What items come to mind when you think of public sector bidding? Empty lots for development? Office furniture? Vehicles? It's safe to say that perhaps swords wouldn't make the list.
Or would they?
"It turns out the public sector is actually the biggest buyer of swords," explains Oppex's CTO and co-founder Mikko Lehmuskoski, with a smile. "The Finnish Defence Forces purchased swords a year ago."
Such revelations are commonplace for Lehmuskoski and his fellow cofounder, and CEO, of Oppex, Ville Heinonen. Oppex specialises in collecting public sector contract notices of goods and services from around the globe, making them easily accessible online. All listings are translated from their original language into English, thus creating the world's largest source of public sector tenders.
Their B2B and B2G customers from over 120 countries have been quick to catch on. Dozens of Fortune Global 500 companies are now represented among the extensive range of industries utilising the service.
The Oppex story began in 2012, when the duo realised that there was no market leader offering a one-stop shop to search for such contracts around the world. They quickly seized the opportunity.
"Public procurement is something like 10-20 per cent of the global GDP," Heinonen explains. "That's roughly 10 trillion dollars of taxpayer's money every year."
Tekes was on board early in the process, helping the fledging company get off the ground. Then, Oppex joined Tekes' Young Innovative Companies programme, securing enough money to implement a thorough marketing campaign in the UK. This boosted customer numbers by more than 10,000 in just a matter of months.
"Tekes has been very helpful; we couldn't have done it without them," Lehmuskoski states. "Tekes really makes it possible to have a startup in Finland, because they essentially match whatever funding you get from the private sector. This becomes very lucrative for private investors as well."
Similarly, all actors involved in public sector procurement benefit from Oppex. Alongside the sales boost for those providing goods and services, the public sector itself can determine the best possible providers.
"It doesn't make any sense if you have a huge public sector project and there are only two bidders, and both of them are bad," Lehmuskoski explains. "If you have dozens of the best companies in the world bidding on that project, it really helps the public sector too."
For further information, please contact
tel. +358 50 589 5804
ville.heinonen (at) oppex.com
tel. +358 40 750 8307
mikko.lehmuskoski (at) oppex.com
Text: James O'Sullivan