PORTAL DE COMPRAS PÚBLICAS

Public Procurement

40% of Brazilian municipalities reportedly use this digital marketplace to run more efficient procurement processes

ABOUT PORTAL DE COMPRAS PÚBLICAS

Summary

  • Founded in 2016
  • Funding: £340,000 (seed)
  • Revenue growth from 2020 to 2021: 76%
  • Investors include Cedro Capital
  • HQ in Brasilia
  • Approx. 100 FTEs
  • Key clients/partners: 2,200 municipalities in Brazil, five of which are state capitals
  • Key executives: Leonardo Ladeira, co-founder and CEO: software engineer by trade who previously worked at UNALE, Brazil's National Union of State Legislators and Legislatures; Bruno Ladeira, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, also CEO of communications agency Moringa

profile

OECD countries spend 12% of their GDP on public procurement. In Latin America and the Caribbean, that figure rises to 20%. However, as BCG notes, public procurement processes often stretch over months and years. Delays and heightened compliance requirements add uncertainty and drive up costs. 

Portal de Compras Públicas, a public procurement marketplace, helps make procurement more efficient through its digital platform that streamlines the way government organisations purchase from suppliers. The Brasilia-based startup reports that it speeds up procurement processes by 76% through connecting buyers and suppliers, and reduces public sector organisations’ costs by about 28%. 

Portal de Compras Públicas is far from the only public procurement platform on the market. What is remarkable about the company is its recent growth. The company had approximately 100 municipalities as customers in early 2020 and now reportedly serves 2,200 of Brazil’s 5,500 municipalities, including some of the country’s largest like the City of São Paulo. Collectively, the company reports that these organisations transact approximately USD$50 million every day on the platform. 

In April 2021, the Brazilian government enacted a new public procurement law that affects public entities at the federal, state and municipal level. This new legislation follows OECD guidelines on public procurement, such as promoting wider participation for RFPs and reducing corruption. Digital tools like Portal de Compras Públicas are integral to these initiatives, enabling transparency in public procurement and spreading the word about RFPs. Furthermore, this growth tracks with Brazil’s public sector digitalisation efforts, catalysed in part by a $1B credit line from the Inter-American Development Bank. 

As Leonardo Ladeira, Portal de Compras Públicas’ co-founder and CEO, describes, their rapid growth comes down to being at the right place at the right time: “We, as entrepreneurs, always believed that digital was the way to go when we thought of public RFPs,” he asserts. “As such, we were ready and we had the necessary tools when our country's laws finally confirmed our beliefs on the subject.”

plans for 2022

  • Internationalisation: opening their first overseas office in Portugal and certifying their platform to comply with EU regulations
  • Product development: making it easier to sign and execute public contracts through the platform, and deploying a machine learning API to more effectively connect buyers and suppliers

who should connect with this company

Public sector agencies in Brazil and Portugal that regularly issue RFPs. Private sector organisations that are looking to sell to these agencies.

Company in Action

RFPs submitted through Portal de Compras Públicas’ platform are automatically categorised and distributed to relevant companies via email and through in-app push notifications. The entire bidding lifecycle happens on the platform: questions and answers related to each process, proposal management, public bidding procedures, digital signatures and more. Once each step is complete, all official documents are made public and sent automatically to the relevant federal oversight bodies. Public sector organisations can choose to join Portal de Compras Públicas in conjunction with a consortium of municipalities, independently, or both. For example, the municipality of Fraiburgo in the state of Santa Catarina chooses to engage Portal de Compras Públicas both on their own and through CINCATARINA, the state’s consortium of 295 municipalities. Using Portal de Compras Públicas through CINCATARINA lets Fraiburgo take advantage of bulk purchasing, while engaging independently ensures that all the municipality’s needs are met. This year, to deal with the increasing volume of RFP and corporate users, Portal de Compras Públicas developed and tested a machine learning API to improve its recommendation system. The ML API is expected to be integrated into their recommendation system later in 2022 to complement their human-curated classification system.

stateup view

There is growing awareness of the benefits of effective public procurement: from creating more inclusive and open local governments to enabling climate innovation. The rapid growth of Portal de Compras Públicas reflects this trend. But even in this context, the scale of Portal de Compras Publicas reach is notable. Investors Danilo Zelinski of KPTL and Alessandro Machado from Cedro capital describe this growth as what has most impressed them, noting that currently 200,000+ suppliers are active on the platform. In a political environment that has been fraught with corruption, they call Portal de Compras Públicas a “no-brainer tool for buyers, sellers and even compliance bodies” who “trust the platform with over 30 billion BRL in bids per month.” As tracked on StateUp’s Nebula public-purpose tech intelligence platform, there has been substantive growth in investment activity across Latin America over the last year – including a $5 billion pledge from Softbank to invest in startups from the region. Nubank’s global footprint hints at the capacity for Brazilian tech internationalisation. While Portal de Compras Públicas has only been active in the Brazilian market so far, they have plans to expand to Portugal next year. Marketplaces are some of the most valuable businesses on the Internet. Aided by a favourable EU-Mercosur trade agreement that includes government procurement, the company could become a case study in the internationalisation of Brazilian tech.

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