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Venture Capital News: Tradesparq Raises $500K

HONG KONG, CHINA, Emerging leader in the global online procurement market, today announced that it has raised $500K in seed funding from Siemer Ventures.
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Tradesparq, an emerging leader in the global online procurement market, today announced that it has raised $500K in seed funding from Siemer Ventures and other institutional and angel investors in the US and across Asia. Tradesparq will use the funding to expand the reach and capabilities of its social sourcing platform, an innovative tool that uses social search to let buyers quickly narrow down thousands of potential Chinese manufacturing partners to a handful of qualified suppliers.

Tradesparq addresses the most critical problems currently affecting the online supplier verification process. Unlike traditional B2B trade directory sites like, Tradesparq provides a platform that enables buyers to filter their supplier search results through their online networks and rank them accordingly. Through this new application of social search, buyers are able to quickly verify potential suppliers and reduce risk of importing products not meeting required standards.

"Tradesparq's platform, which already includes more than 700,000 products and nearly 100,000 suppliers, uses proprietary search engine technology to match results from product searches to contacts within buyers' networks, down to second-level connections," said Brian Hager, co-founder of Tradesparq. "This allows purchasing organizations to save time and increase accountability when checking the background of a supplier."

Supplier verification, especially in China - where the manufacturing market was valued at nearly $1.9 trillion last year, representing nearly 20% of the global total - continues to be a problem plaguing large and small importers alike. By combining traditional product and category directory architecture with cutting-edge social networking and relationship tools similar to those found on LinkedIn, Tradesparq is providing a new avenue for social verification, providing transparency not found with traditional supplier rankings based on paid advertising.

While Tradesparq's supplier network is subject to increased scrutiny from prospective importers, it also benefits from more qualified inquiries from buyers, who have used their relationships to initiate the verification process. In addition, by using a freemium model, Tradesparq provides exposure for suppliers at a fraction of the cost of directory sites, which typically charge suppliers a minimum annual fee of $5,000 to list, with added annual fees for higher search ranking.

Tradesparq has a total of 11 investors including four institutional investors, three of which have backgrounds in manufacturing. In 2011, more than 1.2 million product inquiries were conducted using Tradesparq. The company is on track to triple that number in 2012.

About Tradesparq utilizes a proprietary, Web 2.0 social networking technology to match volume buyers and manufacturers around the world. Tradesparq is the first B2B website to combine social networking tools with a product directory for global trade, allowing customized search results for each buyer with products ordered by relationship, and providing a more proactive marketing service for suppliers. Its social search-based network allows suppliers and buyers to connect with each other, import contacts, view product details, check references, and send real-time automatic product and service updates. For more information, visit
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