RealTime IT News

Exchange.com Plans Network of Vertical E-Commerce Sites

Cambridge, MA-based Exchange.com, formerly e-Niche Inc., said it plans to launch a family of highly vertical online marketplaces, and to that end has acquired Bibliofind, a rare and antique book Web site.

The company is also developing MusicFile, a destination site for hard-to-find and vintage music. That site is scheduled to launch in April.

These new marketplaces provide full-service e-commerce solutions for both buyers and sellers within the untapped secondary market for used, hard-to-find and collector items in special-interest categories, the company said.

In addition, Exchange.com closed a $10 million second round of private financing from Polaris Venture Partners, Accel Partners and The Washington Post Co. . The company also said it appointed several key industry leaders to its board of directors and advisory council, including Lotus Corp. founder Mitch Kapor.

"In traditional settings, buying and selling hard-to-find items is costly and time consuming, if not impossible," said Stig Leschly, Exchange.com founder and CEO. "Buyers can't find the items and information they want quickly and easily, and sellers can't find customers cost-effectively on their own. These two groups are desperate to get together."

Each Exchange.com site will offer sellers full e-commerce solutions including the ability to mass upload inventory, list items for sale, run auctions and customize their own payment, shipping and return policies. Exchange.com derives revenues from a fee paid by the sellers and dealers. The company said it plans to expand into similar vertical markets for hard-to-find and collector items in 1999.

Bibliofind, which was founded in 1994 by Michael and Helen Selzer in an attempt to increase sales at their antiquarian bookstore. Now it has an inventory of more than 9 million titles from thousands of dealers worldwide. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, Ralph Terkowitz of the Washington Post Co. was appointed a director and joins current board members Stig Leschly, founder and CEO, and George Conrades, Polaris Venture Partners.