SaaS startup Stimulus today announced the closing of an oversubscribed $2.5 million seed round led by Black Ops Ventures.
Tiffanie Stanard launched the company in 2017 with a focus on supply chain, creating a product that gave establishments the tools and data to choose, compare, and build relationships with suppliers and sellers of products. The result is a product that helps companies reduce costs by avoiding mismatched suppliers while introducing diverse suppliers to companies that might have missed them.
“It has exposure from household names to smaller companies run by underrepresented founders,” Stanard told TechCrunch. “Go from discovery to real-time matching.”
Stanard established the company after his own experiences as a purchasing and supplier manager. He discovered that the work always came down to two points: who you know and what information you have to make decisions. She hopes that Stimulus can digitize the brand-to-brand relationship-building process in a way that is efficient and user-friendly for both parties.
Their product is a hit with investors, the most notable of which include Morgan Stanley, The BFM Fund, and Northwestern Mutual Futures Ventures. Stanard originally asked for $1.5 million, though he was oversubscribed as more investors became interested in his product.
“We were able to exceed our goal with great partners, especially strategic partners, as they are trying to get more visibility into their own supply chain,” he said, adding that the conversation around supply chain and diversity has increased in recent months. .
This year, he met his lead investor, Black Ops Ventures General Partner James Norman, at SXSW through a mutual friend. Norman told TechCrunch that he immediately knew Stanard was the right founder to build Stimulus.
“Her experience in and around purchasing uniquely positioned her to develop a solution that could quickly fit within her first target segment,” said Norman. “As we learned more about the business, it became clear how we could collaborate to scale their efforts.”
Darco Capital founder David Adelman, an early investor in Stimulus, echoed these sentiments as to why he was first drawn to the startup.
“When Tiffanie reached out to me about Stimulus, I knew right away that this was a solution we could all use,” he told TechCrunch. “We as a society owe it to each other to understand how we can use this kind of thinking to improve our own businesses, and it’s something I’m incredibly excited to continue to support.”
Stanard plans to use the money to hire more in sales, data and engineering and expand Stimulus’ partnerships with existing companies. She also hopes the company will introduce stores to a more diverse set of suppliers, in a boost to minority-owned businesses often excluded from retail shelves.
The encouragement came after Stanard amassed more than 15 years of experience in the industry.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Stanard grew up helping her mother and grandmother sell Mary Kay and Avon products. She said the experience sparked her interest in selling, and she learned about the concept of entrepreneurship after taking a class during her senior year of high school.
He spent six years as a payroll and supplier manager before starting his own company, Prestige Concepts, which advised well-known companies such as Comcast, Microsoft and McDonald’s on building supplier relationships and expanding their businesses.
He spent 14 years working there before leaving to focus on Stimulus.
“I’ve learned? Have more encouragement in yourself,” she said, adding that the entrepreneurial path is long and often arduous. “Your self-confidence will get you through the long journey it takes to get there.”