Across America and around the world, the COVID pandemic has brought momentous changes to ways of living, working, and doing business. One area in which perceptions and practices have been transformed over the past two years is the importance of managing supply chains.
Helping companies meet the challenges associated with supply chain management is driving the growth of Stimulus, a Philadelphia-based startup that is the latest addition to the Bronze Valley investment portfolio. From sourcing to procurement and purchasing to building strong relationships with vendors and suppliers, Stimulus uses a proprietary algorithm to help clients improve their purchasing decisions and build a supply chain that gives them a competitive advantage.
“Supply chain is the new sexy issue,” said Tiffanie Stanard, the founder and CEO of Stimulus. “Everything we eat, drink, wear, and use comes from a different place, a different company. COVID humanized that. It made people understand why it’s important and why it needs to be streamlined and managed properly. That’s creating opportunities for our company.”
Prior to founding Stimulus in 2017, Stanard was a former executive in vendor management, with over 15 years of experience working with vendors and suppliers for some of the largest publicly traded companies in the country. That experience equipped her with an understanding of what she calls “relationship intelligence,” the bottom-line impact that comes from building a strong network of suppliers and giving them the same level of attention and courtesy that employees and customers receive.
“Sourcing and procurement are strategic functions,” Stanard said, pointing out that companies spend more on suppliers than any other balance sheet item. “It’s important to focus on who you’re working with and why you’re working with them.”
Relationship intelligence extends to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a Black woman founder, the challenges of demonstrating the ability to grow a startup are multiplied, Stanard said. But so is the level of knowledge and perspective about how companies can best achieve goals relative to diversifying their supplier base — and to corporate responsibility in general.
“I know what’s missing in the market,” said Stanard. “That knowledge informs our ability to help the people we work with make decisions that give them traction on controlling costs, building better relationships with vendors, and being responsible as an organization.”
Bronze Valley’s investment in Stimulus was a few years in the making. Stanard met Bronze Valley President and CEO Neill S. Wright in 2019, as her company was pivoting its mission to focus primarily on matching companies to vendors. The two remained in contact as the growth of Stimulus continued to align with the mission and objectives of Bronze Valley.
“The timing is right,” said Wright. “Stimulus is bringing true innovation to the field of sourcing and procurement. Their success to date and their trajectory for the future make this company an attractive investment for Bronze Valley.”
Bronze Valley is a non-profit, early-stage venture investment platform that supports high growth innovation and technology-enabled companies created by diverse, underrepresented, and underestimated founders. It is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).