Mark Perera spreads his wings, Oxygen Finance and start-ups to benefit

I've got huge admiration for Mark Perera, and indeed his colleagues who founded Sigaria, the parent company of Procurement Leaders.

To set up, absolutely from scratch, any new company is a tough enough task in itself (as I know well). To do that with a pretty original concept, and one aimed at procurement executives, who must be one of the toughest client markets to crack, all makes their achievement even more impressive.

I spoke to Perera the other day, and he gave us some interesting news on a number of fronts. His personal news is that he's stepping back from day to day running of Sigaria and taking a non-executive role. He feels that the firm has “got too big for me”. His interest, as we'll discuss later, is in helping start-ups and smaller firms, and now Sigaria has moved well beyond that, he wants to get involved in other initiatives. But he is still a shareholder and retains a non-executive role with the firm.

The other news on the Sigaria front is that the Procurement Intelligence Unit, set up a couple of years ago to provide procurement research services, is being brought closer to Procurement Leaders from an operational point of view. You can interpret that in a couple of different ways obviously, but Perera says, “PIU is doing fine, but there are opportunities to share some costs and leverage the two businesses, so it seems a sensible thing to do”.

Perera is also now working in an advisory role with Oxygen Finance. Oxygen “enables private and public sector organisations to achieve better relationships with their suppliers by adopting a mutually-beneficial payment system”.

They’re into accelerated payment solutions as well as linked products around benefits capture – an interesting firm and we’ll come back to them I’m sure. They’ve also just recruited Mark Hoffman to run their US operation. He’s a real industry heavyweight – a Sybase co-founder and founder / CEO of CommerceOne, e-procurement pioneers as many of you may remember. It’s quite a coup for David Brown, the Oxygen CEO, to have tempted Hoffman into the firm.

Back to Perera – he’s got another new business launch on the cards in the next couple of months. He won’t be CEO personally, and it’s a new proposition, in the procurement space but with a “social approach”. That's as much as he'll say at the moment, so we wait with interest to see what he’s up to there.

He’s also heavily into the whole new media / technology start-up world, and is loloking to get invovled in multiple initiatives – “I’m a technology geek at heart” he says, (although he’s a jolly good sales and marketing person as well in my view). So he’s involved in events such as LeWeb, which brings together entrepreneurs, VCs, visionaries.... Sounds fun!

Perera has also made a very bold offer - “if anyone reading this has a great business idea – in procurement, or even other technology / web-based areas, then drop me a line and I'm happy to have a chat and offer what advice I can”.

And of course, like all true contemporary entrepreneurs, “Twitter is probably the easiest way to get hold of me”.  So try him there, @markperera, or drop me an email at psmith@spendmatters.com and I’ll pass it on to him.

Finally, we’d like to wish Mark good luck – even though I don’t think he’ll need luck given his experience, skills and personality. We’ll watch his progress with interest.

First Voice

  1. Mark Perera:

    Peter, thanks for the kinds words.

    I am blessed to have had two great founders working alongside me since the birth of Sigaria/Procurement Leaders back in 2004. Richard and Alex (fellow founders) together with Klaus (COO of the Procurement Intelligence Unit) are now taking the businesses forward on a day to day basis together with the brillant management team they have put together.

    Still very much involved in the business and lucky enough to now be focused on the areas where I most enjoy.

    The Oxygen Finance advisory role is very exciting, in terms of both the solutions they offer and the stage of development the business is currently going through. Its also great to work with the likes of Mark Hoffman who was so instrumental in developing the whole b2b marketplace.

    @LeWeb is just a fantastic event/team to get involve with. Hope to see you there on June 19th/20th – http://www.leweb.net 🙂

    Will let you know more about the new startup at the end of the summer.

    See you soon

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