The History of Four51: A Brief Overview

August 17, 2015

Category: B2B eCommerce

In 1999, three men with a vision got together to change the way businesses function. At this time, B2C eCommerce was exploding in the marketplace and revolutionizing how people were buying and selling products. Mark Johnson, Gary Nemcek, and Rich Landa understood this phenomena – yet were all B2B businessmen.

B2C order management was being solved. But who was solving B2B order management? “No one. So that’s what we did,” Mark says.

Four51 was founded in 1999 to solve B2B Order Management.

Mark, Gary and Rich set out to create a cloud-based eCommerce solution for B2B businesses. Since then, their lives have been spent building Four51 and developing the OrderCloud platform.

THE EARLY 2000s: Four51 provides distributors access to a Software-as-a-Service-Based (SaaS) Online Ordering Platform

The first steps included orienting the technology’s architecture to allow buyers, sellers, and suppliers to interrelate like they do in real life, integrating OrderCloud to ensure a smooth transition to online ordering, and providing simple themes for a unique buyer experience.

Since then, they have focused on making companies more efficient, reducing order errors, and providing better customer experiences.

Four51 has grown immensely since the early 2000s but has always remained true to its roots. According to Mark, Four51 has been and always will be cloud-based and multi-tenant. They decided on the name “Four51,” the same temperature that paper combusts at, to represent their vision of transforming the way people do business and their belief that online solutions will move companies forward into the future. 

“Our data model is huge,” says Rich. “We’ve had 16 years of responding to what our B2B customers need. We have an advantage. We can work with our customers to easily create any type of user experience for their customers that they want, because we already have it built.”

2014 AND BEYOND: Four51 focuses on Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

“Our current, most important transformation is that we’ve evolved from a Software as a Service application delivery model to a platform-based, API-first delivery model which allows for the most effective customization of a solution,” Gary says.

The founders continue to keep the Four51 team looking ahead. “We started Four51 from scratch and have experienced consistent growth. We’ve got a great team of over 50 people working on our customers’ behalf. We can effectively connect users with any products, services, and content they need, generate huge productivity savings, and dramatically enhance B2B ordering experiences,” says Mark.