Miami Advice

Boating exchange morphs into technology company

Miami  August 1, 2001  It's not as sexy as cigarette boats, wakeboarders and roaring outboards, but it might be more profitable. Marex is changing its business focus from a pure vertical marketplace for the nautical set to what it calls a significantly expanded technology company providing software products and services. Jonas Grumby never had it so good.*

The company said it currently has a number of expansion initiatives at different stages of finalization, which it says will use Marex's experience in electronic commerce, systems integration and marine-related technology and enable it to expand through a range of industries.

Marex said that a key component of its expansion is its newly developed buyer-supplier e-business integration product, MarConnectGlobal, which allows for procurement from the buyer's legacy purchasing system directly to the supplier's legacy order management system. The product allows buyers to transmit orders automatically to their supplier universe via flat file, electronic data interchange (EDI)  or eXtensible Markup Language (XML), and will also support existing e-mail and/or fax requirements. Among the functions of the product that are scheduled to be added through Q1 2002 are: purchase order and change order transmissions; daily order summary reports; order acknowledgement transmissions; ASN transmissions; invoice transmissions; ad-hoc report generation; and request-for-quote functionality.

The company said that MarConnectGlobal will be marketed on a subscription basis and will not require user training or additional hardware. "We are extremely excited to be able to meet our customers' needs through the launch of our integration tool, MarConnectGlobal," commented Edouard MacGuffie, Marex's vice president of products and services. We believe that MarConnectGlobal will be scalable across a wide range of industries around the globe because of its ease of use, its low cost and its added value."

Marex further said that it is expanding to serve the 20,000 U.S.-based boat yards, boat dealers, marinas, marine retailers and distributors. The company has entered into a letter of intent to acquire a company that provides management information solutions to this large market. "This acquisition, subject to due diligence and the execution of the final contract, will enable us to leverage our existing infrastructure by providing additional sales and implementation capability on a new level," said David Schwedel, president and CEO of Marex. "We believe that we will be able to substantially grow the marketplace for this company's products on both a domestic and international basis, as well as increase the capabilities of its current offerings by augmenting it with our own Marex product line."

Marex is also planning to expand into the telemetry industry on a global basis for the remote tracking of assets. "Marex has been working closely with two important segments of the marine market  boat builders and their respective dealers  to develop a product which benefits consumers, boat dealers, and boat builders. Our plans are to replicate this in other related industries including, but not limited to, the maritime space, where we will be utilizing our strategic relationship partners to help us expand," Schwedel commented.

Schwedel further said that Marex has been working with the U.S. Government (including federal and state authorities) as well as international organizations that govern safety at sea for both pleasure craft and maritime vessels. "Our first priority is to deliver a product which will enhance the boater's experience while also providing the abilities for government authorities to track vessels in distress  or even stolen vessels  on a real-time basis. It will also enable the boat builder and dealer to alert the boat owner to new offers and service reminders for boats, engines and generators, as well as much more."  

* Jonas Grumby was the real name of the Skipper on Gilligan's Island.