When you think about the day-to-day supplies your company uses, they’re usually not complicated items, yet procuring them is anything but easy. Why should securing every day items be so complex? With Vroozi it doesn’t have to be. It’s a cloud-based platform that takes care of enterprise purchasing needs in an intuitive, smart and mobile connected platform that’s easy to use. The platform requires no IT management so anyone with common sense and basic Google-searching skills can hop on the platform and with a few clicks make sure your procurement needs are taken care of. The day-to-day grind may not always be fun, but at least getting the supplies can be with this newly funded LA startup.
LA TechWatch spoke with Vroozi about the company’s origin as well as the company’s most recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $4M in a Series A round from Ally Holdings.
Tell us about your product or service.
We help companies to automate the entire purchasing process and save money and time. Vroozi is a cloud-based enterprise procurement software vendor based out of Southern California with customers globally in their localized languages. Vroozi customers range from Fortune 1000 companies to privately held enterprises across many industries – entertainment, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, defense and services. Vroozi platform features include complete mobile-enabled procure-to-pay functionality, catalog content and supplier management, master data management, workflow approval, and integration with other financial systems.
What inspired you to start the company?
Since 1997, our cofounder, Shaz Khan, had been implementing ERP procurement and supply chain systems for Fortune 500 companies. Over the last decade, he became increasingly puzzled by the amount of time it takes to automate a single business process as harmless as procurement. The implementation team would work for months to design and redesign the systems, yet after go-live, complains from users such as “Why is this so complicated?” or “I just want to order a pen, why do I need 20 steps?” squashed the fruits of their labor. Eventually, it became clear to Shaz that customers are consumers who have gotten used to shopping online in the comfort of their home.
Therefore, sitting at the W Hotel in San Francisco on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in 2009, Shaz penned the idea of smartOCI to tackle the world of B2B procurement from a consumer point of view, on a napkin. He wants to build the world’s largest and easiest to use B2B Ecommerce search engine and marketplace platform for companies of all sizes across any vertical.
Shazs’ vision is being realized in stages. First, he wants employees to come to work and order goods and services the same way they do at home. Think about how much more fun the employees would feel. In 2010, Shaz and team launched BETA smartOCI with a few selected customers and immediately gained traction.
The second stage is to build an open architecture cloud-base and 100% mobile enabled procurement and trading platform that would allow companies to deploy their business operations quickly. More importantly, it needs to be built in a way that allows companies of all sizes to customize and deploy their procurement platform in days and not months. With this new Vroozi platform, we have accomplished exactly that.
How is it different?
100% mobile enabled so employees can shop on any device without any IT management; Integrate with most backend financial systems; Can be easily deploy in a day and customizable to your business rules; Already pre-integrated with Amazon Business with thousands of suppliers and companies can easily add supplier content with their preferred suppliers.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We started off in the enterprise space but we are beginning to see an up-take in the midmarket. This is because through the SaaS movement, enterprise solutions are finally affordable for midmarket companies who can leverage process automation, efficiency gain, and employee productivity gain that used to be only treasured by large enterprises.
What’s your business model?
Similar to other cloud-based technology solution, we have a simple one-time set up fee and monthly subscription fee.
How has Vroozi been received thus far?
Vroozi has customers ranging from growing midsize companies to fortune 100 enterprises. We have been nominated for various awards including: 50 procurement providers to watch, 25 IBM Solutions Transforming Business, Most Promising SAP Solution Providers, Top 25 Most Promising Procurement Solutions
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Procurement is not blockchain, AI, or robotics and is not as sexy as most of the consumer apps, so getting attention and educating investors on the space take time.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our investors understand the pain points our platform is able to solve for companies and the growing midsize market who is beginning to look for technologies to automate time consuming tasks and better cash flow management.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We want to put more intelligence and enable more mobile features, such as intelligent invoice processing and dynamic discounting, predictive analytics and machine learning, and communication platform and integration (Chat).
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We can tremendous growth in the midsize market to be able to easily enable all their employees to order items from Amazon Business, Staples, and other suppliers directly through Vroozi, with proper approval process and spend management. Economics and technology have gotten to a point where growing companies can take advantage of systems traditionally only used by large enterprises.
What is your favorite LA bar, when you need to kick back and relax?
Depends on who you talk to at Vroozi; we are a diverse group of people joint by a common goal. However, one pub (not bar, sorry) stands out because over a few beers between the founders, the name “Vroozi” was born. The pub is called “Blue Dog” and only a few blocks from our current office.