Eircom is to invest in a start-up e-business company, OneMade.com. The company, which is based in the US but which has major plans for expansion in Ireland and the UK, is focused on the rapidly expanding arts and crafts market.
Eircom, which is based in Boston, has a staff of sixteen and is due to launch in the US in May of this year, and in Ireland and the UK in May 2001.
As a result of its investment eircom will hold a 20 per cent stake in the US operation and a 50 per cent stake in the planned Irish and UK businesses. Shareholders in OneMade include Jack McClaine, formerly of Excel Communications. The company is advised by, among others Margaret Whitman CEO of Ebay and Kathy Ryan, vice-president of AOL.
OneMade could become a honeypot for anyone interested in art and crafts internationally, unlike anything that exists on or off the web, with captivating content, and one-stop shopping available to millions of artists, retailers, wholesalers and consumers worldwide.
The company has developed a web-based community in which art and craft buyers and sellers are brought together in an entertaining marketplace to trade hand-made art and craft items. Sellers list their items for sale; buyers can bid in auction or buy at a fixed price, browsing through lists of items in a simple, topically-arranged online service – available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Liavan Mallin, the CEO of OneMade, was founder and CEO of Celtic Hampers Ltd., a Irish mail order company which was acquired by Great Universal Stores. “We see eircom as a great strategic partner and are pleased to have received this financing. We look forward to working with the team at eircom in the development of OneMade,” he said.
The group chief executive of eircom, Alfie Kane, added: “This latest e-business investment is a further building block in the development of our multimedia and e-business. The business concept underpinning OneMade has tremendous growth potential. We expect OneMade to become the marketplace for arts and crafts in our domestic and extended home market.”