Procuroulette – exciting, innovative, a game-changer for procurement

We've seen some exciting software products over the past few years (Sourcemap, Seal Software, Taulia, market-informed sourcing and the like), but today we are featuring something that could eclipse anything launched this decade.

It's a new platform caller Procuroulette, launched earlier this year by the company of the same name. Basically, it enables buyers to identify, trade and work collaboratively with a wide range of suppliers. Nothing remarkable about that. But the clue is in the name. Procuroulette takes the principles of supplier networks, social media and instant dating apps (like Chatroulette or Grindr) and introduces them to the procurement world.

So having identified your procurement need, and entered your requirement into the system, Procuroulette matches you with totally random suppliers from around the world! Well, not totally random of course - there is some basic level 'matching'. So you won't get a Chilean mining services firm if you search for polypropylene packaging film. But you may well be matched with firms you've never heard of or worked with before. And the matching is deliberately not too narrow - to encourage both buyers and sellers to move out of their comfort zones.

And that is the beauty of the system. It takes away buyer preferences - often based on favouritism or even corruption. It drives experimentation and therefore innovation. And it brings a guaranteed level of supplier diversity into the picture. As I say, genuinely exciting.

We were lucky enough to meet Sven 'Siggy' Svensson, the founder of Procuroulette, for a chat the other day. Svensson was appointed Google's 'VP of User Madness' (Northern Europe) at the age of just 15 and is still only in his early twenties. First of all I asked him why the company is based in Estonia.

"The girls", he says, grinning. "No, really, it is the excellent and low cost developers. That and the girls".

Where has the funding come from for the venture, I wonder. Rumours are that a second-stage investment round has valued the firm at over $150million. "Clinton B. Nixon, the millionaire US venture capitalist has taken a major stake", Siggy tells me.  That's impressive - Nixon's grandfather was an oil billionaire, and he invested billions in Excite, Pets.com, Friends Re-United, and MySpace.

I question Svensson about the valuation - it seems high for a company that isn't making a profit and has not disclosed its revenues. He sneers.

"Profit? Revenues? My God, you are living in the past. The investors only care about three things. Twitter followers, Facebook likes, and LinkedIn profile. We're upper percentile on all three. It's momentum. It's excitement. It is NOW! We're highly investible, and in five years time our network will make Ariba's look like an elk on a ski-lift!"

(That was one of several incomprehensible Swedish jokes, which we have edited for general ease of reading).

So, I asked, how does the system match buyers and sellers?

"Our Estonian mathematicians have developed the most sophisticated Bayesian mathematical linear programming and Boealian systemic alphacore analytical bullwhip models" he says. "It's quite simple but I can't say more than that".

What about the '3 strikes and you're out ' process though? I wasn't sure about that when I looked at the platform?

I should explain - having placed my requirement, I am offered a Skype link with the first selected supplier. I can turn them down - then I get a second supplier presented, and a third if I say 'no' to number two. But if I turn down the first three, I am contractually bound to accept the fourth!

"Don't you see, you idiot!" says Svensson playfully. "That introduces a unique element of gamification to the process. That excitement is what makes the platform irresistible to users. Adoption and compliance is extraordinarily high - people really want to use Procuroulette!"

As we say, this could be a game-changer. Bringing social media, gamification, supplier networks, user acceptability all together into one package is a masterstroke. Siggy is clearly a genius or a lunatic - place your bets now on which, but personally, I've sold my house and am now a small investor in Procuroulette!

 

Voices (3)

  1. Wendy Burdon:

    Love it Peter!! You do need to be careful though. If some of our colleagues in Cabinet Office see this, we might find it being mandated next April 1st!!!

  2. Dave Mischief:

    Seems an interesting proposition.

    I’ll need to consider it later once I’ve tended to the spagehetti trees in the garden. It looks like a warm spring so I’m hoping for a good harvest!!

  3. PlanBee:

    Interesting idea, certainly a unique way to slaughter those sacred cows that exist in all of our organisations

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