Meet scoutbee, winner of the DEMO 2021 startup competition
Meet scoutbee, winner of the DEMO 2021 startup competition.
Powered by EcoVadis, more than 100 startups joined us at DEMO 2021, DPW’s signature startup comptition that showcases the industry’s most disruptive emerging technologies and “the next big thing”. The showdown’s Grand Finale, broadcast live at the DPW Conference 2021, showcased the top ten startups pitching their solutions in five key categories, each one ranking high on the priority list of global procurement organizations. The winner of the “Supplier Value” category was scoutbee.
scoutbee uses AI and big data to provide a supplier intelligence and discovery platform that helps companies both manage existing suppliers and discover new, unknown companies. In 2020, scoutbee raised US$76 million and was recognized with the Gartner “Cool Vendor” award. The company has operations all over the world and lists companies like Unilever, Siemens, Linde and Audi as its customers.
Interview with CEO and co-founder, Gregor Stühler
We caught up with scoutbee CEO and co-founder, Gregor Stühler, who talked us through the company’s past, present and future in an increasingly uncertain world.
Has the term “supply chain” ever been so prominent in people’s consciousness?
Stühler: I think you have a point. The term “supply chain” has transformed from being not well known, boring and grey into a topic that is impactful, top-of-mind, and which has an effect on our planet and society. And that helps to attract talent on a global level as well.
What’s your own background?
Stühler: With qualifications in computer science and industrial engineering, I became a specialist in electronic drive systems, working with robotics and highly innovative machines. The company I worked for had a great reputation for quality and innovation, which was due in large part to our collaboration with innovative suppliers. But, when a rare series of disruptive events put our supply chain at risk – China closed the market for materials that were essential for electronics, and there was a tsunami in Southeast Asia – our procurement team was not prepared, nor did we have any counter-measures in place.
How did scoutbee start out?
Stühler: The disruptive events and the lack of risk mitigation had a big impact on me. I left my job and, during my MBA, I researched decision making in procurement for almost three years; what data points are necessary, and what data needs to be fed into the system in order to enable better and faster procurement decisions. After the MBA, I founded scoutbee and we launched our first product in 2017; a database of international suppliers with multiple data points. Soon, we realized that procurement organizations were not ready for all that data, and we enhanced the product with a work-flow process, called streamline, that automated all non-value-added tasks in the supplier discovery process.
Today, we are proud to say that we are recognized for adding great value to procurement organisations around the world. Most recently, we were honoured to win a Unilever “Partner for Purpose” award. Working together with Unilever shows how scoutbee’s supplier intelligence and discovery platform provides unprecedented supplier market visibility, improved supply chain resilience, and accelerates time to market for innovative products.
How has data transformed procurement?
Stühler: In 2015, we saw little or no data savviness in procurement. In 2017, big data showed up on the radar, but had no real impact. 2019 was the year of automation and 2020 became the year of AI and big data. At scoutbee, we’re trying to redefine the future of procurement, to take on a more strategic role in the company, for which you need big (and smarter!) data to guide your decision making. And not simply to think of digital technology in procurement as a way of primarily saving costs by automating people out of the equation.
What impact did DEMO 2021 have on scoutbee?
Stühler: DEMO definitely had a positive impact. We’re a little bit beyond the start-up stage but we certainly profited from the exposure. I think, in many ways, DPW is proof of how the market is transforming. Such a format didn’t exist before 2015. It’s an excellent format – it’s laser-focused and has a great audience. What I really like to see when I present something is how it clicks on the other side, when people say, “I understand, I can relate to that.” That still gives me goosebumps when it happens.
I think, in many ways, DPW is proof of how the market is transforming. Such a format didn’t exist in 2014 or 2015. It’s a very good format – it’s laser-focused and it’s a great audience.Gregor Stühler, Co-Founder & CEO, scoutbee
How has your proposition evolved and what does the future look like?
Stühler: If I look back, we started out to fix strategic data in procurement and to identify every single data point needed to drive strategic decision making in strategic sourcing. Then we realized that the data is also very useful for supplier discovery. Now we’re gravitating towards a combination of those two areas, with a focus on being a supplier data-first platform company. In 2022, we will continue to improve our solutions, and to enable our customers to better utilize internal as well as external data. We’ll tackle topics such as diversity, sustainability and how to empower procurement to become more proactive, to have suppliers at hand in case of disruptive events – basically any procurement topic that requires data to make a more informed strategic decision. We want to work together with all the brilliant data content providers around the globe to really supercharge their data.
How much are you looking forward to the event in Amsterdam?
Stühler: A lot. It makes all the difference to my mind. For scoutbee, as a market leader in using AI and big data to support companies with smart and fast supplier data, for both existing and new suppliers, it’s the place to be. I can’t wait.
Watch scoutbee’s winning pitch at DEMO 2021
Email Norbert Wessendorf to learn more about scoutbee’s award-winning platform.