Starting June 5, Austin, Texas-based e-commerce company Demandex is expected to soft launch an online marketplace that will match prospective vendors to potential buyers who have expressed a need for a particular product. The Internet trade center promises businesses a more effective way to reach a wider audience in a transaction-based environment. "You can plug into a worldwide community-trading center," said Bill Collum, CEO of Demandex.
Buyers and sellers can subscribe to the service at Market.com, where they can place demands for goods and services, as well as bid to satisfy demands that other users have placed. Each demand is characterized by a common set of attributes, such as item demanded, quantity, location and time.
For instance, a fiberglass boat manufacturer may place a demand at Market.com for 10,000 gallons of acetone to be delivered to their headquarters in Hilton Head, S.C. by the following Tuesday. Demandex then identifies subscribers who fit the profile and sends them the demand. The acetone suppliers can vie for the business by placing bids. The first supplier might bid $1.35 per gallon, while the second might bid $1.19 per gallon. However, the second may not guarantee on-time delivery. "It's then up to the fiberglass boat builder to decide who to go with," explained Collum. While there are no initial costs, Demandex receives 35 cents for every demand delivered. In addition, they take home 1 percent of the transactions completed via Market.com.
With online competitors such as Seattle-based onvia.com, a B2B emarketplace that caters to small businesses; Mountain View, Calif.-based Ariba, an e-commerce company that hosts a business exchange application; and Pleasanton, Calif.-based Commerce One, a provider of supply chain software, Demandex enters an already crowded space. Unlike its competitors, however, Collum said Demandex offers a peer-to-peer model, rather than a B2B or B2C model which inevitably restricts exchange. "We can support just about any transaction you can think of," he boasted.
Another differentiating factor--Demandex's proprietary "demand-processing" technology that allows software-based agents to act on subscribers' behalf based on individual business rules, such as the user's identity, physical or virtual address and information necessary for the current transaction.