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Digital Procurement World — The 10 start-up finalists of DEMO21 pitch their procurement tech ideas

09/16/2021 By


(Updated with the winners)

This week saw the third annual Digital Procurement World (DPW) live-stream its world-famous innovative start-ups DEMO event. DPW is the world’s biggest tech event for the global procurement industry, attracting more than 3,000 delegates, 100 start-ups and over 80 speakers. From keynotes and presentations, it also offers an AI-enabled “matchmaking” opportunity where networking takes on another level using algorithms to form meaningful connections for guests on a global scale.

DEMO showcases early-stage innovative start-ups in procurement technology that believe they can pave the way for the future of digital procurement. Each provider gets the opportunity to pitch its solution ideas to, and get feedback from, a panel of judges at an event that brings VC investors, buyers and potential partners together in one forum. Accordingly, DPW likes to frame this start-up opportunity as a life-changing event.

The start-up program attracts firms that are verified by meeting certain criteria:

  • They must have launched no earlier than 2016
  • They must have an existing working product or a minimum viable product — not a service

This year more than 100 start-ups made the grade to compete in the five categories, which are:

  • Automation and Efficiency — Technologies that automate the procurement process and manual, repetitive tasks to boost productivity
  • Supplier Value — Technologies focused on unlocking value from suppliers to improve performance, quality, innovation and collaboration
  • Cost Reduction and Savings — Technologies that address all or part of the procurement process with the aim of generating measurable bottom-line savings
  • Risk and Resilience — Technologies that manage and mitigate risk, and build robust supply chains that can weather disruptions
  • Sustainability — Technologies that innovate sustainable procurement activities and the supply chain as a whole, from human rights issues to carbon emissions

Take a look at the previous winning firms here.

If you are choosing solution providers for your organization, check out Spend Matters’ new 5-step “Procurement Technology Buyer’s Guide.”

Roadmap to the winning start-ups

Applicants applied to compete in April this year, and in May the qualification round of judging began with online screening and scoring. That resulted in the announcement of 20 semi-finalists in June, of which 10 have been chosen to pitch their solutions live at DPW 2021.

They are judged on:

  • Innovation and Industry Disruption — Innovative value proposition and potential to truly disrupt the procurement industry in a big way
  • Potential and Business Model — How much potential it has to make a big impact and its scalability for a global solution
  • Progress and Market Traction — Operation and financial metrics, milestones and achievements since inception
  • Team, Board, Advisors — Capabilities and expertise to execute the business plan; passion, ambition, vision and culture; the right advisors and board to support
  • Unfair Advantage — What makes the start-up 10x better than others and what insights/advantage they have over others

The 10 finalists by category

Moderator and host at the grand finale of DEMO21 yesterday, Wednesday September 15, was Peter Hopwood, who congratulated all the start-ups taking part in what he called “the boldest, the biggest, the most significant pitching competition within the procurement industry.”

He introduced the 10 finalists, who come from all over the world, some indeed pitching as early as 4am in their local time, and gave them each 4 minutes to pitch and 4 minutes to answer quick-fire questions from the judges. It was good to see members of audience also asking them questions via the interactive discussion panel.

The judging panel and question askers — global supplier management lead at Roche, Miriam Hartmann, venture capital investor at Accel, Will Sheldon, and head of digital procurement at Maersk, Jacob Gorm Larsen — made their winner decisions today. The audience was also invited to vote for which vendor they believe will be the most disruptive procurement tech talent of the future.

The 10 finalists by category were (Winners in orange):

Automation and Efficiency

  • Pactum — AI-based system to help global companies automatically offer personalized, commercial negotiations on a massive scale, adding value and saving time for the customer and negotiation partner by aligning their values to win-win agreements using a chat interface that implements best-practice negotiation strategies. Based in Mountain View, California, with engineering and operations in Estonia.
    Delivered by Kaspar Korjus, co-Founder and CPO.
  • Yaydoo — Builds and distributes financial automation technologies that help businesses streamline B2B payments using software focused on procurement, spend management, accounts payable and accounts receivable processes, connecting an ecosystem of financial solutions. Gives businesses of all sizes access to financial automation tools that allow them to be profitable, make a positive impact in their commercial ecosystem and develop the well-being of people who interact with them.
    Delivered by Sergio Almaguer, Founder & CEO.

Supplier Value

  • scoutbee — AI-powered supplier discovery suite to help procurement leaders gain deep supplier insights to make more confident buying decisions. Founded in Germany by procurement experts, scoutbee has customers that include companies such as Audi, Siemens, Airbus, Bosch Rexroth, Heidelberg and SEW Eurodrive. scoutbee has sites in Germany and the US.
    Delivered by Gregor Stühler, CEO.
  • Ravacan — Purchasing and procurement software solution designed for commodity and supply managers, giving a central place to analyze costs and manage suppliers. Simplifies and automates direct sourcing with a single analytics and collaboration platform, so users can focus on more impactful strategies.
    Delivered by Anne-Sophie Le Bloas, CEO.

Cost Reduction and Savings

  • Sastrify — Virtual Software-as-a-Service procurement solution, helping finance and tech teams to optimize management and cost of SaaS tools in digital-first companies. Brings transparency to the existing setup, gets rid of underutilized licenses and negotiates with suppliers to get the best deals. Handles SaaS subscriptions: renewals, negotiations and cost monitoring to save money.
    Delivered by Sven Lackinger, Co-Founder
  • Suplari — A provider delivering Spend Intelligence Cloud that enables finance, procurement and business leaders to continuously and collaboratively optimize sourcing, forecasting, risk and compliance. Built on advanced machine learning for spend agility by automating data, spend analytics, insights and actions to predict and manage costs, cash flow and investments across the enterprise.
    Delivered by Nikesh Parekh, co-Founder & CEO.

Risk and Resilience

  • Prewave — A data analytics start-up specializing in the prediction of supply chain risk from social media data. Supplier monitoring for purchasing, supply chain management and sustainability managers. Helps companies be ready for supply chain due diligence law with sustainability monitoring. Technical University of Vienna spin-off, TUW i2c incubated, supported by Austria Wirtschaftsservice.
    Delivered by Harald Nitschinger, Co-Founder & MD.
  • Risk Ledger — Provides the tools needed to run a comprehensive, security-led, third-party risk management program against the supply chain. Moves away from point-in-time assessments by providing real-time, actionable data collected directly from suppliers, allowing the continuous identification, measurement and management of a comprehensive set of third-party risks at speed and at scale for a low, per-supplier cost. Network model gives visibility of risks beyond third parties.
    Delivered by Ashley Mitchell, Head of Growth & Marketing.


  • Circulor — Brings traceability to complex industrial supply chains, helping customers to demonstrate responsible sourcing, to monitor inherited emissions from the supply chain and to underpin their circular economy ambitions. Helps procurement and sustainability professionals to see and manage what was previously invisible.
    Delivered by Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, co-Founder & CEO.
  • Cirplus — Global B2B marketplace for recycled materials and plastic waste, helping to make buying and selling recycled plastics easier and more efficient, connecting the plastic and recycling industries. Transparency, global reach and standard-setting are a few of the features to help make plastics 100% circular. Lowers the transaction costs for recycled plastics and reduces environmental footprint. Based in Germany.
    Delivered by Luis Geisselhardt, Senior Product Owner.

An overall vote was taken, and the top start-up this year was Prewave.

Congratulations to all the start-ups that took part and to the winning teams.

(See below for Spend Matters’ coverage of several of the finalists.)