Focused on trading, this San Francisco-based enterprise software company offers a horizontal e-market platform for auctions, negotiated markets and continuous exchanges.

Jeffrey Engelmann

Marketing VP


Climbing Out of the Pit Ever wonder how anything gets traded on the stock exchange floor with all that yelling and screaming? Enterprise software company ePit offers a solution.

EPit, as in the "pit" of a stock exchange, provides a horizontal e-marketplace platform that makes it possible for traders to have the same experience on a virtual plane as they would on a physical one. Overcoming the "physical boundaries" of a controlled environment, like the maximum number of people allowed on an exchange floor, ePits technology allows an unlimited number to participate via the Internet at any time and for any trade. Simultaneously, participants can gain access to information in the trading community, through chat rooms and request-for-information functionality.

"Markets have been around for a long time. … The current generation of markets is physical," says ePit VP of marketing Jeffrey Engelmann. He adds that ePits technology is "enabling traders to go to the next level. Now anyone with access to the Internet can trade."

Scanning the Horizon As opposed to vertical e-marketplaces, like those provided by Lante, ePits horizontal e-marketplace offers a generalized software solution that is customizable to different trading situations, be they auctions, negotiated markets or continuous exchanges. "It doesnt matter if were trading stocks, bonds or corn. To us, its just trading," says Engelmann.

Because it gives those trading more control, that customization doesnt only make sense for the exchange itself but for those using the exchange, as well. "The experts and participants and users are the best people to make those decisions [on how the exchange should run]," adds ePit chairman and founder Richard Friesen, who formerly served as a director of the Pacific Exchange.

But will the horizontal approach to e-marketplaces catch on? "Like a very big boat, Wall Street is not going to turn around overnight," says Friesen. Still, Engelmann says, "All of the existing exchanges—the New York Nasdaq, the London Stock Exchange, etc.—theyre all based on old-generation technology." He adds that everyone is looking for new ways to trade and move into the next generation, without physical boundaries. Only time will tell if the horizontal e-marketplace will sail to victory or fade into the sunset.