A Cincinnati-based web service that helps corporations connect to small, minority-owned businesses has secured seed funding from a group of private angel investors.
ConnXus.com launched in December 2010 by Entrepreneur Rod Robinson, founder of Accel Advisors
, a procurement and supplier diversity consultant firm and Chris Downey, founder of the popular weight loss site Sparkpeople
ConnXus.com works as a matchmaker between corporations looking to up their supplier diversity and woman- and minority-owned service and product providers. Investors include including John E. Pepper, Jr., former CEO and chairman of the board for P&G, who is also on the connXus board of advisors. The company declined to disclose the amount of seed funding it secured.
“This early round of funding allows us to continue to improve the site and extend our marketing,” Robinson says. “Every week, we see our membership grow as small, minority- and woman-owned businesses discover the millions of dollars in access to real business opportunities connXus membership provides.
Since its launch, corporate buyer members have posted more than $75 million in contracts. There are nearly 1,000 registered suppliers. Recent posted job opportunities include construction, advertising and media planning, social media and marketing services, IT services, business card printing and bus charter services. Companies and organizations that have posted jobs on the site include Macy's, Kent State, IGC Commerce in Philidelphia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Jones Lang LaSalle.
The site is designed to offer a wide variety of opportunities for small, medium and large service and product suppliers. With a basic membership, companies, which join the site as buyer members, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses can join for free. There are more than 100 service and product categories available from legal, accounting and other professional services to transportation and manufacturing.
To help assure supplier quality, customers can add performance ratings to a supplier's profile through the site's propriety rating system. The better the supplier's rating, the higher it will rank in a corporate buyer's search. ConnXus earlier this year was awarded a $40,000 CincyTech Imagining Grant
to help it develop the technology.
By Feoshia Henderson