What is IPT?

IPT proactively introduces companies with similar trading interests. With an emphasis on quality, we pride ourselves on helping our members create and sustain the best business relationships.

Meet the Team: Anthony Elliot-Square

Anthony Elliot-Square, Managing Director - Team IPT

Anthony, 20 years of IPT, what an incredible achievement! For those who don’t know you, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at IPT?

I formed Third Dimension Limited in 1997 to provide software solutions, including websites, however, before that I spent 19 years as an Army Officer, followed by 8 years working for a defence contractor and a software development company.

My role is to provide the leadership, support and resources to grow IPT and to develop a culture for helping the Industry prosper. This has evolved from being an online marketing platform to a genuine members service that combines 20 years of industry experience, relationships, observation and knowledge to help members trade profitably and effectively.

I continue to support my excellent sales team led by Ed and my outstanding in-house technical development and marketing team led by Jen.

20 years in the business means that IPT was in existence before even the first iPhone was created! How did the idea for this unique business concept come about?

We are always alert for new business opportunities and from the outset, we recognised that the Internet provided a unique and powerful communication medium for bringing suppliers and consumers together. This was achieved initially by establishing several town websites from 1999.

We then became aware of the international product trading marketplace and recognised that an online platform could provide a major service to that industry. In 2001 this became the prototype for IPT.

How has IPT evolved over the years?

In October 2001, we identified an opportunity to use our web site development skills to establish a web-based marketing portal for the traders and brokers of computer components and mobile phones.  This had followed a period of designing static, printed advertisements for traders who advertised in the European Computer Reseller (ECR) magazine (owned by United News and Media) and developing an appreciation of the size of the open/grey market in a number of industries.

We recognised that the traders needed up-to-date information to facilitate their trades because, in such a dynamic market where profit levels were small, even the shortest delay between agreeing on a purchase price and agreeing on a selling price with a buyer could cause a change from profit to loss on the deal.  Initially, we found the industry very protective about their preferred customers and suppliers, but as traders realised the power of our web sites, we found them more ready to advertise openly.

The initial web site was www.internationalcomputerbrokers.com and this became very successful.  The idea was to provide a “one-stop” shop for large-volume traders, so they could advertise their services and post either their stock availability or stock requirements on the trading board.  The web site included an area for news and related services such as inspection, freight forwarders, banks, solicitors, VAT consultants, phone services, insurance, corporate entertainment, credit checking, federations, security, due diligence experts, retail, trade fairs and links to important web sites such as HMRC and Immobilise.  Advertisers pay a fee to be featured on the web site.

Once the web site had become established, and as a result of the growth in the mobile phone trading market, we launched an additional web site for mobile phones www.internationalphonetraders.com.  Additional domain names were purchased to establish a more memorable brand.  These were www.ipt.cc and www.icb.cc. In 2005, we launched an additional web site www.igt.cc to cater to traders of other commodities.

An additional service is to provide news to our readers.  This includes direct links to relevant websites and articles of interest.  Advertisers can submit articles by email for posting as an announcement if they wish.   Some other articles are posted by Third Dimension Limited, at our discretion, to highlight events or issues and assist the members and the wider trade. 

A key part of our service is to support the traders with a high-quality service.  As part of this, we pride ourselves in only advertising services (such as insurance, foreign exchange, business telecommunication services and banking) which we deem to be credible.

As part of our aim to support the Industry, we have organized the IPT MarketPlace at major Trade Shows such as CeBIT, IFA and GITEX, including several networking events.

In 2012 we held our first International Trade Convention (ITC) in Malta. ITC was a natural extension of our partnership with the Industry and we facilitate the opportunity for traders to meet new contacts and old friends in a friendly, professional and pleasant setting. IPT is now a major service provider to the Industry Worldwide, and we look forward to expanding our resources to offer an even more effective level of support for many years.

You’ve built a tight-knit team with a loyal client base – many of whom we have the pleasure of calling friends. Why do you think IPT enjoys this kind of success? What do you think are the special elements that set us apart and keep us striving forward 20 years on?

Throughout, we have demonstrated loyalty to the Industry and supported clients in good times and bad. The team have helped companies grow, to resolve issues and to bring clients together for mutual benefit.

It has been a strict company policy NOT to trade ourselves.  This was essential to ensure our impartiality, credibility and integrity. Ed has developed a wide network of contacts and has a team of account managers who are on hand to effectively support our clients.

Jen has grasped the challenge of expanding and improving the efficacy of the website, enhancing our brand and developing and delivering the amazing and successful ITC every year.

What are some of your proudest moments in the history of IPT so far?

We have a lot to be proud of, but in the broadest sense, the development of IPT from an idea to a major entity. We are proud of the contribution we have made to the industry over the years; providing a first-class service by introducing buyers and sellers, also service providers, through membership of our websites, by providing focal points at the major trade shows, or by providing general advice and support, to meet the wide variety of challenges faced. Examples of this support have been my Chairmanship of the Federation of Technological Industries (the FTI) when we won a £1m case at ECJ in favour of the Industry, the publication of the FTI Best Practice Guide, our support in finding alternative banking, providing evidence for traders to support legal cases and giving evidence in VAT tribunals on behalf of traders.

I’m also incredibly proud of the establishment of ITC as a major, annual International event.

Over the years I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of highs and lows. What are some of the most memorable challenges the company has had to overcome?

They say the secret to getting ahead is getting started - creating a website from the ground-up to what it is today is an ongoing challenge that we continue to strive to optimise.

The attack on the Industry by the establishment which could not recognize the validity of the open market was a particularly challenging time. We did not hesitate to pour our energy and resources into supporting our clients. As I mentioned, I undertook the Chairmanship of the Federation of Technological Industries (the FTI) and we won a £1m case at ECJ in favour of the Industry.

Adapting to the changing characteristics of the industry keeps us on our toes. We continue to support the industry in finding suitable banking solutions, providing evidence for traders to support legal cases and giving evidence in VAT tribunals on behalf of traders.

Competition from other platforms pushes us to keep providing a better service for our members and to be creative in finding new ways in which to support the industry.

Our team are incredibly fortunate to be able to tap into your wealth of knowledge and years of experience as you continue to play an active role in the day-to-day of the business. What do you see for the future of IPT?

IPT has established itself as the only truly independent trading platform and has a long pedigree. I wish to greatly expand its offering to the industry to help clients trade effectively, safely and profitably. We are looking to extend our services to help buyers and sellers “match-up” more efficiently and draw on our wide network to assist with recruitment by connecting employers with suitable candidates.

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