German media giant Bertelsmann and US-based i-Escrow have launched a pan-European secure payment and settlement joint venture company in the UK and Germany.
The new venture, i-EscrowEurope, has already signed its first client through an agreement with eBay UK to provide the online community of auction users with secure financial settlement and logistics services.
The contract with eBay is the first major milestone for the venture between Bertelsmann Financial Services and i-Escrow, and comes amid growing demand in Europe among business-to-business exchanges and consumer auctions for financial and logistics services that curb risk and facilitate settlement of cross-border transactions. Analysts expect B2B e-commerce in Western Europe to reach $785 billion - 35 percent of the global total - by 2004.
Michael Menke, CEO of i-EscrowEurope, comments: "We're optimistic that our approach to mitigating risk in online commerce will catch on quite readily with online marketplaces throughout Europe."