By: Alesia Bani | Published on: Aug 16, 2022
- Stimulus closed an oversubscribed $2.5 million seed round with Black Ops VC as its lead investor.
- The Philadelphia-based company has used the funding to grow to a team of eight.
- The growth of global logistic, now a nearly $8.6 trillion industry, has helped the supply chain SaaS startup grow during the pandemic.
From investing a government stimulus check to create a startup during the Great Recession to now closing a $2.5 million seed round for her latest company, Tiffanie Stanard has made a name for herself in the supply chain space with her Philadelphia-based SaaS startup Stimulus.
“[I received] money to excel and move quickly, which is really important because you still have a lot of organizations that put out different initiatives and different things that have been moving slowly for the last two years and haven’t started or done much to really move the needle,” Stanard told The Plug, referring to the influx of funding corporations committed to Black businesses after the murder of George Floyd.
Stimulus recently announced the closing of an oversubscribed multi-million dollar seed round with Black Ops VC as its lead investor after meeting the firm’s General Partner James Norman at South by Southwest.
“Tiffanie’s subject matter expertise after spending years around the problem was really clear
from the start. Stimulus is an elegant solution that has a user experience designed specifically for the workflow of enterprise procurement teams. The hole in the market was clear to our team, so we were more than excited to get behind the platform and Tiffanie,” Norman said in a press release.
Stanard’s expertise is in branding, marketing, vendor management and technology, to name a few. Before launching Stimulus, she worked with vendors and suppliers for some of the largest publicly traded companies in the country for over 15 years and founded Prestige Concepts, a brand enhancement agency.
Her experience has led Stimulus’ Relationship Intelligence Platform (SRIP) to become a successful product that can work across industries. The product, which aims to help companies make the best purchasing decisions while optimizing and growing their supplier network, has gained traction within the healthcare, education and professional services industries, according to Stanard. Stimulus’ clients include Promptworks and Penn Medicine.
The pandemic has brought the issue of supply chain management to the forefront due to massive global disruptions which has helped scale Stimulus.
“Supply chain is the new sexy issue,” Stanard said in a press release. “Everything we eat, drink, wear, and use comes from a different place, a different company. COVID humanized that. It made people understand why it’s important and why it needs to be streamlined and managed properly. That’s creating opportunities for our company.”
Global logistics is a nearly $8.6 trillion industry and corporations spend more on suppliers than any other balance sheet item because B2B sales are a relationship-driven process, Stanard explained. Gartner found that 80 percent of these sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025.
SRIP aims to support this by combining data insights, relationship-building tools and a proprietary score to help companies make the best business decision.
Other investors in the $2.5 million round include Genius Guild, Morgan Stanley, Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, REFASHIOND Ventures, Bronze Valley, The BFM Fund, Plain Sight Capital, Penn Medicine – Wharton Fund for Health and angel investors.
Stimulus was one of five tech startups to be selected for Northwestern Mutual’s Black Founder Accelerator program in partnership with Gener8tor. The company received a $100,000 investment, a 12-week business training program and access to venture capital partners.
Northwestern Mutual is now co-investing in Stimulus alongside Black Ops VC. The investment firm closed $13 million in funding led by Northwestern Mutual last December.
Stanard has grown Stimulus exponentially since launching the platform in 2020 and securing a $50,000 investment from Google for Startups in 2020. The startup previously raised a $1 million pre-seed round with non-dilutive, dilutive and debt capital from Google for Startups, StartupPHL, Juno Capital, Darco Capital, Gabriel Investments, Segal Ventures, Microsoft Partner Capital Fund and angels.
Now, Stimulus has a team of eight and has grown its revenue four-fold to six figures. Stanard has hired a director of sales, an operations manager and engineering employees with a plan to expand to 10-15 full-time employees by the end of the year.
The company also received six figures this year from the Microsoft Black Partner Growth Initiative, which is part of Microsoft’s racial equity initiative announced in June 2020. Stimulus used the capital to hire its new full-time employees and expand its customer base.
“I’m excited to grow our relationship with Microsoft, we’re built on Microsoft, so to be able to expand from there is really exciting,” she said.
The company is also using funds to undergo a security audit to ensure that data on its platform is protected and “safe on both sides,” Stanard said. The money was used to ensure SRIP is scalable for the large companies Stimulus plans to work with.
Alesia Bani is a writer and journalist from Philadelphia and The Plug’s Innovation Reporter covering the Black tech ecosystem in Philadelphia. She previously worked for the Institutional Diversity office at her alma mater Temple University and has a background in reporting on identity, DEI and local government.