Citigroup, Enron, i2 Technologies, S1 Corporation and Wells Fargo have launched a joint venture company to streamline payments for business-to-business e-commerce.
The new company, FinancialSettlementMatrix.com, will aim to connect buyers and sellers in e-marketplaces with payment processing, credit and other services through multiple participating banks and financial services companies.
B2B e-marketplaces enable companies to procure general office and business supplies as well as direct goods and services in industries ranging from automobile and aircraft manufacturing to energy, chemicals and agriculture. FinancialSettlementMatrix.com intends to offer an open payments system to these e-marketplaces that will allow buyers and sellers to access services provided by any of the participating banks or financial services companies.
Forrester Research expects the transaction volume in B2B e-marketplaces will grow 70-fold by 2001 and will account for 53% of the $2.7 trillion that will be spent in B2B e-commerce by 2004.
The new company will be designed to reduce the financial risk of B2B e-commerce and address a significant obstacle to the growth of online exchange volume - the ability to safely make payments online and provide access to a wide range of payment options including credit solutions.
"So far, various companies have separately offered individual financial services such as sourcing credit, escrow and payments authentication and processing," says Sanjiv Sidhu, i2 chairman and chief executive officer. "But no one has offered them all together in a multi-bank model. The lack of a complete financial services solution for e-marketplaces has been a major inefficiency for B2B e-commerce and a bottleneck for these e-marketplaces, restricting their transaction volume. FinancialSettlementMatrix.com will offer a full package of financial services in an open system that can be seamlessly integrated into any e-marketplace."
Enron will provide the Enron Intelligent Network, a global broadband network which bypasses the congestion of the Internet, as a delivery platform for FinancialSettlementMatrix.com. All services will be integrated with i2's TradeMatrix e-business solution.
The system will enable financial institutions to provide financing and process transactions for companies via trusted participant qualification, identification and selling, whether they have an existing relationship with each other or not. Other planned capabilities include letter-of-credit management, escrow handling, Electronic Data Interchange interfaces and electronic funds transfer support, and short-term trade finance.