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History

In 2000, Unite’s founders had one simple goal: launch a marketplace to revolutionise e-procurement and e-commerce. And the rest, as they say, is history...

Building strong B2B foundations

Building strong B2B foundations

After a trip to the US in 2000, Sebastian Wieser and four of his McKinsey colleagues set themselves a challenge – to fill a gaping hole in Germany’s disorganised and analogue procurement market.

They envisioned a simple, transparent system that would change centralised purchasing for SMEs forever. Their idea – a web-based platform that connected a broad network of suppliers with their customers. They called it Mercateo, meaning marketplace.

Sebastian Wieser, Unite

Our plan was to make procurement processes in Germany simpler and more transparent. We set out to build a web-based purchasing platform with a broad network of suppliers.

Sebastian Wieser, Founder, Board Member and Managing Director at Unite

More than 20 years in the making

Mercateo 2000
Mercateo 2003
Mercateo Team 2004
Mercateo Best Basket 2006
Mercateo RWE customer 2009
Mercateo International 2010
Mercateo in Leipzig 2011
Mercateo 1 mio. customers 2013
Mercateo
Bernd Schönwälder joins Mercateo 2015
Mercateo Academy 2016
B2B network Unite goes live in 2017
Unite e-procurement partners 2018
Unite Store gets connected to Mercateo Procurement Platform 2019
20 years Mercateo in 2020
Mercateo becomes Unite 2021
2000

mercateo.com goes live, launching our revolutionary online marketplace in Germany for the first time. Later that year, E.ON Energie takes over.

2003

Sebastian Wieser and Peter Ledermann acquire Mercateo from E.ON in a management buyout.

2004

Hello Köthen! We relocate our German office and grow from nine to 40 employees by the end of the year.

2006

Electronic invoicing and Mercateo BestBasket launches – a unique function that automatically recommends the best combination of price, delivery time and shipping costs.

2009

We sign up RWE as our first key account, introduce an Open Catalogue Interface (OCI) for SAP, and launch mercateo.at in Austria.

2010

In just one year, Mercateo launches in ten new countries: the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the UK.

2011

Hello Leipzig! We open a new German office while our European presence grows, opening premises in Vienna, Maastricht and Paris.

2013

We celebrate a massive milestone – one million customers have joined Mercateo.

2014

A new, bigger building opens in Köthen for our growing team.

2015

Bernd Schönwälder joins the Board, with a strategic focus on markets and sales. And new events, like Mercateo Business Breakfasts and Lunches, position the platform as a place for B2B relationship building.

2016

The Mercateo Academy is created to support colleagues with coaching, training and professional development opportunities.

2017

Our B2B network, Unite, goes live. And SAP Ariba chooses Mercateo as its exclusive spot-buy solution for Europe.

2018

Looking good, Leipzig! Our new headquarters open. Big e-procurement providers, including Jaggaer, OpusCapita, BeNeering, Integra and DIG, all integrate Unite.

2019

The Unite Store gets connected to the Mercateo Procurement Platform.

2020

Happy 20th birthday Mercateo! We celebrate in style just before the Covid-19 pandemic.

2021

A bold new look – we rebrand our platform under the name Unite. Now our Spotmarket, Procurement Portal, and Financial Services are all aligned around our growing network.

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Peter Ledermann, Board Member and Managing Director at Unite

As Unite grows, it’s like a village becoming a big city. We have the chance to keep a village culture as we scale, do more work, and optimise our processes.

Peter Ledermann, Board Member and Managing Director at Unite

Making the move from Mercateo to Unite

Making the move from Mercateo to Unite

Now we’re ready for a new chapter. We know that for B2B systems to thrive, they must create value for everyone. For us, that means bringing buyers and sellers together for mutual benefit, connecting the economy for sustainable business. The Unite Network is at the heart of this approach.

That’s why, in 2021, Mercateo became Unite. With Unite, buyers, suppliers and partners can access our Spotmarket, Procurement Portal and Financial Services. Now they can foster connections and benefit from seamless transactions with other business partners on the network, helping build a better future into their supply chain.

Where next?

Unite History Value Added

Value added. Value shared.

Discover our solutions for buyers and suppliers, and see the difference Unite can make to your business.

History Unite for future

Unite for the future

We’re building a sustainable future for B2B – for better business and a better world. Find out how.

Unite History News

News and events

Want to know what’s happening now? Check out all the latest news and events from Unite.