RFP360 is coming full circle, said Stuart Ludlow, as the software company he co-founded with David Hulsen in the Kansas City Startup Village once again levels up to accommodate a swelling team and increasing market demand.
“We’re moving into a place — scale and scope — that Dave and I envisioned,” said Ludlow, who also serves as lead engineer at RFP360. “In the early days, we were so focused on getting one foot in front of the other. Now, you look up and seven years have gone by and all of the sudden we realize we’ve gone a really long way. And we can see how much further we have to go.”
The Kansas City-based company, which streamlines the repetitive and often arduous request for proposal (RFP) process with a software-as-a-service platform, moved this week to a new office space at 8700 State Line Road in Leawood.
Having already outgrown the Startup Village — a now-defunct, largely informal cluster of startups that developed in a single neighborhood after the launch of Google Fiber in 2012 — RFP360 previously operated offices in Waldo and at Plexpod Westport Commons with its team split nearly equally between the sites.
“Now all 41 of us are finally coming back under one roof,” Ludlow said, reflecting on the new space, which isn’t expected to reach capacity until the startup hits about 80 employees.
“Our first two employees are still here,” Ludlow added. “Two sales reps — Bryce Gilman and Patrick Fields — worked in the Startup Village with us. They moved over to Waldo when we had six people with us. And now they’ve seen us get to 41, moving to this 11,000-square-foot, very modern office designed by an architectural company.”
Click here to read why RFP360, formerly RFP365, was named one of Startland’s Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2018.
Expansion of the team comes as RFP360 experiences natural year-over-year business growth, as well as the impact of a funding round and cash injection in December, Ludlow said. The headcount was just 18 before the round, he detailed. The strategic investment from Five Elms Capital also helped spur the hiring of former Perceptive Software executive David Lintz as RFP360’s first CEO.
Increased market opportunities have played a significant role in the company’s upward trajectory, said Lintz, with the startup moving beyond connotations related to its name.
“People tend to hear that and say, ‘OK. You do something with RFPs.’ And they’re going to define us based on what they know [about RFPs],” Lintz said. “As you get into different industries — financial services, higher education, government — and then some of the departments within them, you see that what we solve for with RFPs really takes on all shapes and forms. But our technology is applicable beyond the traditional RFP — to a lot of business transactions that are related to RFPs: security questionnaires, requests for qualifications, DDQs [due diligence questionnaires]; you get into a lot of nuanced sub-processes.”
“We’re built for the future,” he added. “Getting space that accommodates our team is a step forward.”
The startup’s first day in its new home was Thursday, Lintz said, noting the space should hold RFP360 for a couple of years.
“We always think in terms of a future state, but we never go more than two years out because it’s impossible to predict just how fast we might grow,” he said.
The move also comes just months after RFP360 was named one of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Top 10 Small Businesses. Surprised by the honor, Lintz said, the team has welcomed its lasting effects.
“From a business standpoint, it’s just been great,” he said. “Candidly, we’ve gotten a lot of great exposure: active sales opportunities across Greater Kansas City, and probably most importantly, a lot of visibility to potential employees. People are starting to find us. Everyone wants to work for a winner, and we couldn’t have purchased the kind of awareness that came with the honor.”