Walsh: VerticalNet May Consider Taking Properties IPO
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In Part II, Mark discusses VertcalNet's progress to date, as well as plans for the B2B "portal" going forward, as well as VerticalNet's focus on creating more transaction oriented, e-commerce revenues. I also asked Mark if he planned to IPO any of the company's individual verticals.
Don't let the name throw you off. Unlike the majority of business-to-business commerce companies that attack a single vertical industry, VerticalNet is actually a horizontal B2B "portal" for 53 individually branded vertical communities. The communities represent a broad cross-section of vertical industries. DigitalBroadcasting.com, DairyNetwork.com, and Pollution Online are examples, among the 50 others.
Reporter@Large: OK Mark, lets get to the juice
Reporter@Large: Investors, including myself, read the profiles of some of these companies and I think we end up even more confused. There is just so much commercial jargon. Can you tell us what VerticalNet is really about?
Walsh: Yeah, I'm with you on that. I think the terminology gets so thick, so quick. It really slows down the appreciation of some of the cool things going on.
Reporter@Large: So how cool is VerticalNet? (laughs)
Walsh: VerticalNet was founded 4-1/2 years ago, really as a media model business bringing trade publishing to the Internet. Now we are a portfolio play, serving multiple markets, targeting a distinct audience of industrial buyers and suppliers, and in some cases, technology buyers and suppliers. We wrap a series of information, contextual content and commerce services around each of our 53 communities. Buyers and suppliers find a lot of value in our audience, in our technology, and in our ability to sell their things.
Reporter@Large: And the selling?
Walsh: Selling to me is about new and used/excess. Picture four boxes with, one-to-one new, one-to-one used, one-to-many new and one-to-many used. We have products to service those four boxes for each of our communities, because that is how we see buyers behaving.
Reporter@Large: Can you give us some examples?
Walsh: Sure. A 1-to-1 event occurs when a buyer of pinch valves comes to our "Pollution Online" vertical. They want to browse through multiple sellers, find one that has what they want, reach out to that vendor, leave a sales lead, or actually buy on our "vert." That is one-to-one.
One-to-many is where a buyer comes to one of our verticals and says, "I'm looking for a pinch valve that is made of aluminum, corrosive resistant, high capacity and is available in a week." Having multiple vendors searched and finding a number of pinch valves that solve the parameters of that buyers' search, the options are presented to the buyer and they can then make a decision.
Reporter@Large: What about VerticalNet's commerce expansion?
Walsh: What you'll see from us in Q1:2000, through our purchase of Isadra Software is much like you see in the Commerce Ones and Aribas of the world. . .the ability for a buyer to source multiple vendors and buy, online, in our vert, the products that make sense for them.
Reporter@Large: A lot of people point out the complexity and dificulty of launching one B2B vertical, let alone 53. There has to be some cross-networking leverage, or else such a strategy wouldn't make sense.