The creator of the failed Southfresh seafood e-marketplace says its sale to supermarket operator Foodstuffs, and rechristening as Freshnet, isn’t the fate he envisaged for the trading system.
But Toby Warren says the $1 million Varenti software bought by Foodstuffs Auckland and Wellington “has gone to a good home”. Neither he nor Foodstuffs Auckland IT manager Mark Baker will say how much was paid for Varenti.
Baker says the software will be implemented alongside an electronic grocery supply system, which is being developed for the two North Island Foodstuffs companies in conjunction with its South Island operation.
“The B2B exchange has been designed around groceries whereas Varenti has been designed for trading,” Baker says. Therefore the two will not be integrated, he says.
Warren says despite Southfresh’s demise, it “wasn’t a hopeless case”, with about 20 suppliers using the system and about 250 buyer users.
One of the suppliers was south Auckland company Oceanic Foods. Oceanic director Mike Laird says he had hoped Sky City might have ridden to Southfresh’s rescue, when Warren decided in August to close it down.
“I was hoping [casino] Sky City would buy it. We are still using it and I’m scared of losing it,” Laird says. Sky City is the bigger of two Oceanic customers buying through Southfresh.
But Baker holds out no hope that Oceanic will be able to continue using the system, saying existing customers will be asked to “look for an alternative”.
Warren says he doesn’t know whether Sky City was ever in the running to buy the marketplace, although in the process of selling Southfresh he talked to a party that didn’t declare its interest.