(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following interview occurred before Vendor Registry was selected for this week’s “The TENN Roadshow,” a program of Launch Tennessee.)
By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.
We had a unique opportunity recently to be the proverbial “fly on the wall” as Knoxville-based Vendor Registry met with one of the early clients for its service that makes it easier for vendors to do business with state and local governments and other institutions.
The discussion took place in the offices of Cannon & Cannon, a 17-year old engineering and survey services firm located in West Knoxville. During the nearly 90-minute meeting, the two firms discussed everything from ways that Vendor Registry has enhanced Cannon & Cannon’s responses to ideas for future service enhancements.
“We are very impressed with the product,” said Angie Cannon, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the firm that bears her name and that of her husband. “Vendor Registry has caught things we would not have known about.”
The ability to enhance awareness and connections between procurement offices and bidders is the focus of Vendor Registry. In the case of Cannon & Cannon, the direct value has been realized.
“We would not have known about it,” Houston Daugherty, Cannon & Cannon’s Vice President and Director of Business Development, said about a recent Lincoln County, TN solicitation. By subscribing to Vendor Registry’s service and specifying the types of solicitations it wanted to see, Cannon & Cannon was made aware of the opportunity.
“We would have had no clue,” Cannon said, referencing the Lincoln County solicitation and more than a dozen others.
She added that the early awareness makes it easier to manage opportunities.
“The biggest advantage is to line-up teaming opportunities and to make a decision on whether to go (for it) or not,” Cannon said, adding that it also opens-up knowledge of opportunities in smaller cities and counties that might not have been on Cannon & Cannon’s radar in the past.
Cannon & Cannon prides itself on the relationships that it has built with its clients.
Prior to subscribing to Vendor Registry, Daugherty said Cannon & Cannon had to troll through newspaper articles and notices to find bid opportunities. Now, that work is handled by Vendor Registry.
“Vendor Registry is more than a clipping service – something that Cannon & Cannon has also used,” Daugherty said. “It goes beyond by having procurement agencies ‘sign on’ and thereby consciously using their (Vendor Registry) service.”
He added that local governments are increasingly routing professional services work through procurement offices, rather than direct solicitation, a fact that makes the Vendor Registry service even more valuable.
Brian Strong, Vendor Registry’s CEO and Co-Founder, and Chris Van Beke, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, also participated in the discussion. The latter unveiled some upcoming enhancements to their service.
“We’re going to allow vendors to be more specific on the types of bids they want to receive,” he said. Strong added this enhancement will expand the customization for subscribers from 350 to 9,000 buckets, something that Cannon said would be “very helpful for us.”
For now, Vendor Registry is primarily focused on East and Middle Tennessee, but the company has plans to be at least statewide by the end of the year. As the footprint expands, Van Beke said the start-up is adopting a regional strategy whereby firms like Cannon & Cannon can subscribe to solicitations for a specific geographic territory rather than all of the local governments that feed Vendor Registry.
Another feature being developed allows every user to develop a personal account profile.
Strong and Van Beke discussed some additional ideas with Cannon and Daugherty and gained useful feedback on those possibilities.
Vendor Registry doesn’t know how fast it’s going to grow geographically. “We’d like to grow faster and farther, but it depends in large part to securing investment capital,” Van Beke says.
“If we’re really good at what we do and we only grow as far as Tennessee, we could be happy with that,” Strong says. “However, we really have our sights set on growing across the Southeast, if not nationally.”
Previous teknovation.biz articles about Vendor Registry can be found at: