There are millions of tenders and public sector contracts published every year by governments globally. The value of all this is estimated to be about $5 billion, and is expected to reach $9 billion by 2025. And of course, the pandemic has supercharged the need for digitized government procurement.
But navigating government procurement portals is far from an easy task. There is currently no global platform to view all these tenders, while only legacy tools help with the application process. But a few years ago most countries in Europe and North America produced online tender portals, making it possible to scrape them at scale. And guess what? A startup has gone and done just that.
Step forth Cube RM, which combines tender application and management into a single platform. The company claims to help enterprises discover, bid for and win tenders globally. It’s now completed an $8 million Series A round led by Runa Capital with the participation of the existing investor Marathon Venture Capital.
The startup is mainly targeting pharmaceutical and medical equipment global companies, with plans to expand to other industries. So far, clients include Boston Scientific ($BSX), Takeda ($TYO), Kemira ($KEMIRA), Bavarian Nordic ($BAVA) and others.
As well as helping companies discover new tenders globally, it also claims to prioritize tenders using Natural Language Processing; forecast tenders to be published; deliver tenders as opportunities in Salesforce.com; facilitate bid preparation and submission; and track tender winners and competitive info.
Previously, co-founder Costas Economopoulos founded a few B2B software companies, while data scientist George Boretos was in the business software industry, and Philip Kytinos is an experienced software engineer.
While working with global life sciences customers, we discovered that 25% to 60% of their revenues comes from public sector tenders, which is rather significant considering the trillion-dollar size of the market. Previously, there was no software system to discover new tenders that are being published every day on a global scale and help those companies manage the processes for preparing their quotation and find the best price to win the tender with the use of the latest AI technology.
Tender needs have historically been covered by either large revenue management solutions such as ModelN, Apttus/Conga or SAP.
Konstantin Vinogradov, partner at Runa Capital, said:
We have been investing in software solutions for regulated industries since 2011 and think that now is the perfect time for tender automation in the life science industry. On one hand, the pandemic boosted budgets and the overall importance of this industry, and on the other hand, it highlighted the ubiquitous lack of digitalization and abundance of inefficient bureaucratic processes at large enterprises. We consider this as an outstanding opportunity.