|November 6, 2000|
The spin on startups, Web commerce, E-markets, and Internet strategies
Edited by Brain Dakss (email@example.com)
Taking Some Bite Out Of Dental Visits
Trips to the dentist for uninsured procedures could be a little less painful for users of Wellcredit.com, which bills itself as the first online multilender network for health-care consumer loans. Typically, dentists have worked with just one finance company, whose selected loan options or lending criteria may exclude some patients. But, through partnerships with American General, LendingTree, Monarch Finance, and Patient Financing Services, WellCredit.com will give patients multiple borrowing options, regardless of the type of procedure or credit source.
WellCredit.com CEO Jose Lantigua expects the average loan to be about $5,500--to replace a bridge, for instance--and eventually to drop to about half that as the company expands its focus beyond dental procedures to eye, cosmetic, and other surgeries, and as fees for those procedures fall.
Peer-To-Peer PC Sharing
Web networking company DataSynapse.com wants to rent your computer's idle process-ing time and broadband data connection to run a few thousand extremely complex mathematical calculations. In return, you get a chance to win a Porsche and enter a weekly Palm Pilot giveaway. You also get a rental fee in "flooz," Internet money you can use to buy gifts at Flooz.com or donate to charity.
DataSynapse.com co-founder and CEO Peter Lee says the idea is that his dot-com will rent out your system to its financial services customers.
Calculations that these companies need to perform can take as long as 70 hours if they're done in-house, Lee says. But when they're spread over a few thousand rented computers, they can be completed in as little as a half-hour.
Lee calls the idea peer-to-peer networking over the Internet. If you want to get in on this deal, sign up at DataSynapse.com, download a 1-Mbyte file, and DataSynapse.com taps into your computer when you're not using it.
None of the data or applications on your system will be harmed, Lee says, and privacy is guaranteed. "We'll know zero about what's on your system."
Multiple Marketplace Assurances
Doing business in online marketplaces may soon get a bit less risky. Two new ventures are promising to give marketplace members the lowdown on their trading partners by providing real-time identification, security, and credit checks, as well as transaction insurance guaranteeing payment for purchased goods and services.
Dun & Bradstreet is teaming with insurer American International Group in a joint venture dubbed Avantrust. Not to be outdone, risk-management software developer CertCo says it will integrate credit-insurance company Coface Group's database with CertCo RMX, its business-to-business security software.
"We asked the fundamental questions of what a trading partner would need to know to do business online," says Gretchen Hayes, Avantrust's top executive.
While CertCo's services are embedded in the marketplace infrastructure, the first version of Avantrust's offerings aren't, meaning customers have to visit Avantrust's Web site for verification information.
Available immediately, Avantrust services are priced based on the number of transactions. CertCo's services will be available early next year; pricing is still to be determined.
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