EqualFooting Reaps $8M First Round

Seeking to bring the promise of democratization through the Internet into the small business environment, EqualFooting.com of Dulles, Va., raised $8 million in its first round financing in early December, and the company plans to raise as much as $40 million in a second round by April 2000.

Inspired by the potential to provide small business owners with access to distributors of maintenance, repair and operating supplies that is equal to that of large businesses, EqualFooting intends to become the agent for small businesses through the creation of a network of suppliers and distributors, said Angie Kim, president of EqualFooting.

“The problem [for small businesses] is the daily competition with larger companies that have dedicated purchasing managers,” Kim said. “Small businesses don’t have clout, so they are stuck buying from high-priced suppliers.”

The company will receive a 5% commission from suppliers on any transactions that close on the site.

Proceeds from the round that was just completed will target expanded marketing of the company’s service and preparations for a second site release, which Kim said is scheduled for late in the first quarter or early in second quarter. She added that proceeds from the next round likely would serve as working capital for a heavier marketing blitz.

EqualFooting received the first round funding from New Enterprise Associates, FBR Technology Venture Partners, Draper Richards and former Federal Communications Commission chairman Reed Hundt.

In addition to the commission, EqualFooting currently has just one other revenue streamco-marketing relationships with other small business service companies. Kim mentioned two in particular, Bank One for credit cards and ADP for payroll processing, that she feels will yield increased loyalty to the site through these relationships, while also gleaning income through revenue share programs.

Following the transaction, Suzanne King, a partner in NEA’s Reston, Va., office and Gene Reichers of FBR joined the EqualFooting board of directors.