Paola Santana, Founder and CEO
Governments are the single largest buyers in the world. However, public procurement, the process by which governments acquire goods and services, is a fragmented and highly manual $16 trillion dollar global industry that over 400 million small businesses cannot access.
On one hand, government buyers find it difficult to conduct small purchases—simple, discretionary transactions with credit cards and direct purchases, that take significant time, research, training and documentation. On the other hand, small businesses often don’t have the capacity or experience to win big contracts, and their lack of digital infrastructure and low visibility makes it hard for governments to discover and buy from them.
Throughout the years, governments have put a lot of resources into supplier diversity and vendor outreach programs to increase equity and inclusion in public procurement. Still, these efforts haven’t yielded significant results. Government buyers end up swiping their credit cards at big-box retailers and receiving incomplete quotes via email or fax.
Bridging this digital gap and enabling government agencies to make convenient and compliant purchases under their bidding thresholds at the speed of e-commerce, while reaching their socioeconomic goals, is Glass’ objective.
Glass is a Silicon Valley e-Commerce startup revolutionizing how governments buy. They do so through Glass Commerce, a software that powers government marketplaces for small purchases without bids or paperwork, a market comprising between 30-percent to 50-percent of government transactions and estimated at $800 billion in the U.S. and $3.7 trillion globally.
“We’re on a mission to connect small businesses with their government markets, and are excited to work alongside government leadership that sees a tremendous opportunity to accelerate economic recovery with our technological platforms,” says Paola Santana, CEO at Glass.
Glass Commerce makes it easy for government buyers to secure goods, services and rentals from small, local, and diverse businesses. More specifically, government buyers can — 1) Search and conduct single-screen product and price comparison; 2) Optimize for best price, local delivery, vendors’ past performance, and agency goals; 3) Verify vendor status and certifications; 4) Checkout with government credit cards, checks, purchase orders or credit lines; and 5) Track, flag, and return orders from different vendors in one single place.
It also enables government buyers to request and obtain automated, standardized and complete quotes from pre-verified vendors with one click. Registered government buyers can access a dashboard to visualize and understand their purchasing data at the individual and at the department levels, so agencies can make better purchasing decisions.
We’re creating a category-defining solution that simplifies how the largest purchasers in the world— governments, discover and buy from small businesses, the backbone of our economies
Additionally, Glass provides small businesses with the digital infrastructure required to showcase their products and services online, accept government orders, process government payments, and access relevant data insights and logistics and delivery options. Vendors interested in selling to government sign up onto Glass Commerce, get verified against multiple trusted government databases, and then onboard their products and services via a government vendor dashboard.
To date, Glass has helped government agencies procure over 5.5 million items in record time, leveraging procurement data and streamlining operations across 22 federal, state and local agencies, including the State of Illinois, the State of Florida, Dallas County, the City of Seattle, the City of Oakley, and others.
By streamlining small government purchases, Glass aims to maximize value for taxpayers’ money, increase the quality and variety of products and services acquired by governments, diversify and expand the pool of available government vendors, and simplify decision-making for public employees. Their vision is to transform governments with category-defining e-Commerce solutions that unlock the next breakthrough in public procurement systems.