Welcome to Koble! Smarter Business Through Networking …

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It is about a year since we first told you about SpendLead*, the new platform launched by Fabrice Saporito, previously CEO of Sievo.

SpendLead was launched with the goal of helping buyers and sellers find each other, with the potential for targeted and controlled links and exchange of information between the parties.

Well, a year on, and the initial and beta phases are over and the product is now moving into a wider release and relaunch. Not surprisingly, Fabrice and the team have found out a lot in that time about how organisations and individuals actually use – and want to use – the platform. So with the relaunch, one immediately noticeable change is the name. We are no longer talking about SpendLead but Koble. Apparently in Norwegian that means to connect or affiliate – or to hot-wire!

Smarter Business Through Networking” is now the key positioning statement, but the fundamental aim has not changed as dramatically as the name. Kobleis a social network for businesses that helps enterprise users connect and collaborate with their clients, vendors, prospects and business partners”. So it uses a social media approach – messaging, links and so on – to help buyers find and work with appropriate suppliers and vice versa.  Buyers register which  spend areas they are interested in and can link (in a controlled and anonymous manner if desired) with potential providers in that area.

But whilst that supplier discovery aspect is still there, Koble is now highlighting another benefit, with an emphasis on the collaboration aspects of the tool. That arises because firms are increasingly concerned that many of the contacts their staff are making are held and even managed in personal social media formats. So links are made and sometimes important aspects of collaborative business actually happen on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. But the “account” is personal with those platforms, so if that member of staff leaves, the contacts go with them.

So Koble is an enterprise social media tool, and “the content you create, the exchanges you have and the connections you make on Koble are owned by the company, not by the individual”.  It uses company email addresses and then supports collaboration to help you and the organisation to build an external business network.

That means Koble is still looking for individuals to sign up to the platform, but we suspect will probably now be more focused on getting enterprise-level buy-in and sign-up. If procurement leaders (or even wider business leaders like CEOs) are concerned about this current lack of visibility of social media related contacts and linkages, Koble might be an attractive option, offering the easy-to-use tools that people expect from their use of “private” social media, but also protecting the organisation’s knowledge and connections.

An interesting re-positioning for the firm; you can find out more here and we will have further coverage to come.

* As we told you at the time, Peter Smith and Jason Busch of Spend Matters are investors in the firm in a small way – a sign that we thought it was an interesting product with real potential. We will do our very best to keep coverage of Koble at the standard of independence that we always try and follow, but you should be aware of that fact!

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