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Spend Matters Future 5 2023 – Why we chose Calculum

11/09/2023 By and

Spend Matters is delighted to announce the 2023 roster for our ‘Future 5’ list. For the fifth year in a row, our analysts have highlighted five start-ups that excite them the most. This year, the five companies that have proven themselves as potential future trend setters are akirolabs, Calculum, dSilo, Mithra and ORO Labs.

To warrant such attention, these vendors must have a product that is ideally 2 to 5 years old, is used by more than five customers and displays an innovative application of technology. Moreover, these vendors must have less than $10 million in revenue and our analysts must find them both sustainable and growing with a clear momentum. In this series of articles, we explain what these vendors offer, why they are likely to become future members of our ’50 Procurement Providers to Watch’ and ’50 Procurement Providers to Know’ lists and what challenges they may face.

In no order of preference, today we are sharing the reasoning behind our selection of Calculum.

What it does

Calculum is a cloud-based analytics solution that specializes in optimizing payment terms. It currently supports buyers (suppliers are on the roadmap) and can be integrated into procurement and accounts payable IT solutions.

Calculum’s goal is to make a supply chain more competitive by optimizing payment terms between buyer organizations and their suppliers (which it does primarily through AI), e.g., how they compare themselves with their competitors, how trading partners are chosen, how terms are negotiated, how risk is assessed and thus how much working capital and cash flow can be unlocked. While Calculum has plans to expand into accounts receivables in the future, currently, Calculum focuses mainly on accounts payable.

Why we chose it

We number Calculum among the Future 5 because, while spend analytics solutions are in plentiful supply, one with such a niche capability as payment terms analytics is largely unique, bringing untapped potential to the market. Because of this unique focus, it may be of interest to companies of any size or industry.

Calculum’s value proposition lies in its focus on data: Calculum offers data-as-a-service and helps clients improve their payment terms via its AI-driven solution, ADA. Through ADA, Calculum offers customized negotiation scripts based on each supplier’s characteristics and includes necessary arguments to help procurement find success with negotiations.

Calculum’s value proposition will continue to grow and expand with already planned features such as adding analytics on the supplier side and data for second- and third-tier suppliers. We also see a potential to add deeper benchmarking capabilities and expand into the larger spend analytics or CLM spaces (eg., using its negotiation powers in a different way). As the first vendor to focus solely on this unique space, it will undoubtedly grow to be highly influential.

Any threats or challenges ahead?

Like all of our Future 5 vendors it is very young, which means largely untested. Additionally, unlike the others, it is extremely niche. It can still be of great value if it is truly integrated into accounts payable processes rather than working outside the grid of P2P/AP automation (or S2P) solutions, but this is a limitation.

Additionally, beyond general market concerns, the fact that it is so niche may prove to be unsustainable unless it develops rapidly. At this time it does not offer general spend analysis or management services nor does it offer contract lifecycle management services, so it does not slot smoothly into a larger value proposition that many organizations look for. This is important to note as it may be viewed as an unnecessary ad-on in the market and have trouble succeeding in this era of economic uncertainty.

Look out for more featured coverage of the Spend Matters Future 5 next week.

On October 31, our analysts hosted a webinar that explained their selection process and what makes a provider stand out.

Reach out if you like to know more about becoming a Future 5: 

If you are thinking about buying procurement technology, try consulting Spend Matters TechMatch for a rapid shortlist.

Future 5