Hubspan is in Suppliers' Corner
Hubspan Inc. offers a hosted solution for mid market suppliers who want
to participate in marketplace initiatives that are operated by or for
their buyers. Hubspan CEO Rick Luebbe believes that the vast majority
of today's marketplace solutions neglect the specific needs of suppliers.
Suppliers are usually "enlisted" by large companies to join a new exchange
or trading hub but are offered no assistance in connecting to it beyond
the specification for an interface they must scramble to build. Many suppliers
consider participating in B2B marketplaces as a requirement for survival
in an extremely competitive environment, but find that joining even one
marketplace, let alone many, to be a difficult and expensive process.
in Seattle, Washington, Hubspan thinks it has found the answer to suppliers'
problems. Its marketplace connectivity software offers access to any e-procurement
system via real-time interfaces that support the gamut of protocols including
cXML, EDI, and RosettaNet. Hubspan provides a secure, scalable and reliable
service through its ASP partner Exodus. Suppliers also benefit from a
platform that allows them to deliver product catalogs, price and availability,
invoices, and advanced shipping notification to buyers on an exchange.
The hosting model should be especially attractive to mid market suppliers
as it allows them to participate in exchanges without costly and time-consuming
hardware and software installations.
Vendors of platforms that enable B2B marketplaces seem to proliferate
as rapidly as the marketplaces themselves. It is unclear how many vendors
will survive the shrinking B2B market intact and avoid either bankruptcy
or consolidation. Hubspan may well be one of those that survive the shakeout.
Although it is keeping a low profile prior to an official launch in January,
it has secured early stage funding from high profile backers Andersen
Consulting Ventures and Seapoint Ventures. In addition to providing financial
support, Andersen can be a lucrative indirect channel for Hubspan, which
can supply next generation marketplace connectivity for Andersen's B2B
from the implied vote of confidence and potential revenues represented
by its backers, Hubspan also boasts a sound value proposition for an underserved
market - those mid market companies that face extinction unless they can
quickly transform their business processes and technical infrastructure
to connect to B2B marketplaces. Hubspan supplies the infrastructure for
partners like Andersen Consulting and other smaller systems integration
firms that can perform the business process reengineering for mid market
combination of Hubspan's technology and Andersen's consulting power has
huge potential, but much work remains. The company is concluding the beta
phase of its solutions and plans to make them generally available by the
end of January 2001. The novelty of the solution and company, not to mention
the security issues surrounding the ASP delivery model, may initially
give suppliers pause. With a hand from Andersen and its hassle-free subscription
model, Hubspan should get beyond this barrier and start growing significantly
by the end of 2Q01. Hubspan plans to use direct sales for signing initial
customers and then rely more heavily on indirect channels like Andersen
and future alliances with third party software vendors.
Mid market suppliers in any industry segment would need to look hard to
find another company with a stronger value proposition than Hubspan. Hubspan
plans to cast a wide net in its initial marketing push and will go after
those vertical markets that respond with the most enthusiasm. Consumer
goods, electronics and retail industries are promising candidates, and
suppliers who have been asked to participate in buyer marketplaces should
place Hubspan at the top of their list of candidates in selections.