NEW ORLEANS — PolySort Inc., a pioneer among plastics companies on the Internet, is jumping into electronic commerce through a merger with a new Web marketplace for plastic resins. PolySort announced Feb. 22 that it merged with Polymer Site.com, a Cleveland-based company that is developing a Web site devoted to trading resins and compounds.
Terms were not disclosed. PolymerSite.com's eight employees, including some contract workers, will relocate to PolySort's Akron, Ohio, headquarters.
Angela Charles, PolySort managing director, described the addition of e-commerce as the next logical step for the 5-year-old company.
"Plastics processors have been moving in what I call baby steps," Charles said. "First was getting e-mail. Second was a Web site. Now, they want to buy resins online."
She was interviewed at Plastics News' E-Business Strategies & Opportunities briefing, held Feb. 22-23 in New Orleans.
PolymerSite.com's Web site has been under development for about a year, and is not live yet — the beta version will start by mid-March, said Matthew P. Wilkes Sr., PolymerSite.com sales director.
PolymerSite.com started with financing from Ohio Innovation Fund, a Cleveland-based venture capital firm that provides seed money for Internet, software, biomedical and other technology firms. OIF and PolySort will share ownership of the merged companies, said Timothy G. Biro, OIF managing partner.
Initially the merged companies will maintain both the PolySort and PolymerSite.com Web sites, but over the long term the sites will be integrated and rebranded, Charles said.
Charles expects distributors, brokers, resin suppliers, compounders and processors to use the new site. To participate, all companies will have to register, which is free. That sets in motion a qualification process, including a credit check, which Biro said will take less than four days.
Buyers and sellers will specify the properties of the material they are trying to buy or sell, which includes melt index, notched Izod impact strength, color, fillers, end-use applications and special instructions.
Negotiations will be handled anonymously until just before a deal is final. However, companies will have the ability to exclude specific firms from a list of potential participants in each deal.
Another feature of the site will be an e-mail alert called My Virtual Agent, which lets participants know when pricing for a specific material falls within a desired range.
The Web site will generate revenue through a fee on each transaction.
PolySort is not alone in pursuing online resin sales. GE Plastics' Polymerland distribution business already generates more than $7 million a week in online resin and compound sales, and a host of independent sites are fighting for a piece of the market.
Charles said PolySort's edge in the market is that it already has 145,000 visitors a month who use the Web site for its search engine, discussion groups and other features. Wilkes agreed that traffic was the main reason for Polymer Site.com to merge with PolySort.
"[Traffic] was the missing piece of what we were doing," he said.