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Mondus.com Crosses Borders in Search of the Right Deal

While modern businesses procure a predictable pattern of goods and services on a daily basis, they must often make several contacts before landing the best deal on the correct component. Mondus.com seeks to put it all in one place.

The idea to bring businesses together online is by no means new. Introducing buyers and sellers and then taking a cut of the transaction is a process older than most hills, and the Internet has unleashed a whole new generation of such middlemen. And while many customers will prefer the services of a specialist, mondus.com's generalist approach will be best suited to some e-commerce needs.

Additionally, as most operate in one country or another, mondus.com goes out of its way to straddle international boundaries and facilitate international trade. If most people still stay within their own borders only for the sake of convenience, mondus.com has become one of the companies that is striving to make the Web a little more world wide.

"There is a wide range of products and services that all businesses buy on a day to day basis," said company co-founder Alexander Straub. "Our suppliers offer multiple quotes across many different categories, so it becomes a one-stop purchasing system that can help you to make a smarter decision."

The process is deceptively simple: Prospective buyers need only register with mondus.com's secure server, which allows total access to all sellers. Then they submit a hyperlink and wait for the bids to roll in. Finally they strike a direct deal with the seller, who then pays mondus.com a commission.

Straub said that one obstacle the company faced was making user benefits clear to investors. "When you offer share options, this is still not something that is widely understood in Europe," he said. Still, the company's international connections provide an advantage, and it is part of the trend that is making the Internet less Anglo-centric.

"People in the consumer space in America are ahead," he said. "But those in Germany and the UK are developing an aggressive understanding of the value of the Internet, which has been around long enough now so they don't have trouble in acquiring new customers."

For now, most mondus.com customers are buying within their own countries, but customers often search out the site to see what is available elsewhere and how much it will cost. Straub expects cross-border transactions to increase.

"It can become more attractive to source internationally as shipping becomes less of an issue," he said.

The company received its first round of financing, $1.7 million, in March, with the second $12 million round following in August and October. Investors included 3i PLC, Eden Capital, and Zouk Ventures.

"I expected very critical questions during the second round presentation, and was prepared to answer them," recalls Straub. "However, the VCs only asked how much we needed, and I was not prepared for this question. I told them $12 million. Today I would have told them much more."

"Mondus allows a business to really exploit the Internet in fundamental business ways - gaining customers and reducing costs," said Trevor Hope, an investment executive for 3i PLC. "Apart from the very attractive business model, 3i wanted to back a very strong and aspirational management team. This is a team who wanted to put together a global business. They have developed an Internet model, which provides clear commercial benefits to the users, and with a management team who live and breathe Internet. We believe this should be a very successful company."

Company Name: mondus.com
Address: 50 Broadway, Suite 2000, New York, N.Y., 10004
Phone: 212-363-7500
Fax: 212-324-3044
Contact e-mail address: edward.kanterian@mondus.com
Web address: http://www.mondus.com
Investors: Eden Capital, Zouk Ventures, 3i Plc


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