SpendLead Goes Beta — A Social App Meets Supplier and Buyer Search and Insight


Close to a year ago, an old friend, Fabrice Saporito, approached me with an idea for a business that was, to say the least, ambitious. While the social network and app that he and his team ultimately launched this week morphed quite a bit between the original discussion and the launch version, it’s safe to say his ambitions grew rather than shrank.

As with all truly big ideas, the chance of success — or great failure, for that matter — is magnified. With the financial backing of a number of angel initial investors — including three folks from Spend Matters, one of which, in full disclosure, is me — SpendLead recently put on its first truly public face. You can find it here.


But how does SpendLead work? Peter Smith, my Spend Matters UK/Europe colleague — also, in full disclosure, an investor — notes in a post this week, that:

The core premise of SpendLead is “find and be found” — it combines element of search, marketing communications and social media to link up buyers with potential (and actual) suppliers, and allows the marketers to provide useful information to buy-side folk, in a controlled manner.

So suppliers register which markets and geographies are interesting to them, and buyers similarly register their categories of interest. Buyers then receive short notifications when a supplier has something interesting to communicate — a new case study, product information, a webinar or workshop perhaps.

The buyer decides if they are interested and if so, can then initiate a contact with the supplier — or simply have a look at the material and stay anonymous. So this won’t lead to being bombarded by sales calls! But it will provide a route for buyers to keep on top of what is happening in their markets and categories, through a simple, easy-to-use, single platform. And of course it enables suppliers to target better the right people who are likely to be interested in what they have to offer.

SpendLead’s success or failure will hinge on whether it successfully leverages a network effect to drive scale. (It is much closer to a LinkedIn or Facebook in this regard than, say, an Ariba or Coupa.) I personally believe that it — or something like it — will become the go-to app for researching and learning about both existing suppliers and finding new ones in a manner of connection that changes the basis on how organizations connect and learn about each other.

Yes, I’ve got a vested interest in this! But if SpendLead or something like it works, it will substantially change how buyers and suppliers learn about each other initially and stay smart.

If you’re curious, I would encourage you to check out SpendLead — and to invite your colleagues and suppliers to participate. (Inviting select suppliers from your vendor master or the categories you manage to start interacting will create a magnifier on the value you get from it.)

And as Peter notes, SpendLead would like to thank the 100 procurement organizations that were part of the fall pilot to get feedback and are now using the system.

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