As evidence that e-commerce has come to even the most old-fashioned of trading industries, Seattle-Washington-based Fishmonger.com launched a business-to-business (B2B) portal for the $352 billion (US$) global seafood industry today.
Fishmonger.com includes in-depth industry news, daily market reports and hourly updates on weather statistics. The company said it plans to introduce its business platform at the upcoming International Boston Seafood Show in March.
That platform will include multi-auction online trading and B2B goods and services, the company said.
Fishmonger.com said it is attracting a lot of attention with its planned platform. “Our site will quickly change the way people do business in this industry by taking away the mystery and the uncertainty,” said Fishmonger.com Chief Marketing Officer Ken Wheeler.
Wheeler is referring to the fragmentation in the industry and the myriad of factors that can cause the prices of different species of fish to fluctuate at a moment’s notice.
On the Other Coast
Portland, Maine-based Gofish.com has been trolling the Internet waters a little longer than Fishmonger.com. The company, which was known as Seafax until it changed its name last year, launched its Web site in November.
Like Fishmonger, Gofish is aiming to be a complete marketplace for the industry, starting with industry news, daily market prices, weather and services like credit ratings for buyers and sellers before moving onto auctions later this year. It also intends to offer receivables insurance, factoring services and shipping information later this year.
The company is forecasting revenues of $12 million this year and $150 million by 2005. In December, Gofish hosted transactions totaling $1 million. It has signed up nearly 100 fish dealers for subscriptions that cost between $2,000 and $6,000, depending on how much they utilize the site.
GoFish.com opened an office in Seattle — Fishmonger.com’s backyard — last month. The company said it plans to eventually expand into poultry, beef and perishables like fruits and vegetables. It has raised nearly $10 million from venture capital firms.
Now that they are in place, the trick for both the companies will be to convince the seafood industry that Internet innovation will win out over traditional methods. With fishing fleets on both coasts dwindling and government-imposed restrictions cutting back on catch limits, the industry might just opt to take the new road.