The company is led by its founder Rod Robinson, who arrived at this solution format from many years in consulting for firms like AT Kearney and Accenture, with a 3-year stint as the CPO for Cincinnati Bell -- where the task of finding the right diverse vendors to include in bid opportunities was frequently a challenge. It is clear that Rod's consulting background is paying off now that he is building his own business -- procurement outsourcing providers BPO firms such as ICG Commerce and a growing list of buyers from Global 2000 companies are now steering bid opportunities through ConnXus.
There are several supplier networks in the marketplace, so ConnXus will probably face significant challenges trying to break into the field -- in addition to their obvious diversity play, one differentiator could be performance ratings. In the ConnXus solution, suppliers can request ratings from prior customers, via the ConnXus rating system, that in turn link back to their profile. Lack of performance feedback has long been a critical challenge to supplier diversity efforts. In large part, since disseminating supplier performance data across organizations is difficult without running afoul of corporate IP rules, or even worse, anti-trust laws. It will be interesting to see how this takes shape at ConnXus.
After their successful investment round, Rod has managed to remain the company's majority owner, although ConnXus' most prominent investor is now John Pepper of Procter & Gamble fame. Pepper is also on the ConnXus advisory board and his significant product placement and promotional skills will likely be put to the test as the growing company now needs a significant marketing effort to build recognition among both Global 2000 buyers and their prospective suppliers.
At Spend Matters, we wish Rod and his team great success with the new venture and look forward to continuing the dialog.
- Thomas Kase