Making decisions about where to eat or what hotel to stay at is easy thanks to online review boards like Yelp and Tripadvisor. Thousands of past customer reviews help consumers make informed purchasing decisions, but until recently, the same didn’t exist for supplier decisions in the public sector.
Procurement officers — those who pick which suppliers government agencies should use for goods and services — often have little reliable data on a company’s past performance. That’s why former Pennsylvania Chief Procurement Officer David Yarkin founded Procurated, which raised $10 million in Series A funding on Wednesday.
Procurated is a ratings and review platform that allows government agencies to browse thousands of reviews about suppliers written by approximately 8,000 verified public sector employees. In just minutes, procurement officers can browse reputable suppliers, empowering them to make better decisions for how to spend taxpayer dollars.
“From PPE shortages to supply chain disruptions, the procurement profession has taken center stage in national affairs. With that spotlight comes increasing scrutiny over the contracting decisions made every day in state capitols, city halls and school district offices,” Yarkin said in a statement. “Through our growing community of thousands of purchasers sharing their supplier experiences, Procurated is instilling more trust and confidence in those decisions and reducing the risks of picking suppliers with spotty or unknown track records.”
Procurated can also help purchasing professionals identify diverse suppliers. Users can filter results by all kinds of metrics including businesses that have been certified as minority-, women- or veteran-owned. Procurated believes this filter can create more equity in government contracting.
“As governments and schools adopt policies making their contracting processes more equitable, their procurement teams are working overtime to identify and reach out to diverse businesses. Buyers across the country are using Procurated to quickly find small businesses who have performed well for other governments or schools in their area,” said Paul Finnegan, managing member of Limerick Hill, one of Procurated’s investors.
Procurated plans to use the new funding for marketing initiatives to grow the company’s reach and increase brand awareness. It is also currently hiring seven positions across marketing, engineering and HR.
“We are already seeing government and schools using this invaluable information to make more informed decisions, selecting suppliers that their peers have vouched for or avoiding those that have a problematic track record,” Yarkin told Built In in an email. “With the generous support of new and longtime investors, we can spread awareness of our platform so that every public procurement official in America benefits from the experiences [their] peers have had with their suppliers.”
The ratings and review platform isn’t the only company helping connect government agencies with capable suppliers. D.C.-based Dcode is an accelerator program focused on training government and tech companies on how to work together. It recently launched its own networking platform allowing tech companies access to on-demand federal expertise when navigating government contracts.