Coming out stealth mode after 2.5 years of development the Amsterdam-based online trading platform WeMarket launches today. The startup aims to bring the entire global distribution chain of physical goods together in an online B2B marketplace to enable more effective and efficient trade. Small businesses as well as large global brands can trade with distributors, wholesalers, retailers and stocklot traders on the platform.
For many businesses whether it’s a consumer electronics company or a fashion brand overstock is a real pain point: hundreds or thousands of items are sold for half of the price or less every year. For these businesses it’s difficult to know real-time where there is a demand for their products in national and international markets. Some are condemned to a few stocklot traders that can handle large volumes and as a result have strong bargaining power.
Finding the right business partners to buy or sell, conduct credit analysis and realize international clearance are issues that make it even more difficult to trade. WeMarket claims to eliminate these barriers by providing an unified platform where business can trade almost seamlessly. “Most suppliers have their own B2B environment. The problem for the buyer is that you have to log into all these different systems. At WeMarket it’s one search query”, says Gijs van den Broek, chief commercial officer of WeMarket in an interview with StartupJuncture. “You can see if the goods you’re looking for are available whether it’s next year’s product line-up, overstock, refurbished products or returned merchandise and find immediately the right partner to trade with.”
WeMarket partners with service providers Dun & Bradstreet, IDchecker, PayPal, UPS, SGS, Bird & Bird to offer credit and identity check, payment services, clearance, quality inspection and commercial contracts if needed.
The B2B online marketplace is set apart by its intelligent trading backbone WeMarket Karma. WeMarket Karma is in essence an algorithm that analyses static as well as dynamic information such as credit ratings, employee headcount, response rate to inquiries from other members, how often a company trades via the platform and how important it’s considered by other members of the WeMarket community. “With WeMarket Karma we really want to show you one figure that expresses if you should do a deal with another member”, says Van den Broek. Because ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behavior all add up to the ‘Karma’ of a company the feature provides a self-enforcing mechanism for good business behavior. Van den Broek: “If a stocklot trader doesn’t adhere to a brand’s restrictions its ‘Karma’ will go down.”
WeMarket spoke to more than 100 local and global brands about its platform and the response was positive ‘across the board’ says Van den Broek. The marketplace starts with over 25 supplying clients. Increasing this number it expects to service approximately $500 million in trade by mid-2016 via its platform. The startup is confident to grow exponentially and hit the 1 million user mark in a couple of years.
Current clients or ‘members’ as the company calls them, include companies from a wide variety of sectors, including telecom (T-Mobile), fashion (gsus, Gaastra) and consumer electronics (Philips). Clients pay an annual subscription fee of $500 per user for the information offered on the platform and can decide to close a deal outside the platform. “You don’t have to show the price of your products because we don’t take a cut on the deals made. You can contact the supplier or buyer and close the deal the way you see fit”, says Patrick Steenkist, chief financial officer of WeMarket.
WeMarket is founded by Dutch serial entrepreneur Bas Beerens. It employs currently a team of 20, including a management team of five individuals among which Van den Broek and Steenkist. Beerens previously founded Oy Communications and WeTransfer that recently raised $25 million at a valuation between $100 million and $200 million. Interestingly WeMarket doesn’t have a CEO yet. Beerens serves as the founder or ‘coach’ guiding the management team on design, simplicity and being smart, Van den Broek explains. Beerens is currently the sole investor of WeMarket.
Photo Credit: mat’s eye