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Tuesday, 4 April, 2000, 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK
Mondus storms b2b market
Mondus:

By BBC News Online's Iain Rodger

The business-to-business (b2b) market has been identified as where the real money is to be made in e-commerce right now.

While online retailing to the consumer has been generating much publicity, it is buying and selling online between companies that has really taken off.


Mondus chief executive Rouzbeh Pirouz
This is being driven mainly by cost savings on the one hand, and potential for growth on the other.

Forrester Research has estimated that within two years, b2b e-commerce will total 10 times the consumer market.

With this very much in mind, a couple of Oxford graduates set up Mondus last year, with venture capital backing from 3i, Eden Capital and Zouk Ventures.

Mondus describes itself as the "first global online business-to-business marketplace designed exclusively to meet the procurement needs of small and medium-sized businesses [SMEs]."

It aims to bring buyers and sellers together in a way that generates efficiencies all round.

How it works

Essentially, what happens is buyers state on the Mondus website what they want and suppliers can bid for the order by providing a quote.

Mondus charges a commission of between 0.5% and 5% of the final transaction fee, and every bid registered costs the supplier 1.

Suppliers potentially gain through exposure to previously inaccessible markets without the costs of creating and maintaining their own dedicated website.

Buyers potentially benefit from low-cost services obtained without the time involved in identifying suppliers and exploring bids.

Rhodes scholars Rouzbeh Pirouz and Alexander Straub set up the company with 7.6m ($12m) from their backers.

Now boasting offices in the UK, US, Germany and France, and a staff of more than 110 worldwide, the firm is already being seen as one of the largest internet start-ups in Europe.

It is planning to float "at the end of this year", and an initial valuation of possibly as much as 760m ($1.2bn) has been quoted.

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