By The Bristol Post | Posted: February 05, 2014
By Gavin Thompson
A NORTH Bristol firm has led the way in online reverse auctions, in which businesses get suppliers to bid against one another for contracts.
And now Market Dojo has been awarded £24,950 from the Going for Growth fund to develop software sector specialists can tailor to their own market and customers.
The Gloucester Road company was founded three years ago by former Bristol University graduates Nick Drewe, 31, Nicholas Martin, 389, and Alun Rafique, 39.
Alun and Nick had worked as consultants running reverse auctions on behalf of companies.
"A reverse auction means if you are a buyer and you have three possible suppliers, you set up a timed auction so the first one might bid £100, so the second bids £98, then £95 and so on and the winner has the lowest bid," explained Alun.
But the group saw a change in the market and believed it was an opportunity to set up on their own.
"People wanted to run the auctions themselves rather than bring in consultants," said Alun. "We saw that shift in the paradigm shift and developed Market Dojo software to allow them to do that."
Since then the Gloucester Road firm has secured two grants from the Technology Strategy Board, the first to expand Market Dogo into the public sector and the second to develop Category Dojo, which helps companies find and plan procurement.
It has since added Innovation Dojo to its offer, a tool to help companies work with suppliers on new ideas.
The Going for Growth grant will be used to develop the platform further.
"It's a bit like on eBay you have people who set up eBay shops," said Alun. "We want people who have specialist knowledge and contacts in a field, say energy, to be able to run their own procurement business through Market Dojo."
Most of the company's work is outsourced but as part of the terms of the grant, it has pledged to recruit at least one member of staff this year, most likely in development or sales and marketing.
Alun added: "Hopefully it will be more than one person, we've certainly got plenty to do."