SaaS startup stimulus today announced the close of a $2.5 million subscription crowdfunding seed round led by Black Ops Ventures.
Tiffany Standard launched the company in 2017 with a focus on the supply chain, creating a product that provides tools and information for institutions to select, compare and create relationships with suppliers and suppliers. The result is a product that helps businesses cut costs by eliminating unrelated suppliers while promoting diverse suppliers to companies they might otherwise ignore.
“You have to be exposed to small businesses from family names,” Stannard told TechCrunch. “It’s going from discovery to matching in real time.”
Stannard founded the company after her own experience as a buyer and seller manager. She realizes that the job always comes down to two points: who you know and what information you have to make a decision. She hopes Stimulus will digitize the process of building brand-to-brand relationships in an efficient and easy-to-use way for both parties.
Her product is popular with investors, most notably Morgan Stanley, The BFM Fund and Northwestern Mutual Futures Ventures. Stannard originally asked for $1.5 million, though it was oversubscribed as more investors showed interest in her product.
“We’ve been able to exceed our goal with great partners, especially strategic partners, who are trying to have more visibility in their supply chain,” she said, adding that the conversation around supply chain and diversity has increased over the past few months.
This year, she met her co-founder, Black Ops Ventures general partner James Norman, at SXSW through a mutual friend. Norman told TechCrunch that he knew right away that Stannard was the right founder to build an incentive for.
“Her experience in procurement and the environment allowed her to quickly develop a solution that fit within her early target segment,” said Norman. “As we learned more about the business, it was clear how we could collaborate to grow her efforts.”
Darko Capital founder David Adelman, an early investor in Stimulus, echoed these sentiments about why he was drawn to the startup in the first place.
“When Tiffany told me about Stimulation, I knew right away that this was a solution we could all use,” he told TechCrunch. “As a community, we owe it to each other to understand how we can use this kind of thinking to improve our own businesses, and I’m incredibly excited to continue to support it.”
Standard plans to use the funds in sales, data and engineering hires and to expand Stimulus’ partnerships with existing companies. She hopes the company will introduce institutions to a diverse set of suppliers to grow minority-owned businesses, which are often excluded from retail.
After accumulating more than 15 years of industry experience, Stanard has come up with a boost.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Stannard grew up helping her mother and grandmother sell Mary Kay and Avon products. She said the experience got her interested in selling, and she learned about the concept of entrepreneurship during her senior year of high school.
She spent six years as a payroll and supplier manager before starting her own company, Prestige Concepts, where she advised large companies such as Comcast, Microsoft and McDonald’s on their supplier relationships and business expansion.
She spent 14 years working there before leaving to focus on stimulation.
“What did I learn? Have more motivation within yourself,” she said, adding that the road to entrepreneurship is long and often arduous. “Belief in yourself takes you a long way to get there.”