We’re excited to share that Pavilion has raised a $22M Series A led by Forerunner Ventures, with participation from existing investors Leadout Capital and Neo, as well as marketplace and ecommerce founders we admire: Marco Zappacosta, founder of Thumbtack; Dan Lewis, founder of Convoy; and Katrina Lake, founder of Stitch Fix. We’re grateful to work with outstanding partners in service of our greater mission: empowering public entities to deliver better, faster public services from a larger, more diverse group of businesses.
We’re building Pavilion because public procurement is a powerful lever for improving lives at scale.
And, on the heels of a landmark infrastructure bill, COVID, and rapid ongoing demographic shifts in public entities— now, more than ever, it’s time for technology and public entities to work together.
Each year, state and local public entities spend nearly $2 trillion of our taxpayer dollars contracting with business. From school meals to infrastructure like bridges and EV-charging stations, transportation to pandemic response, public sector purchasing decisions determine the speed and quality of public services. But the public sector purchasing experience is stuck in the 90s.
As private consumers, public servants can buy almost anything online. But when they’re buying on behalf of taxpayers, spending way larger sums of money on projects of greater significance, their buying experience is largely offline.
In part, that’s because public sector purchasing is highly regulated. Public entities can only buy from contracts created through a formal solicitation process, which typically takes 4-24 months. Ironically, the expense and timeline of this process—intended to increase competition—deters many businesses from even considering the public entity market.
As an alternative, public entities can compliantly purchase from contracts that other public entities have already created. This is cooperative purchasing, a legal, underutilized best-practice that can expedite the buying process from years or months down to just days or even hours. Most public servants know about cooperative purchasing—over 90% of state and local public entities have purchased this way. But it is far from mainstream, facilitating just 18-20% of local public entities spending as of 2018.
That’s because to use another public entity’s contract, you have to be able to find it. Today, public servants search for shareable contracts using phone calls, emails, and multiple visits to public entity websites.
Pavilion is bringing the ease and efficiency of online shopping to public procurement, starting with shareable contract search. In the last year, our marketplace of shareable contracts has grown to serve more than 300 state and local public entities spending well over $100M in estimated annual transaction value on our platform. Public entities can now use Pavilion to purchase from more than 40,000 businesses—over a quarter of which have diversity credentials and/or are small businesses— available on over 50,000 active shareable contracts on our platform. And this is just the beginning.
As we embark on the next phase of our journey, we’re grateful to the public servants who have helped us bring this product to life by giving feedback, serving on our Advisory Council, and sharing Pavilion with peers in the profession. Pavilion is—and will continue to be—free for public entities. The public procurement profession is extremely collaborative; we’re committed to building user-friendly, free technology for public entities that empowers this spirit.
We are energized as ever by our mission to empower public entities to deliver better, faster public services from a larger, more diverse group of businesses. Rarely are there green-field opportunities to tackle a multi-trillion dollar market that underpins society, and we are charging ahead. If you’re looking to use your skills to serve a massive, overlooked market with clear social impact, we hope you’ll join us.