Business owners know they need supplies, whether it’s Clorox or Coffeemate. While it’s not necessarily anyone’s favorite part of running a business, the purchasing is a black-and-white cost that often involves dealing with a number of suppliers. Tom Jaklitsch and Zachary Garippa see a market where the owners know they could get a better deal, but also have other things to do.
“What we realized was businesses tend to lack time, resources, expertise and inclination to do this on their own,” Garippa said.
That’s where their startup, Negotiatus, looks to step in and save money. With a combination of tech and some personal cajoling, the platform takes considerations like shipping needs and preferred brands, and offers an analysis that the founders say is designed to arrive at a better deal for clients. And they have built in motivation. Instead of an upfront fee, the startup takes a 20 percent commission.
“If we don’t save them any money, we don’t make any money,” Jaklitsch said.
They declined to name clients, but said they have initially found traction with professional offices, and can handle single-office businesses, or multiple locations.
Over the past several months, the four-member team has been in New York as a part of the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator. But its roots are in Baltimore, where Jaklitsch attends Johns Hopkins (he’s currently on hold to work on the company). Garippa travelled to Baltimore on the train, and they did a lot of the work identifying business owners’ needs by talking to local business owners.
“The local culture and go-getter attitude we saw with all the businesses we dealt with there is part of what really pushed us to stand up for the smaller guys and give them the buying power of the larger businesses they were competing against,” Jaklitsch said.
The company also found some early money here through an investment from A-Level Capital, the venture fund run by Hopkins students. The company is likely to return to Baltimore when Entrepreneurs Roundtable wraps, Jaklitsch said.
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