an early mover and a market leader," Mr. Hall said. "We are pretty excited about the market space. Things are going to start popping there."