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Founder Q&A: from bootstrapping to blooming growth

Based in Gateshead, Bloom Procurement is a procurement marketplace for public sector buyers. The business was founded by Adam Jacobs, a self-described “bootstrap entrepreneur”, who saw a gap in the market for a fully managed procurement specialist with social value at its heart. In 2021, the company received £14 million from BGF.

Adam Jacobs, Founder and Executive Chairman, Bloom Procurement Services

What made you decide to start the business?

“When I set Bloom up there was a compelling business case to improve how procurement operated – in essence to make people’s lives better and create a more efficient process. For me, there was a much better way of spending public money to achieve desired outcomes, while reducing bureaucracy and enabling organisations to connect with a market they never knew existed. We allow businesses and suppliers to cut out unnecessary time and deliver significant savings on annual budgets.”

What is your vision for the business?

“I want to scale as quickly as possible. As a business, we want to reach a wider market and create real cost savings for the taxpayer. The market still needs to mature. However, we are in a real position to influence, lead, drive and execute social value, while becoming a great British success story. Ultimately, we want to be ubiquitous in the world of procurement, just like Uber is to taxis.”

Why did you decide to consider external business funding?

“I had a sense of what was possible and asked myself: can I continue to bootstrap the business? What personal risk am I carrying? And what skills don’t I have? When you’re bootstrapping, you’re forever making compromises and making imperfect decisions. After a number of fireside chats, I realised that I had no choice – I cannot do this myself. We’re dealing with a market where demand is outstripping supply and we needed to move forward faster.”

Why did you decide BGF was the right investment partner for the business?

“Early on in the process, BGF were really focused on taking the time to understand us as a business and build a relationship in a meaningful way. I was very taken by the people at BGF; the emotional intelligence and how they could relate BGF to our development. The more I understood about their investment model – values driven, evergreen, patient capital – the more I realised how much they aligned with our own values.”

How would you describe the culture at Bloom Procurement?

“People really believe in what we are trying to achieve. It’s very rare for an entity to be doing something that’s having a tangible impact on people’s lives, but that’s exactly what we’re doing at Bloom.”

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs considering business funding?

“You need to think about the risks you need to bring to bear to execute a funding exercise. Be relentless – both as a business and as a leader – but don’t take your eye off the ball. You need to keep demonstrating to the market that you’re growing, remain professional and give them confidence in the proposition.”

What else did you learn from the process?

“You need to very clear about what you’re scaling for and what value you’re looking for from an investor. If you know this, you can really test the market. The funding process may be over, but the lessons learned during that period are still bearing fruit for the business.

“Also, the due diligence process is really informative and the data you garner from it is extremely valuable. You get an incredible amount of intelligence about your business, both qualitative and quantitative, and a real insight into the market’s perception of you as a business, in terms of your strengths and the opportunities available, as well as the risks. You’re getting tangible feedback on the state of your business and the market. Use it – not just to get through the process, but to drive your business forward.”

 

 

BGF Insights 04.11.2022
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