Ventro(TM) Corporation (Nasdaq: VNTR) and Entangible.com today announced the formation of Amphire Solutions, Inc., a new business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce company designed to streamline the procurement of goods for the $150 billion U.S. food service market.
Amphire has entered into strategic marketing alliances with three leading distributor groups, Foresight Partners, Premier Foodservice Distributors of America and Golbon. Ventro Corporation is a leading builder and operator of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce companies and Entangible.com is an e-commerce provider to the food service industry.
Amphire targets the unique dynamics of the food service industry in which distributors deliver food and supplies to restaurants and other food service operators. The industry is highly fragmented, with thousands of suppliers, distributors and operators nationwide, making it an ideal candidate for the efficiencies of B2B e-commerce. Amphire unites Ventro’s B2B e-commerce technology and business operations infrastructure with Entangible.com’s distributor-based order-entry solution and industry expertise. The company will provide two offerings to food service distributors to deliver seamless end-to-end integration — a sell-side solution connecting distributors with their customers, and a buy-side solution connecting distributors with their suppliers.
Major distributor groups Foresight Partners, Premier Foodservices of America and Golbon bring extensive industry knowledge and relationships to Amphire to rapidly establish this new e-commerce solution with wide industry support. These groups have extensive relationships with their 535 distributor members, providing procurement, marketing and education services, as well as private label product lines. Combined they represent over $25 billion in distributor revenues.
“Amphire delivers on the Ventro promise to bring substantial value to distributors, suppliers and operators by leveraging advanced electronic procurement tools tailored to this industry and tightly integrated into existing internal systems,” comments Michele Norman, interim CEO of Amphire Solutions, Inc. “Ventro takes full ownership for solving supply chain problems, recognizing that while technology is crucial, these solutions also require a high level of service. Ventro provides both an operating and technology platform in order to address all the requirements for a streamlined supply chain, taking full responsibility for the customer experience.”
“Amphire addresses the very specific dynamics of this marketplace by offering an end-to-end solution that improves service and takes cost out of the system by making distributors, operators and suppliers more efficient and accurate,” explains Tom Baldridge, president of Golbon. “Other Internet solutions trying to sell into food service are focused strictly on price, trying to turn the market into an auction-type marketplace where every order is put out to bid. That approach fails to understand the real nature of this industry — service and quality take precedent over price, with guaranteed on-time deliveries and 100% accurate ordering far exceeding pure price considerations. Amphire understands that distinction.”
According to Doug Polk, executive vice president and COO of Premier Foodservice Distributors of America, “The combination of Ventro and Entangible into Amphire presents an excellent opportunity to offer our independent distributor members an exciting, cost effective e-commerce system that satisfies the needs of all of our supply chain partners. Long-term industry growth and profitability are greatly dependent upon enhanced, system-wide productivity increases and corresponding cost reductions, and this relationship is a significant step in the accomplishment of that mandate.”
“Amphire addresses a fragmented market that is perfect for a Ventro solution, creating tremendous value for all participants,” said David Perry, president and CEO of Ventro Corporation. “Operators who buy through Amphire’s distributor-based order-entry application will see considerable time savings, as well as benefits including around-the-clock access, improved service quality and enhanced reporting capabilities. Both distributors and their suppliers will significantly reduce their cost of processing orders while benefiting from enhanced sales and marketing opportunities. Similar to our four prior ventures, Amphire has been launched with a fully-realized business model, proven technology and partners with the market presence to move the solution quickly online. Ventro’s technical platform, experienced IT staff and expertise in developing industry-specific B2B e-commerce solutions helps reduce Amphire’s time-to-market from years to months.”
Upon completion of these transactions, Ventro Corporation will own 49% of Amphire Solutions. Additional equity holders will include major distributor groups as well as the previous shareholders in Entangible.com. Entangible.com will become part of Amphire and the new company will be an independent entity, with its own management team and board of directors. Pierre Samec, chief information officer of Ventro Corporation, and Harry Reifschneider, CEO of Foresight Partners and initial investor in Entangible.com, have already joined the board.
Partnering with industry leaders is a key component to Ventro’s strategy across all of its operating companies, facilitating the rapid achievement of a critical mass of industry participants. Amphire will target additional strategic equity partners to bring the food service supply chain online.
Based in Boise, Idaho, Entangible.com is a web development company focused on providing e-business solutions to vertical distribution markets. Entangible.com’s first e-business solution is e-z-order.com, a web based order entry engine specifically developed for the food service distribution industry.
About Foresight Partners
Foresight Partners was created in 1997 as a strategic alliance between All Kitchens of America, one of the country’s premier foodservice groups, and Federated Group, a force in retail and foodservice private label management, including the Red & White, HyTop and Parade labels. Today it represents $15 billion in annual sales. Foresight furnishes support throughout the distribution chain, from suppliers and manufacturers to distributors to operators and diners, providing buying power, higher margins, market penetration, profitability analysis and segmented marketing programs.
Golbon was formed in 1963 to provide food service distributors premium frozen fruits, vegetables, and potatoes through forward warehousing programs. Golbon has since emerged as a full service, broadline purchasing and marketing group for independent food service distributors. Today it represents 135 member distributors across the U.S.
About Premier Foodservice Distributors of America, Inc.
Premier Foodservice Distributors of America, Inc., formerly Nugget Distributors, Inc., is one of the nation’s oldest and largest independent foodservice distributor purchasing and marketing cooperatives. Founded in 1966, the cooperative has 156 independent distributor shareholder members. Premier has aggregate purchasing power of over $6 billion in the food service industry and provides member procurement, finance, information technology, and marketing support. In addition, the cooperative maintains stewardship of the highly respected Nugget, Nutri-Gold, and Oro Fino foodservice brands.
Ventro Corporation is a pioneer in the new B2B e-commerce economy by building and operating companies that transform the supply chain in businesses around the world. Ventro operating companies allow suppliers, buyers and enterprises to streamline business processes, enhance productivity and reduce costs. Ventro companies offer complete e-commerce solutions consisting of extensive online catalogs, electronic procurement, systems integration to interface with third-party and back-office systems, and comprehensive services and support. Ventro operating companies include Chemdex, Promedix, Broadlane, Industria Solutions, Ventro Europe and now Amphire Solutions.
“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Ventro’s business which are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” that involve risks and uncertainties. These potential risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements and include, without limitation, Ventro’s ability to prove its business model and gain operating efficiencies, the effects of government regulation, and its dependence on a limited number of enterprise customers. These and other risk factors are described in detail in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.