Knowde, a B2B marketplace connecting thousands of buyers and sellers in markets ranging from agricultural to automotive products, has been diversifying its business in recent months. To help push ahead even more, last week it announced another $72 million in venture funding.

Knowde, a B2B marketplace for the chemicals industry, expanded its tentacles with the launch of a new marketplace for automotive plastics materials. In addition, Knowde said last week that it had received $72 million in new venture funding.

The chemical industry is moving faster than ever towards digital transformation.
Ali Amin-Javaheri, CEO
Knowde
AliAmin-Javaheri-Knowde

Ali Amin-Javaheri, CEO, Knowde

The new marketplace for the automotive industry allows engineers, specifiers, converters, compounders and buyers to search, filter, collaborate, request samples and quotes and purchase plastics and elastomers from hundreds of manufacturers such as DuPont, Mitsubishi Chemical, Braskem, AdvanSix, and DSM Engineering Materials.

Buyers can find an array of plastics on the marketplace including polyamides, high-performance thermoplastics, polyolefins, polyacetals, styrenics and polycarbonates. Automotive elastomers—including silicone elastomers, thermoplastic urethanes, styrenic thermoplastic elastomers (TPE-S), thermoplastic polyester elastomers, fluoroelastomers and thermoplastic vulcanizates—are also available.

Buyers can search for products by chemistry, application, function, and technical properties, as well as other criteria. The KnowdeConcierge provides expert advice and insight on all manufacturer, brand and product pages, and ensures prompt replies to inquiries. Access to the KnowdeConceirge is free for research and development and procurement professionals.

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“Knowde offers research and development professionals and design engineers the ability to find what they need fast and get to market faster, whether they’re producing original equipment or after-market parts,” says Dan Haas, chief commercial officer for Knowde. “Plastics and elastomers make a major contribution to the sustainability goals of the automotive industry by enabling light-weighting that leads to fuel economy gains. These materials also help manufacturers continue to make improvements in the structure, performance and safety of automobiles.”

In May, Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. launched a storefront on Knowde. The new site allows buyers and research and development professionals to access to eight core Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation brands and 33 of the company’s products utilized in the automotive and transportation, adhesives and sealants, electric and electrical, and paints and coatings industries.

“At Mitsubishi Chemical, we make an extra effort to be easily accessible and understandable to our customers, enabling us to better service our customers with easy access to the wide Mitsubishi Chemical product portfolio,” says Dick Hoogerdijk, director of marketing and new business development. “With Knowde, we are able to provide a cutting-edge on-line buying experience that today’s customers are seeking.”

Prior to the launch of Mitsubishi’s storefront, Knowde introduced several features to enhance the purchasing experience for buyers. The first is a MegaMenu that provides an overview of trends, technologies, and concepts for each of the markets that Knowde serves. Knowde also introduced enhanced technical datasheets. Buyer can access the data sheets via a link on the marketplace. In addition, buyers can use the link to ask sellers technical product questions, talk to sales representatives and inquire about pricing.

Other enhancements include the ability to personalize and save searches for products relevant to the buyer’s interests, collaboration tools that facilitate information-sharing among buyers from the same company, and storefronts that give buyers access to every product in a supplier’s catalog in fewer clicks.

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“The industry is moving faster than ever towards digital transformation, and a storefront on Knowde offers companies like Mitsubishi Chemical all the technology required to move online quickly,” says Knowde co-founder and CEO Ali Amin-Javaheri.

Earlier in May, Knowde and Lonza Specialty Ingredients renewed their agreement to market Lonza products on the Knowde marketplace. Lonza’s storefront includes solutions for hygiene, consumer care preservation, and paint and coatings as part of its Microbial Control Solutions business.

“Innovation and speed-to-market are key differentiators in the industries we serve, making it more important than ever for us to deliver an excellent online buying experience for our customers,” says David Ashton, vice president, global head of marketing, Microbial Control Solutions, LSI. “With Knowde, our customers can find our products quickly, access documents, get answers to technical questions and request quotes, all within a few clicks.”

Buyers conduct 295,000 searches and request about 6,000 samples and 1,200 quotes on Knowde each month. On average, the marketplace generates one qualified sales lead every five minutes, Knowde says.

The $72 million in funding, which was led by Coatue Ventures, brings Knowde’s total funding to date to about $90 million, Amin-Javaheri says.

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“Digital marketplaces have the power to transform industries,” said Kris Fredrickson, Managing Partner at Coatue. “We’re excited to partner with Knowde because we believe in the company’s vision to re-shape the way marketing and sales are done in one of the largest industries in the world.”

Also contributing to the latest funding round were Refactor Capital, Bee Partners, Cantos Ventures, Sound Ventures, TQ Ventures, K5 Global, and Mantis VC in partnership with The Chainsmokers.

Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.  

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