by Laura Lorek, Inter@ctive Week
23 May 2000 - In another case of a consumer web site morphing into a business-to-business company, eOrbis.com has launched a site aimed at helping businesses auction items to other businesses.
The San Antonio-based company has dubbed its auction site, eOrbisB2B.com. The bilingual site is aimed at businesses in the United States and Latin America, said James Strader, the company's 31-year-old founder and CEO.
The site will focus on vertical markets exchanges in the automotive, textile and chemical industries initially and plans to add other markets in the future.
Strader, a chiropractor, has founded several health-related businesses in San Antonio including the Back and Joint Institutes of Texas, Physician Management, and Vitamin Concepts, a retail nutritional center. He is also the founder and owner of Practice Associates, a marketing and telemarketing company for his medical companies.
"I'm trained as a doctor but I'm an entrepreneur at heart," Strader said. "I saw an opportunity in this area."
Eorbis.com, which employs 31 people, plans to triple in size by the end of the year and expects to become a publicly traded company sometime next year. The company launched its consumer Web site just seven months ago.
It offers auctions in both English and Spanish for items such as sports memorabilia, art, automobiles, toys, videos, books and more. The new eOrbisB2B site is aimed at creating a border free community where businesses can auction a variety of goods from excess inventory to machines and plant equipment.
Despite some turmoil in the economies of Latin American countries, Internet growth in the region is poised to grow substantially this year. Today, only about 8.5 million people in Latin America use the Internet, but that's expected to grow 60 percent this year and about 43 percent annually thereafter with 29.4 million the Latin American marketplace is the fastest growing Internet marketplace in the world.
The estimates for how big the growth in the Latin business to business or B2B market vary with IDC forecasting it to hit US$8.4 billion by 2003 and a more conservative Morgan Stanley Dean Witter estimate of US$5.5 billion in 2003.