A start-up that provides products, services and advice to entrepreneurs for developing their businesses intends to create Web sites for local markets as it expands internationally.
MegaDepot.com, which relaunched itself this month as Onvia.com, began selling goods to US customers last July and plans to expand into the UK next, followed by Germany, France and Asia.
It has just raised $12 million in first round financing and plans to spend the cash primarily on marketing and business development. It has also hired the TBWA-Chiat-Day advertising agency to lead its advertising push, which was responsible for Apple Computer's "Think Different" campaign.
Glenn Ballman, Onvia.com's founder and chief executive, said:"Entrepreneurs will find a one stop source of business services, products, expert advice and free tools at the site. But we are now aggressively looking for European partners, in particular, in the telco, Internet and physical distribution markets."
He added that the company plans to be the "right arm" of entrepreneurs, available to help with any purchasing, financing or information issues that come up when starting and running a new business.
Unlike other sites that send customers to several different buying environments to complete their transactions, Onvia.com enables users to conduct all their transactions in one place. The site has more than 25,000 products in the computer hardware, software phone systems, and office supplies markets and also provides paging services, business credit cards and merchants accounts.
The company has established supplier relationships with 700 product manufacturers and 25 wholesale distributors of products, and service partners include @Work, AT&T Wireless, MCI Worldcom, Quest and Earthlink. Business alliances include Dow Jones & Company, Global Television and Hollinger International.
According to research firm IDC, small business is one of the largest untapped markets in the business to business ecommerce space, even though more than 41 percent of such organisations are currently connected to the Internet. As a result, it estimates that online spending in the sector will reach $63 billion by 2002.
Onvia.com was founded in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1996. The 56 employee company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.
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