Australian procurement platform startup VendorPanel raises US$1.72 million to to accelerate growth and simplify procurement
VendorPanel, a leading Australian procurement platform, has secured US$1.72 million Series A funding to accelerate growth, extend product development, and expand into new international markets. The funding was led by Microequities Venture Capital Fund, with strategic
investment by Aconex founders Leigh Jasper and Rob Phillpot.
With Microequities Venture Capital Fund, Jasper and Phillpot all holding globally successful track records in the SaaS B2B marketplace, the investment is a significant vote of confidence in the Melbourne-based technology company. Following the investment, Justin Lipman of Microequities Venture Capital Fund will join the VendorPanel board.
Founded in 2008 by James Leathem, and first launched in 2010, VendorPanel is a procurement technology company based in Melbourne. In July 2018 VendorPanel was named one
of the Top 20 Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow, and received an award for Most Innovative
Use of Technology from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. VendorPanel originally came to prominence for its innovative approach and success in addressing governance, probity and value for money in low value (below tender) procurement spend.
Prior to this, James was a qualified Mountain Instructor, leading long-range wilderness
expeditions of up to 90 days into Canada’s Arctic Circle, the US Rocky Mountains and the
Kimberley region of Northern Australia. Whilst leading these trips he delivered
university-accredited training on team leadership, decision-making, risk management and
emergency management in a learning context of challenging environments and extreme
conditions. Separately, he has delivered similar training programmes to corporate groups and
management teams worldwide. James continues to draw on this experience as he navigates the
journey of building a high growth startup.
Vendor Panel is used by 1,235 government bodies, universities, utility companies and corporate organisations in Australia and overseas to manage over $2.4 billion in low-value procurement. More recently, it has been recognised for innovation in helping organisations to use procurement to drive positive social impact and local economic development, through its ProcureForGood and BuyRegional initiatives in partnership with industry leaders.
Commenting on the investment, Lipman said: “VendorPanel’s vision and expertise are helping to simplify procurement. Over 1,000 organisations have seen the benefits so far, which indicates to us that VendorPanel’s technology is genuinely solving an industry-wide pain point and tells us that this space is ready for change. We’ve been impressed with the business that James and his team have built and we’re excited to be working with them to accelerate VendorPanel’s growth.”
Founder and CEO James Leathem is looking forward to having the SaaS experts involved in the
business, helping VendorPanel become the preferred procurement platform for government and
enterprise in Australia and overseas.
“The team at Microequities Venture Capital are known for the support and value they bring to
management teams and, in Leigh and Rob, we are fortunate to have investors who have been
down the road of building a fast-growing, world-beating SaaS company,” James said.
“I was motivated to build VendorPanel after my time in professional services highlighted wide
gaps and opportunities in procurement practices. I saw not only a need for a platform that
helped organisations manage the processes, risks and costs of procurement, but an opportunity
to move procurement beyond cost saving to value delivery.”
The platform is used by organisations of all sizes, from State Governments like Victoria’s to
hundreds of local Councils across Australia. Charters Towers Regional Council in Queensland
has been a VendorPanel client for several years and Procurement Coordinator Paul Weston
knows the platform well. He says “VendorPanel has driven real efficiency gains for Council.
Overall, a big win has been in probity and supplier confidence.”
James Leathem concludes “Our data supports what customers tell us, that they see reduced
financial risk and better value for their procurement dollar through using the platform. That,
together with the impact we can help them have on local economic development and positive
social outcomes, is why we’re extremely excited about the next chapter of the VendorPanel