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Ex-Schneider duo create an engineering portal

01 August, 2000

Ex-Schneider duo create an engineering portal

Two former employees of Schneider Electric have set up an Internet business to create Web "portals" for various sectors of the engineering and construction market. John Veale, Schneider`s former commercial director, and Philippe Marc, who handled Schneider`s UK marketing until 1997, have already attracted £500,000 of funding for their company, Arena Internet, and are raising a further £2m. Veale says that Arena is already worth £10m.

One of their first portals, Industry Web News, is aimed at engineers working in industry and offers services such as news reports, on-line purchasing, discussion forums, and data on issues such as standards and safety. The site has been set up in collaboration with BSL and will offer links to BSL`s own site.

Veale describes the site as "the first independent marketplace for the industrial engineering industry". The site will also host customers` Web sites and Arena is offering software to help them build these sites.

Arena has also created portals for the security, and plumbing and heating markets and is planning more, including one for electrical contractors. Veale is targeting a UK market he reckons is worth £60,000m. At the moment, he says, it is "very fragmented".

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