One of Kansas City’s earliest startups to watch of the past decade has been acquired by an Oregon-based competitor.
RFPIO announced the purchase of RFP360, a Leawood-based software-as-a-service startup, Tuesday morning. A dollar amount for the deal was not disclosed.
RFP360’s elevator pitch: We develop software solutions that transform how organizations worldwide request information, respond to requests and connect — making the RFP and proposal process far more efficient, effective, collaborative, consistent and repeatable for everyone. Our complete approach covers every angle, from knowledge management and response automation to request development and vendor evaluation.
“Through this acquisition, I’m extremely excited about the future as we work together to drive innovation in response management and similarly advance our request management offering in the strategic sourcing market,” said David Hulsen, who co-founded RFP360 (then RFP365) alongside Stuart Ludlow in 2012 — three years prior to the founding of RFPIO, in a release.
“I’ve truly enjoyed competing with RFPIO over the years and always respected the way they approached the market and their customers. It certainly wasn’t a surprise to see them grow quickly into a category leader.”
As part of the acquisition, Hulsen will join the RFPIO leadership team. More than 40 RFP360 employees are also expected to continue on with the company, he told Startland News, noting he anticipates the deal could further develop Kansas City’s talent pool through job creation.
Serial entrepreneur Ludlow left the company’s daily operations in February 2020.
Having already outgrown the Kansas City Startup Village — a now-defunct, largely informal cluster of startups that developed in a single neighborhood after the launch of Google Fiber in 2012 and was seen as a catalyst for much of the 2010s’ early startup boom — RFP360 relocated its team to new headquarters in Leawood in mid-2019, before going remote because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company logged a second strategic growth investment from Five Elms Capital in March 2020, bringing its total funding haul to more than $12 million.
Click here to find out why RFP360 was selected as one of Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2018.
“By acquiring RFP360, RFPIO is continuing to invest in the advancement of response management by expanding its breadth of solutions and the audiences it serves,” RFPIO said, noting the combined platforms will expand solutions offerings for both request for proposal issuers and responders, ultimately strengthening its position as the leading provider of response management software to companies of any size or scope.
“When we founded RFPIO, we had two primary goals. First, to build a SaaS solution to advance the RFP software market and support sales teams in revenue generation from RFP response,” explained Ganesh Shankar, CEO.
“Second, co-founders AJ Sunder, Sankar Lagudu and I wanted to create a company offering an environment where we were excited to go to work. This acquisition enhances both of these goals.”
Shankar is expected to retain his role as CEO of the combined companies.
The largely local funding raised throughout RFP360’s run helped make the RFP and proposal process more efficient, effective, collaborative, consistent and repeatable, the startup said.
Hulsen added that he’s eager to see what the return on investment for firms like Five Elms could mean for the future of Kansas City’s startup ecosystem.