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FedBid's Big Plans
March 11, 2013

FedBid's Big Plans

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE — DC Region) invites you to celebrate the area's young entrepreneurs and future leaders who dare to dream. The 16th Annual Dare To Dream Gala happens on Wednesday, April 10. Find out more and RSVP here.

2012 was one for the FedBid history books. The company wooed investors like Steve Case and Ted Leonsis and managed a fed purchasing marketplace with $1.4B in transactions. So what's next?

The company helps federal agencies buy everything from chairs and desks to gravel and medical equipment through a fully-managed online reverse auction marketplace. (Think Orbitz for fed purchases.) FedBid execs now envision an Amazon-like marketplace where business buyers have control over what they pay for goods. The commercial piece has begun with several companies using FedBid for big-ticket transactions. The company also started focusing on the state, local, and education market and plans to grow it to 20% of transactions. We recently visited FedBid's Vienna, Va., HQ and found marketplace operations SVP Gregg Brandyberry, marketing VP Andres Mancini, chief marketplace officer Bobby Feigler, and federal SVP Doug Stuck
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The marketplace team, which includes Carlin Hilliard and Jul Rose, helps find and validate vendors for some of the contracts posted. FedBid's marketplace already has about 60,000 sellers but when a buyer needs something specific, like barricades for the Inauguration, FedBid looks for manufacturers that may not be in the system. It's newest state and local client is Detroit Public Schools. 

Around the corner sits the rest of the marketplace team, which help guide the reverse auctions. (Because of the nature of their job, we held the camera upside-down so it would come out right.) The company says buyers save an average of 11% on purchases, which average $45,000. The company gets a small percentage fee on top of the contract price. If the transaction doesn't save the buyer money, they're not obligated to make the purchase. Andres says the service has helped several small businesses establish new business with fed customers. Part of the company's interest in getting an investment from Revolution Growth Fund last year was the ability to get into the commercial space through Steve and Ted's contacts.

Making Home Buying A Snap

homesnap-Guy Wolcott
Homesnap (formerly known as Sawbuck), launched a mobile real estate platform that builds on its hugely popular web-based home hunting application. CEO Guy Wolcott says the platform has a unique social graph where home buyers can take photos, post them to the app, and get feedback from friends, family, and realtors. Agents can also instantly chat with clients and recommend homes. Revenue is generated when a buyer uses Homesnap to find a realtor and buy a home.

Guy, who raised $3.5 million from Revolution Ventures last summer, says the app also appeals to people who aren't necessarily looking for a house but are curious about what $20 million will buy you in Miami or Beverly Hills. The entire 14-person company was at SXSW last week demo-ing the product, competing against other startups for funding and bragging rights—and doing the usual schmoozing. Guy says the long-term goal is to add apartments and foreclosed homes. He also envisions forming a partnership or licensing agreement to offer a commercial real estate product.

How To Win Federal Government IT Business

In their recently published book, Management Concepts Press authors David Perera and Steve Charles offer you keys to selling IT goods and services to the government. The Inside Guide to the Federal IT Market explains how to get your piece of the tens of billions of dollars the federal government spends each year on IT. The takeaway: Think past the dollar signs. The government is seeking people who are concerned with helping execute a mission. Get in sync with the mission (and its budget). This way to play has never been more true or useful: Think of how your product or service can bring efficiencies to the government during the sequestration. Chapter topics include technology standards, contracting concepts, ethics, and GSA schedules. To download an excerpt, visit our sponsor here.

DC Tech Get Exposed at SXSW

There's a good chance that several of these SXSW attendees are from DC. And some will compete in the 5th annual startup accelerator that starts today, including Zoomdata, ReelGenie, Tista Games, and Home Team Therapy. Zoomdata co-founder Justin Langseth told us before he left with his 16-person team that one of the best ways to get exposure at the 25,000-attendee tech portion of the event was competing in the accelerator. 500 applicants were narrowed down to 48, who will present their tech. From there, 18 will move on to another round and one winner will be selected from the six industry categories. The prize: some tech toys, SXSW badges, and exposure. 

What trade shows give your company and tech the best exposure? Tell Bisnow's Tania Anderson.

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