Editor’s note: Startland News selected the top Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2018’s companies. To view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch, click here.
Ranking just behind root canals and color-coding a walk-in closet, the painstaking process of managing requests for proposals is enough to repel most anyone.
But where there’s vehement disdain, there lies startup opportunity.
Just ask RFP365, a Kansas City-based company that’s streamlining the repetitive and arduous RFP process with a software-as-a-service platform that’s gaining traction around the U.S.
“There’s a lot of inefficiencies in the RFP process and there’s a lot of data that needs to see the light of day and that needs to be unleashed,” said Dave Hulsen, co-founder of RFP365.
Founded in 2012, RFP365 created a software platform for issuers and receivers of requests for proposals — an often onerous process for organizations to solicit bids for commodities, services or assets. The company’s technology helps eliminate redundancies in the RFP process by providing streamlined tools to enable collaboration and improve workflow. It also allows RFP issuers to compare, track and monitor RFPs from respondents.
“It creates a seamless connection so that data is transmitted back and forth in a controlled and audited manner,” Hulsen said.
RFP365 boasts such clients as Lockton Companies, Charles Schwab, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, National Geographic Cengage and AMC Theaters. The tech firm has multiplied its revenue 10 times since 2014 and now employs 13 people.
That growth in part has been fueled by a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem, Hulsen said. A former member of the Kansas City Startup Village, RFP365 outgrew is office/home in the entrepreneurial hamlet thanks to a collaborative network of people, Hulsen added.
Mentoring, connections and hiring referrals are all been an added benefit of being an engaged members of the ecosystem, Hulsen said.
“The community has been a tremendous resource and source of lessons learned,” he said. “There are so many early obstacles we overcome because of our proximity to and engagement in the startup community and the Kansas City Startup Village specifically.”
That community support inspires Hulsen and the RFP365 team to highlight its Kansas City roots, Hulsen said.
“I really want this to be a local, Kansas City story,” he said. “Pretty much every resource we’ve used thus far has been in Kansas City or within driving distance, and all our funding comes from Kansas City.”
With the prospect of adding more Fortune 500 firms to its list of clients, Hulsen said he’s expecting an exceptional 2018.
“There’s some really good momentum within our company,” Hulsen said. “We have assembled a really good team that has the capabilities to continue driving forward, a great sales pipeline that should propel us and will help us attract funding.”