Procuring parts and settling on suppliers are two of the most challenging undertakings in supply chain management, it’s safe to say. Companies aren’t always transparent about their networks and capacities, and short of conducting exhaustive searches and validating each candidate individually, the solutions are few and far between.
That’s why, in 2015, four German entrepreneurs — Christian Heinrich, Fabian Heinrich, Gregor Stühler, and Lee Galbraith — founded Scoutbee, which develops and sells access to a uniquely AI-driven supplier discovery platform. They’ve caught the attention of investors, evidently — Scoutbee today announced that it’s raised $12 million in series A funding contributed by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, 42Cap, and Toba Capital, bringing its total raised to $15.5 million.
The company says the bulk of the fresh funds will be put toward customer acquisition in the U.S. and Europe, as well as further development of its AI-powered apps.
“This investment fuels our focus of growing our customer base and operations on two continents,” said Galbraith, Scoutbee’s managing director. “The reception from procurement executives in the U.S. has matched what we’ve seen in Europe — leaders want to see deeper supplier insights, perform strategic scouting faster and profit from faster time to market and innovation. Here in the U.S. where manufacturers are scrambling to respond to imposed tariffs, we can help purchasing leaders evaluate suppliers with speed and precision to remain competitive.”
Scoutbee’s suite — which is underpinned by Artemis, the company’s AI engine — can benchmark existing suppliers from their sourcing behavior with the competition, and find new products and suppliers efficiently thanks to a streamlined catalog. Every 10 weeks, Scoutbee analyzes up to a terabyte of supply chain data, sussing out the relationships among more than 14 million companies, their customers, and over 3,400 OEMs globally.
Scoutbee’s two core products are DeepSee and Streamline, the first of which surfaces suppliers’ pricing, competitive relationships, and delivery track records. Meanwhile, Streamline expedites discovery by enabling customers to filter by specifications and product demands and to track key performance metrics, and which furthermore certifies supplier quality with financial checks and other tests.
Here’s how the process typically works: Users conduct a supplier search and browse Scoutbee’s validated matches, at which point they select partners and negotiate deals through sourcing agents. Scoutbee says its marketplace hosts more than 9.5 million suppliers and 4 billion data sets on trade flows, which it asserts enables it to cut sourcing time from 24 weeks to roughly 2 months.
One customer — Audi — discovered 329 potential suppliers compared with the 38 it found through traditional channels, and completed the “scout-to-source” process in just seven weeks while saving 68%. Other satisfied clients include Adelfiolzener, DMG MORI, Knauf, and Bosch Group’s Rexroth.
“The procurement market is hungry for a disruptive and easy-to-implement solution like Scoutbee’s,” said HV Holtzbrinck Venture partner Jan Miczaika. “While there are many procure-to-pay technologies for chief procurement officers and their teams, Scoutbee, with its AI-powered technology, bridges a huge gap in supplier visibility and the process of sourcing strategic projects.”
Scoutbee is headquartered in Würzburg, Germany, but in January opened offices in Arlington, Virginia.