The Quest Business Agency has picked up an e-commerce account with a launch budget of $2 million.
The client, BD Solutions of Houston, has set up an Internet hub that it expects will connect 30,000 automotive dealers and their vendors. The Web site, due to launch Sept. 8, will enable dealers to make online purchases of merchandise and services ranging from wax for the showroom floor to computer training.
BD Solutions looked at three other Houston agencies--J. Walter Thompson, BRSG and Bates Churchill--before selecting Quest.
"We were impressed by their emphasis on research and the return on investment from that research," said Allyson Vents, vice president of marketing at BD Solutions. "They were more concerned with hard facts and statistical data."
The Houston agency has been offered an equity share in the client, although a decision will not be made until September.
"We take a highly disciplined approach to clients and the first stage is comprehensive research of the market to determine how successful the return from that market will be," said Quest president Alan Vera.
BD Solutions was established a year ago and now has 98 employees at its Houston headquarters and at a technology center in St. Louis. The latter site will answer online queries.
The company has a partner in St. Louis-based Access US, which has a 5 percent equity stake as well as a $5.5 million contract to construct and maintain a Web site.
Quest has picked up an estimated $6 million in billings from dot-com accounts in the past 90 days, according to Vera.
"In the last six months the people with the money behind dot-coms have demanded viability," said Vera. "We have a reputation for the ability to predict and determine the return of investment."
Tradewell Systems in Houston is another dot-com that recently chose Quest. The company provides online applications for the energy industry, particularly natural gas trading companies. Texaco is one of the firm's major investors.
Quest will help Tradewell launch in a number of energy segments nationwide.