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Industry Manufacturing
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Bo Hagler (CEO)
Olivier Gavillot (VP Operations)
Jean Francois Blachon (CTO)
Products Manufacturing Marketplace
Number of employees
80 (2015)
Website is a global online manufacturing marketplace. The company reportedly has more than 200,000 members around the world. Members include buyers, engineers, sourcing professionals, job shops and contract manufacturers. The company headquarters is in Atlanta and the company also has offices in Paris and Shanghai. is privately held company. The company currently employs 80 people worldwide.

History[edit] was founded by Mitch Free in 1999 with the first site transaction taking place on February 14, 2000. Mitch began his career as a machinist and a mechanical engineer. After time spent producing metal stamping dies and plastic injection molds, he moved to reverse engineering and producing aircraft parts at Northwest Airlines in the early 1990s.

An early adopter of CAD/CAM, Free was always looking for ways software technology could improve manufacturing. His first company, 3DATUM [1], produced CNC software applications to automate machine tools. While there, Free recognized a major need in the marketplace. Free’s design customers were asking him if he knew someone who could manufacture what they designed, and his manufacturing customers were asking him if he could introduce them to potential customers who needed something manufactured. After hearing a radio commercial for, Mitch decided to build an online manufacturing marketplace, and was born.

Free bootstrapped the entire venture and gradually acquired and retained customers growing the company to a profitable business. In 2005, accepted an investment from Jeff Bezos of Bezos Expeditions.[1] In June 2006, acquired Geneva based[2] In October 2006, the opened its second largest office in Shanghai.[3] In 2007, Fidelity Ventures invested in the company.[4] Mitch Free still serves as the CEO of the company. Members of Bezos Expeditions and Fidelity Ventures currently sit on the board, and in September 2012, General Wesley Clark[5] joined the board as well. was named by Business 2.0 as one of the 15 companies that will change the world in 2006.[6]

Sourcing Professionals vs. Contract Manufacturers[edit]

Sourcing professionals use for free. Buyers, engineers and purchasing professionals upload their RFQs online and are connected with suppliers that meet their qualifications. “Buyers” have the ability to connect with job shops and contract manufacturers based on geographic location, certifications or capabilities. Buyers can also have job shops and contract manufacturers sign electronic NDA forms so that they can control how, when, where and by whom their drawings and documents are viewed.

Job Shops, machine shops and contract manufacturers pay an annual subscription fee to use Manufacturers have full access to RFQs being sourced by members of the purchasing community, and can search for RFQs based on geography, category, material quantity, part size or a combination of these factors. A profile is created for the manufacturer wherein they can be found by sourcing professionals on search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and


  1. ^ "SeattlePI - Bezox Invests In". February 6, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  2. ^ "Cadalyst - Acquires Europe's". September 6, 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  3. ^ "Inc. - How to get ahead in China". February 6, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  4. ^ Weisman, Robert (February 6, 2007). " - Fidelity makes bid for online-auction glory". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  5. ^ " Appoints General Wesley Clark to Board". September 10, 2012. 
  6. ^ " - 15 Companies That Will Change The World". August 22, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-04.