Most founders know what working toward PMF (product-market fit) at a startup looks like—it takes hard work and months (or sometimes years) to achieve. As investors, we sometimes are lucky enough to come across the elusive “FMF” (founder-market fit) even prior to the PMF stage. FMF is when the founders have an innate understanding of the market that they’re targeting and embody the solution that they’re looking to build.
That is exactly what we encountered when we met Sudhir Bhojwani, Lalitha Rajagopalan, and Yuan Tung, the co-founders of Oro. Akin to the name of the company (Oro means gold in Italian), we felt like we had struck gold.
Our partnership with the Oro team has a long history (dating back to the PowerPoint pitch stage when we brainstormed the startup name), and we are ecstatic to announce our investment today as the company emerges from stealth!
Experienced Founding Team with Strong FMF
Sudhir, CEO and co-founder of Oro, is an experienced product visionary in the procurement space. He initially joined Ariba in 2010 and rose through the ranks after the company was acquired by SAP. He most recently served as the chief product officer at SAP Ariba, and his FMF edge is that he intimately understands the challenges that buyers feel when onboarding suppliers and managing those relationships.
When he decided to set off on his own, he recruited two long-time colleagues from SAP Ariba, Yuan and Lalitha, as co-founders to start Oro. Sudhir, Yuan, and Lalitha complement each other incredibly well. They are a “dream team” to build a business in the procurement space.
Critical Pain Point in a Large Supply Chain and Procurement Market
As enterprises become more globalized, the volume of critical purchases and vendors has increased significantly. Today, Fortune 500 companies have tens to hundreds of thousands of suppliers to manage with little to no visibility into the associated spend pipeline. Employees are forced to wrestle with a complex, manual purchasing process, while supplier onboarding and qualification has become a tedious, disorganized, and expensive process. Existing solutions do not scale or integrate well with ERP systems, resulting in purchase and vendor data being managed manually in offline spreadsheets and scattered across various systems. Potential Oro customers strongly endorsed the company’s value proposition.
Here at Norwest, we have invested heavily in the supply chain and procurement space over the past few years. We have backed strong teams at companies such as 3rdwave, 6 Rivers, Avetta, Enable, Propel, SourceDay, and Supplier.io.
A Single Source of Truth Platform for Supplier Management
Oro is building a next-generation platform to accelerate business-critical purchases and onboard and manage supplier relationships at scale—think of it as a “modern procurement fabric.” For business users in most companies, making needed purchases and engaging with suppliers can take weeks to months. Current solutions are designed around linear, repetitive purchases or simple transactions (e.g., spend approval), but they are not designed to automate complex, decentralized procurement. Oro’s composable workflows complement existing ERP and procurement platforms to facilitate self-service for employees and vendors, as well as unifies the purchasing process across multiple business systems. The result is not only high user adoption based on an amazing user experience but also full vendor compliance for large enterprises and medium-sized businesses alike. We are excited about the company’s vision to become the de facto enterprise supplier management solution.
Oro has exceeded our expectations to date and we can’t wait to see what’s next. We extend Sudhir, Lalitha, Yuan, and the rest of the team a hearty welcome to the Norwest family!