SaaS startup Stimulus today announced the closing of an oversubscribed $2.5 million funding round led by Black Ops Ventures.
Tiffanie Stanard launched the company in 2017 with a focus on the supply chain, creating a product that provided establishments with the tools and data to choose, compare and build relationships with product suppliers and sellers. . The result is a product that helps businesses reduce costs by avoiding incompatible vendors while introducing diverse vendors to businesses that might otherwise have overlooked them.
“You have exposure from household names to small companies run by underrepresented founders,” Stanard told TechCrunch. “It ranges from discovery to real-time matching.”
Stanard started the company after his own experiences as a buyer and supplier manager. She discovered that the job always comes down to two things: who you know and what information you have to make decisions. She hopes Stimulus can digitize the process of building brand-to-brand relationships in a way that is efficient and easy to use for both parties.
Its product is a hit with investors, the most notable of which are Morgan Stanley, The BFM Fund and Northwestern Mutual Futures Ventures. Stanard originally asked for $1.5 million, but was oversubscribed as more investors showed interest in his product.
“We were able to exceed our target with great partners, especially strategic partners, as they try to get more visibility into their own supply chain,” she said, adding that the conversation around supply chain and diversity has intensified in recent months.
This year, she met her lead investor, James Norman, general partner of Black Ops Ventures, at SXSW through a mutual friend. Norman told TechCrunch he immediately knew Stanard was the right founder to build Stimulus.
“Her background in and around procurement uniquely positioned her to develop a solution that could quickly find a place in her first target segment,” Norman said. “As we learned more about the company, it was clear how we could collaborate to scale up its efforts.”
Darco Capital founder David Adelman, an early investor in Stimulus, echoed those sentiments as to why he was first drawn to the startup.
“When Tiffanie approached me about Stimulus, I immediately knew it was a solution we could all use,” he told TechCrunch. “As a society, we need to understand how we can use this kind of thinking to improve our own businesses, and it’s thinking that I’m incredibly excited to continue supporting.”
Stanard plans to use the money to hire more in sales, data and engineering and to expand Stimulus’ partnerships with existing companies. She also hopes the company will introduce establishments to a more diverse set of vendors, boosting minority-owned businesses often excluded from retail shelves.
Stimulus came after Stanard had amassed over 15 years of industry experience.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Stanard grew up helping her mother and grandmother sell Mary Kay and Avon products. She said the experience piqued her interest in sales and she learned the concept of entrepreneurship after taking a course on it during her senior year of high school.
She spent six years as a payroll and vendor manager before starting her own company, Prestige Concepts, which advised large corporations like Comcast, Microsoft and McDonald’s on building vendor relationships and growing their businesses.
She spent 14 years working there before leaving to focus on Stimulus.
“What did I learn? Have more encouragement within yourself,” she said, adding that the entrepreneurial journey is long and often arduous. “Your self-confidence will get you through the long journey it takes to get there.”