Autodesk Launches Free B2B Construction Web Site

Autodesk, Inc., a maker of software for architects, is targeting the B2B construction industry with the launch of its new Web site.

The new site, buzzsaw.com, makes it possible for construction groups to share specification sheets and blueprints on a building, allowing them to submit and review ongoing bids.

Additionally, the site will provide updated industry news and a directory of architects, general contractors and subcontractors.

“A tremendous market opportunity exists in providing the building design and construction industry with a complete online solution to enable greater cost savings and productivity,” said buzz.com chief executive Carl Bass.

Revenue From Advertising

Most of the services available on buzzsaw.com will be free. The company plans to generate revenue from selling ads to building suppliers in return for a percentage of their sales made on the site.

Since the building design and construction industries generate about $672 billion (US$) each year in just the U.S., industry observers feel that such a business to business site could become profitable quickly.

Nonetheless, buzzsaw.com has stiff competition. Sites such as Bluelineonline.com and Bidcom.com are already strongly targeting this industry niche. However, both of these sites charge for their services.

Another hurdle facing buzzsaw.com, some analysts point out, is the fact that the construction industry is generally very close knit and slow to do business outside certain established networks. Nevertheless, Autodesk said such companies as The Walt Disney Company, Degenkolb Engineers and DPR Construction are already using the site.

$15 Million Boost

Meanwhile, Crosspoint Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley venture-capital firm, has just pumped $15 million into the San Francisco, California-based buzzsaw.com. Buzzsaw has been set up as a separate company from Autodesk.

About Autodesk

One of the world’s largest development software companies, Autodesk (Nasdaq: ADSK) is a supplier of computer-aided design (CAD) automation software. The company’s products are available in about 20 languages.

Architects and mechanical engineers use its core product AutoCAD in designing, drafting and mapping their projects. The company also develops design software for multimedia and for home improvement and software and systems for visual effects and editing. About 45 percent of Autodesk’s sales are outside North America.

Based in San Rafael, California, Autodesk employs about 2,712 workers. In its fiscal year ending January 1999, the company earned $90 million on revenue of $740 million.

On Friday, Autodesk stock closed at 18 , up 7/8. Its 52-week high is 49 7/16, and its low is 17.

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