Koble Signs Huge Deal With Xpand In Asia For Procurement Matchmaking Tool

Exciting news today from Koble … the firm we’ve featured over the past couple of years for two reasons.

  1. Jason Busch and I were initial small-scale investors in the firm; because we thought it was a good idea and because we thought founder Fabrice Saporito (who used to be CEO of Sievo) was and is a talented, visionary and all-round excellent person.
  2. We think Koble meets a need that other technology products and platforms don’t meet, even giant firms like LinkedIn and Google that might address it peripherally (but not very well). I can say hand on heart that “Koble is a good idea and procurement executives should take a look at it”, knowing that I would say the same thing if I wasn’t an investor.

Anyway, as the press release says, today “Koble, a leading global business-to-business matchmaking platform, which signed an Asia-wide exclusive licensing agreement with Axiata Business Services Sdn. Bhd., operating under the brand Xpand., to offer millions of small and medium-sized enterprises a digital business matchmaking service to meet clients and suppliers that are a perfect match for commercial opportunities”.

Xpand is a subsidiary of Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata), one of Asia’s largest telecommunications groups with more than 350 million customers and a presence in 11 countries.

The Koble platform enables buyers and sellers to connect - enabling suppliers (particularly small, young, innovative firms) to find buyer and buyers to find suppliers … you get the idea. (By the way, if the UK government was serious about its target for buying more from smaller firms it would adopt Koble.)

One of the things we always liked about Koble was the ability for buyers to find out more about firms that looked interesting as potential suppliers, without giving away their own identify as buyers too early – and there are a number of reasons why buyers often want to do that.

“Koble promotes authenticity, privacy and relevance to help professionals uncover genuine business relationships. On the app, a match is created after a user has shown interest in the content posted by another user or by viewing its profile. From here the user can start a chat with their match and convince them to reveal their identity. When successful, users are free to connect, meet and freely communicate”.

Anyway, this is a huge step for Koble, and I’ve seen recently some really big name buyers signing up to the platform – GE, Oracle, Axa, Carlsberg are mentioned in the press release but there are others, including one of the biggest FMCG firms in the world. It really does look like the platform is getting traction – so do take a look.  It will also be interesting to see if similar partnerships emerge for Koble in other parts of the world, including Europe.

As we have said many times before, if the role of procurement is NOT to find exciting new suppliers who can deliver competitive advantage to our organisations … then what exactly are we here for? Because the robots will do an awful lot of the other stuff, as we've been saying throughout our "Future of Procurement" series this summer!

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