This time, a young software company decided not to market its technology to larger businesses that would, in turn, act as a reseller. This time, Epicentric Inc. is getting a piece of the action.
The company has joined forces with Altra Energy Technologies, a leading online energy marketplace that conducted $15 billion in transactions during the first three quarters of this year, to form a subsidiary that will use Epicentric technology to let energy companies set up their own privately branded portals.
Linking with Altra, and thereby gaining access to its contacts and pursuing an indirect sales channel, was key for a young company like Epicentric, says Kathleen Hayes, VP of E-business development for the company, which designs software for E-commerce portal networks that let users integrate content and customize the look of the pages. "As a startup company, it's all about how quickly and rapidly you can expand your footprint. If your only distribution model is selling directly, you're not going to scale fast enough to be considered a real player."
Altra's E-Business Solutions subsidiary, a joint alliance between the two companies, will develop and market the Altra Energy Portal, a framework that will integrate pre-transaction decision-support tools, Altra's energy-trading platform, and post-transaction applications and resources. Traders will receive real-time information about prices, news, energy consumption, and weather reports. In turn, companies may use the portal to set up private sites for their own customers and employees. The first customer for the subsidiary is OneOK Inc., a natural-gas distribution company serving nearly 1.4 million customers in Kansas and Oklahoma.
Epicentric will provide a quarter of the 20 to 25 employees of the new portal. The remaining employees will come from Altra. The subsidiary will be led by Ahmad Atwan, VP of E-business solutions for Altra.
Next up for Epicentric and its vertical marketing strategy, Hayes says, is the financial services industry.