Procurify aims to simplify the procurement process for businesses, many of which rely on disorganized, old-school methods with pen and paper, or on cumbersome and expensive enterprise resource-planning systems.
Procurify, based in British Columbia, offers a cloud-based platform to approve, track, and receive purchase orders. Co-founder and CEO Aman Mann believes his product will help businesses save time and money, as well as to keep an eye on expenses.
Mann explains how Procurify, which just closed a $4 million seed funding round, will convince small and mid-sized businesses to sign on.
PROFITguide.com: What is it about procurement that needs to be improved?
Aman Mann: Many companies experience the bitter taste of enterprise resource planning systems, and the costly implementation and training periods that come with them. And some organizations are using very archaic systems—email, phone calls, and paper processes—that give them zero visibility. So for them to be able to download an application on their mobile phone or sign up online is a wonderful experience.
We provide them with a platform where they can pull analytics and control around every dollar going out of their organization, rather than just being reactive and discovering when the quarter closes just how far off-budget they were, or how little cash flow they have.
So has this area been overlooked as a business opportunity?
It’s a very underdeveloped area because to some extent companies don’t really look at how to improve their internal structure. They’re usually outwardly focused: How do we acquire more deals? How do we do more sales? But the real power of an organization is their cash flow. In large organizations, it can make or break them every quarter if they’re not following their budgets.
For smaller companies looking at large, expensive ERP systems, it’s not feasible for them to acquire and implement them. So they just stick to archaic systems. We’re giving mid-market companies the chance to leverage enterprise power and compete on that level.
Why are you focusing on mid-sized firms?
If I looked at this even three years ago, I would have called myself crazy to look at mid-market. But these organizations are now understanding the feasibility of the cloud and the need for moving to that infrastructure. Every single person holds a smartphone, too, and this market understands the value in that, and that typically wasn’t the case in the past. But we are dealing with enterprise clients, too, that are moving away from ERP systems.
Are the incumbents your biggest competition?
I would say our biggest competition is the traditional, manual process with email, phone calls and paper. But the ERP conglomerates do get their hands into organizations and then don’t really focus on the users.
The incumbents can improve their user experience, though.
There is always that ability, but what they can’t provide is the agility we have as a startup. We get to tackle things so much quicker compared to these guys.
Most of your customers are outside Canada, right?
Just about every customer is outside of Canada. We do have some here, but I would love for Canada to catch up to the technology. I feel like Canadian firms seem to adapt a lot slower. They definitely have the knowledge base and experience for improving operations, but adapting to new technologies still seems to be much more difficult. The traditional mindset in these organizations doesn’t seem to change.
How will you overcome that?
We continue to share knowledge and build awareness, but we understand it takes time with these organizations. The biggest thing for us is not about how much money we can get from them as a customer. It’s about getting them to understand that it’s to their competitive advantage to adopt cloud technology, and get into this next phase of growing the business.
What do you think of Mann’s plans for Procurify? Share your (constructive) thoughts and feedback in the comments below.
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