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Reckons it's a lean, mean e-business machine

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An e-commerce up-start start-up claims to have stolen a lead over the darling of British e-business, Lastminute.com. LateRooms.com says its has leapfrogged Lastminute.com by signing up 1500 hotels to the site, making it the largest database of its kind on the Web. Sources also claim that LateRooms.com is generating even more booking enquiries than LastMinute.com, despite only being launched in November last year. "Unlike the clutch of other loss-making Web outfits scrambling for market share, the site has begun turning a profit after only four months online," boasts LateRooms.com. Self-financing LateRooms.com is part of the Internet incubator Start.co.uk -- an online holding company for web-based start-ups. Start.co.uk has a paper value estimated at around £200 million, the company said. ® Related Stories The wit and wisdom of Martha Lane Fox Float announced for Lastminute.com Flotation ahoy for Lastminute.com

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