27 March 2003 | Robin Parker
Two of the world's biggest water companies have joined forces to launch an online marketplace for the £127 billion global industry.
Thames Water and Ondeo have an equal stake in Aquadia.com, which aims to bring together 150 buyers, suppliers and contractors this year.
Ondeo has already held more than 100 e-auctions on the site, while Thames has hosted two. It is using Aquadia's collaboration tools for a £20 million upgrade to a sewage water treatment works.
Around 35 of Thames and Ondeo's supply chain partners now use the marketplace. A further eight, including four from the UK, have signed up.
Aquadia is based in Amsterdam, with local sales teams in the UK and France.
Frederic Colomina, chief executive of Aquadia, said the marketplace's goal was to create a genuine online community.
"We're driving awareness of e-solutions within this sector and want to become the preferred online destination for buyers and suppliers," he said.
It has a strong emphasis on self-service tools, enabling buyers to host their own auctions and purchase requisitions for free. In addition, suppliers can create and manage catalogues for less than ?2,000 (£1,400).
The "best of breed" services are provided by a range of technology and information partners.
Procuri has supplied its auction platform for the site, which also uses BuildOnline's collaborative software ProjectsOnline, Accenture's consultancy services, and the platform and transaction expertise of Eutilia, the utilities e-marketplace.
Jean-Philippe Massin, chief executive of Eutilia, said the water industry had not taken to the pan-utility marketplace.
"Aquadia will drive two-thirds of our projected growth this year, greatly helping us to expand our technological presence in, and understanding of, the water sector," he said.
Eutilia is adding monthly electricity market reports to its website, as well as an online version of its supplier vetting service, previously conducted on a customer-by-customer basis.