Marketplace.city is one of those companies public officials should be interested in checking out. The company offers a procurement platform that doesn’t seek to replace procurement systems, but to bring data, context and transparency to the process. This includes sharing pricing amounts between participating governments. And the best part is that it doesn’t charge the governments, but the winning vendors.
Thanks to this feat, Marketplace.city — which officially launched in 2017 — has managed to grow relatively quickly and is now being used by more than 200 governments. The list includes giants such as New York City, Los Angeles, London, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Kansas City and Fort Lauderdale — as well as smaller jurisdictions such as Rochester, Mich., and Adams County, Ill.
Such an impressive roster of clients has helped the company raise venture funding worth $1 million, in a round that was led by Network Ventures and Principio Capital.
“There are certain purchases that every city, town, and county around the world need to make, so when a platform like Marketplace.city can bring fragmented data into one location you can have a massive impact across a broad set of customers that are using the same initial data set,” Jeff Maters, founder and managing director of Network Ventures, said in March 2021 when the money was raised. “As they make purchases, that new data feeds back into the system to better inform customers downstream. Eventually the data can be prescriptive to help local governments identify gaps and where they should be investing their budget.”
Marketplace.city does its magic by aggregating public-sector contracts so that city procurement officials can learn about prospective vendors’ past business with other municipalities and helps cities and vendors connect with each other.
“Increasingly, technology investments are made outside of traditional Information Technology departments as contactless services, public health, public works and public safety are joining the digital economy,” said Chris Foreman, Marketplace.city’s CEO. “This shift has been accelerated by COVID-19 and social justice calls for greater transparency and accountability. Local governments find themselves under immense pressure to innovate but lack the data, resources, and time to make informed purchasing decisions, so they turn to us.”
The company has received particular attention for its work with the city of Aurora, Ill., nearby its Chicago headquarters. It signed a memorandum of understanding with that city in 2019 to handle its IT procurement. In the statement, Aurora CIO Michael Pegues said the city has successfully used Marketplace.city to purchase technology for Next-Generation 911, cybersecurity and more. It’s currently finalizing a body-worn camera purchase as well.
“Previously our projects would take many months if not years to complete, now we are seeing projects complete on average in 100 days, and we are finding better pricing than ever before,” Pegues said.
According to data from the Urban Institute, state and local governments spend about $3.1 trillion annually, $100 billion of which goes toward technology. So if you're looking to spend some of the public money, you could just as well spend it wisely. That's where Marketplace.city's service comes in — bringing data, context and transparency to the procurement process. At the end of the day, you won't be paying for the service as the company will take its cut from the winning vendor. It's one of those win-win deals and we like it.
According to data from the Urban Institute, state and local governments spend about $3.1 trillion annually, $100 billion of which goes toward technology. So perhaps you could find your place as a middleman in this kind of a transaction. Or, maybe you could consult the municipal government on how to better handle the procurement process by introducing them to Marketplace.city's service — which will bring data, context and transparency to the process. If you see your company and yourself in this kind of a deal, start by contacting Marketplace.city and take it from there.