NEW YORK, March 23 /PRNewswire/ — Pet Assure Inc., the nation’s premier pet health care organization and Cornerstone Internet Solutions (Nasdaq: CNRS), a provider of comprehensive business-to-business (B2B) services and solutions, today announced the launch of VETgalaxy.com, a B2B e-commerce marketplace targeting the $12 billion veterinary service industry.
Under this agreement, Pet Assure, along with Cornerstone’s subsidiaries B2Bgalaxy.com and USWeb/CKS Cornerstone, will function as operational, strategic and equity partners in VETgalaxy.com.
VETgalaxy.com is a B2B e-commerce marketplace, linking buyers and sellers in the veterinary industry through a competitive on-line exchange. At the core of VETgalaxy.com is the PowerPurchasing system, made up of a suite of PowerProducts, which are licensed from Cornerstone’s subsidiary, B2Bgalaxy.com. This proprietary technology provides veterinarians with a Web-based, free-market bidding environment to buy goods and services from distributors and manufacturers. The exchange offered by VETgalaxy.com enables veterinarians to post a customized inventory list online and requires suppliers to continually submit their latest product prices. Purchase orders are generated based upon best price and availability from veterinarian- selected vendors. The automated price-comparison process assures best pricing, driving down the cost of goods to veterinarians by as much as 20 percent, while at the same time significantly reducing the time traditionally devoted by veterinarians to the manual comparative price shopping process.
The end result is increased profits for veterinary practices.
“Our mission at VETgalaxy.com is to create a place on the Internet where veterinarians can come together and find applications and solutions that are designed to make their businesses more successful and profitable,” said Jay Bloom, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of VETgalaxy.com and Founder of Pet Assure. “B2Bgalaxy.com creates industry-specific B2B marketplaces, linking buyers and sellers through competitive on-line exchanges that focus on improving profitability. Our relationship with B2Bgalaxy.com provides us with the opportunity to offer proven e-commerce technology to veterinarians that is
tailored specifically to their requirements.”
“We look to partner with premier brands that would be complementary to our technical expertise in the B2B space and facilitate our entrance into a broad range of vertical markets,” said Ed Schroeder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone and B2Bgalaxy.com. “With its deep vertical expertise and proven track record, Pet Assure certainly fits that bill. We believe that this partnership will greatly benefit the veterinary industry by helping veterinarians to improve their bottom-line, while enabling distributors and manufacturers to lower their cost of sales and gain new accounts.”
VETgalaxy.com’s Web site is to be launched in a pilot program in
mid-April. The site will be fully functional at that time, but confined to 30 veterinary practices until the completion of the pilot in August 2000 when VETgalaxy.com anticipates a national roll-out to the veterinary marketplace.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the size of the veterinary market is approximately $12 billion annually, with roughly 50,000 veterinarians providing service at 25,000 private practices nationally. It is estimated that each veterinary practice purchases an average of $150,000 worth of supplies annually.
VETgalaxy.com will operate as an independent company. Pet Assure will own a majority of VETgalaxy.com and provide the management, industry access and infrastructure for the new entity. B2Bgalaxy.com will provide the technology and support for the B2B marketplace and USWeb/CKS Cornerstone will support the development of additional application services. Each will own a minority interest in the new venture. VETgalaxy.com will be responsible for all sales and marketing efforts.
In addition to Jay Bloom, VETgalaxy.com will be managed by an experienced management team, including
– Michael J. Bachich, currently Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of Pet Assure, will assume the same responsibilities for VETgalaxy.com. Prior to joining Pet Assure, Mike had 15 years experience in health care with subsidiaries of Corning, Inc. and its predecessor entities, Corning Life Sciences Inc., Quest Diagnostics Inc. and Unilab Corp. He held a succession of positions including Chief Information Officer, Senior VP of Finance and Chief Financial Officer. Mike began his career with Arthur Andersen & Company, where he was a Certified Public Accountant. He received his Masters in Business
Administration from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management in 1979 and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Cornell University in 1978.
– Robert W. Gardner, Jr., currently Chief Information Officer of Pet Assure, will assume similar responsibilities as Chief Technology Officer for VETgalaxy.com. Robert has more than ten years experience in information technology, including senior positions at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corporation, where he was responsible for the design, development, implementation and maintenance of trading systems. Robert received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from Fordham University.
– Ron Krakower, currently Senior Vice-President of Network Development at Pet Assure, will assume the responsibilities of Product Director for VETgalaxy.com. Since joining Pet Assure in 1997, Ron has been leading the development of the company’s national network, now representing more than 2,000 participating veterinarians in 44 states. Ron received his Masters in Business Administration in Finance from George Washington University and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing from McGill University.
ABOUT PET ASSURE INC.
Pet Assure, Inc., headquartered in Dover, New Jersey, is the nation’s premier pet health care organization with more than 2,000 participating veterinarians in 44 states. Founded in 1996 by Jay Bloom and Carolyn Farkas, the company has transformed the pet industry by connecting consumers with independent veterinarians to increase access to quality veterinary care at reduced costs.
Pet Assure markets and sells memberships in its program on a national basis through numerous channels of distribution. These include: large group and membership organizations such as HMOs, unions, clubs, associations and credit card companies; agreements with larger regional and national corporations where Pet Assure memberships are made available as an employee benefit; and wholesale agreements with retail merchants.
ABOUT CORNERSTONE INTERNET SOLUTIONS
Cornerstone Internet Solutions operates two subsidiaries, USWeb/CKS Cornerstone and B2Bgalaxy.com, which are in separate Internet businesses.
USWeb/CKS Cornerstone is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cornerstone Internet Solutions Inc. and an independent affiliate of USWeb/CKS Corporation. USWeb/CKS Cornerstone is a full-service Internet consulting firm that uses a combination of strategic planning, technology and creative expertise to provide clients with successful solutions.
The B2Bgalaxy.com subsidiary creates industry-specific
business-to-business e-commerce marketplaces that link buyers and sellers through competitive on-line exchanges and focuses on improving member profitability.
FOODgalaxy.com enables restaurants and other food service establishments to post a customized inventory list online and requires suppliers to continually submit their latest product bids. This competitive process drives down the cost of goods to buyers by as much as 20 percent and significantly reduces the time traditionally devoted to the comparative price shopping process. Additional functionality is available to distributors, allowing them to reduce their cost of customer acquisition and their cost of conducting business through the power of the Internet.
Cornerstone expects to launch a series of marketplaces over the next few years through its B2Bgalaxy.com unit. New marketplaces will be industry-specific, link buyers directly with suppliers and manufacturers and utilize B2Bgalaxy.com’s PowerProduct suite of e-procurement application services.
USWeb/CKS and the USWeb/CKS logo are trademarks of USWeb/CKS Corporation.
Some paragraphs of this news release, particularly those describing Cornerstone’s, FOODgalaxy.com’s and B2Bgalaxy.com’s future business prospects, contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of
factors, including difficulties in implementing desired features, delays in completing the B2Bgalaxy and various industry specific web sites, including FOODgalaxy.com, technical challenges, cost overruns, changes in design, competition, and so on, any of which could have an adverse effect on the Company and B2Bgalaxy.com and its communities, including FOODgalaxy.com.
Factors such as these could have an adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations. In light of significant uncertainties inherent in forward-looking statements included herein, the inclusion of such information should not be regarded as a representation by the Company or any other person that the objectives and plans of the Company will be achieved.
/CONTACT: Ken Gruber of Cornerstone Internet Solutions, 973-503-5625, [email protected]; or Media & Investor Relations – Jerry Hirsh of Pet Assure, Inc.- VETgalaxy.com, 973-537-9889, ext. 224, [email protected]/ (CNRS)