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Watching the Tropics: A Look Back at 2023

David Campbell
January 4, 2024
4 min read

As we embark on a New Year, it’s always a point of humility and pride to reflect on the past year before we have another quick scene change into 2024. As a founder, I don’t pause for moments like these enough. After all, “you can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been.” 

To me, 2023 felt like the year we grew up in just about every way: 

  • We turned the corner from a tech-enabled services business to a true SaaS business. Our combined value proposition—procurement platform, data, & services—provides unparalleled visibility, control, and savings at every stage of the purchasing process.
  • Spend under management skyrocketed to $5.6B with more than 62k supplier relationships running through Tropic.
  • Both our team and products received dozens of awards from third-party publications that validated and rewarded Team Tropic for all their hard work throughout the year. I was probably proudest of being included in the top 10 on LinkedIn’s Top Startups list. 
  • We matured as a company, made hard decisions when they were necessary, and built a rock-solid base that we’re so excited to build on top of in 2024.

This couldn’t have been possible without the people who work here, the loyalty and input from our customers, and the steadfast belief in us held by our trusted investors. What started as a business is becoming a movement, through your support. 

Okay, let’s dive into the highlight reel starting with the savings scoreboard: 

It was a record-breaking year by a mile. Spend under management more than tripled year over year. But far more important than top-line metrics is the bottom-line savings we’ve been able to deliver at scale. 

Our customers’ results are the only reward we need, but 2023 was also a humbling year of third-party awards and recognition. Winning awards is not why we do what we do, but it sure does keep our team motivated and serves as a constant reminder that we’re building something special.

Making Waves In Procurement Paradise

We started Tropic with a vision of Procurement Paradise, and with last year’s new platform launch and expanded service offerings, we can finally say we’ve arrived at the white sand shoreline that we set out to conquer. 

Below are the milestones that propelled us to our destination, categorized by the outcomes they deliver for customers:

Visibility

A major theme throughout 2023 was creating the ultimate, centralized source of truth for monitoring and managing supplier relationships. Why? Because the foundation of any procurement process requires complete visibility into all of your suppliers, contracts, and spend under one roof.

An underlying driver behind this focus is that ERPs have historically served as the source of truth for finance. But ERPs are severely limited in their ability to answer strategic questions. So we built the intelligence layer on top of the ERPs that can power proactive procurement.

  • Contract Management: Customers can upload every contract, automatically extract the metadata, and maintain a searchable, editable, auditable contract repository for every important detail. 
  • Renewal Management: A centralized renewal calendar and alerts ensure that no opt-out date is ever overlooked and that all negotiations begin early to maximize your leverage and savings. 
  • ERP Integrations: Monitor contract terms against actual spend with connectors for NetSuite, Quickbooks Online, and Sage Intacct that ingest and map transactions to your contracts. 
  • Shadow Spend Detection: Automatically shine a light on unapproved expenses that have been hiding in the shadows of your ERP and SSO data. The more you can see, the more you can save.

All of these visibility improvements have created the most comprehensive Supplier Management tool on the market. Finally, businesses can access a 360° view of active and past contracts, key points of contact, risk and compliance documentation, payment activity, historical approval chains, and much more. Every detail of your supplier relationships is only a few clicks away. 

Control 

Arguably, the biggest product leaps we made in 2023 were around spend controls. These products were redesigned from the ground up to focus on 1) flexibility that could accommodate and enforce purchases and policies of all shapes and sizes and 2) ease of use to dramatically boost company-wide adoption. 

  • Control Every Spend Category: We broadened our horizons to support 100% of purchase requests, not just software. Last year we saw thousands of non-software requests for services, advertising, events, contractors, hardware, and much more. We’ve even seen a few real estate transactions start their journey in Tropic. 
  • Control Every Detail Collected: To streamline intake and requirements gathering, we released a new drag-and-drop form builder that makes it easy to customize questionnaires and logic for different spend categories.

Our goal is to provide the front door that every employee adopts and enjoys using, while giving the back office complete control over rouge spending, policy enforcement, risk management, and cost savings. 

Workflow Studio is our no-code approval workflow builder that became the star of the show in 2023. Workflow Studio dynamically routes requests to the right stakeholders at the right time based on your company's policies and the information collected through intake. It’s autopilot for approvals.

Our customers built hundreds of workflows within months of launch, which led to the creation of pre-built Workflow Templates. Customers can quickly implement best practice workflows for different categories and then customize them on the fly to accommodate their needs.

Savings

Hundreds of customers also took advantage of Tropic’s premier negotiation services to give time back to their teams while reeling in massive savings. 

We expanded our service offerings to open Tropic up to more companies based on their specific needs and stages in the purchasing journey. 

  • Expert Advisory: Launched transaction-specific benchmark and strategy services. Customers who want to lead their own negotiations can do so with a turbocharged suite of benchmarks, playbooks, and 1:1 coaching to maximize savings. 
  • Supplier Specialization: We reorganized our services team to be 100% specialized around key categories and suppliers. While our customers may only buy a specific type of software once a year, we want them to partner with a specialized advisor who buys that software weekly.
  • Cloud Optimization: Additional cloud specialists joined the team to launch a new service product for ongoing cloud savings optimization.

We ended 2023 with a bang by unveiling Price Checks. The ability to unlock personalized pricing benchmarks on-demand can transform the software buying process the same way that Kelley Blue Book changed car buying and Zillow changed house buying.

Tropic sits on the world’s largest, non-biased database of supplier intelligence, and Price Checks is a monumental first step towards what’s coming in the year ahead.

I’m very excited to share the bold bets we will place on emerging technologies and the opportunities we intend to make available for our customers in 2024. But since this is a look back, not a look ahead, I’ll have to save those announcements for a future post. Stay tuned! 

For now, a big thank you to everyone who has helped Tropic get to where we are today. Our vision of Procurement Paradise has never been so clear, and our team is more focused than ever going into a new year.

Cheers,
Dave and the entire Tropic team

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David Campbell
David Campbell is the CEO and Co-Founder of Tropic.

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As we embark on a New Year, it’s always a point of humility and pride to reflect on the past year before we have another quick scene change into 2024. As a founder, I don’t pause for moments like these enough. After all, “you can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been.” 

To me, 2023 felt like the year we grew up in just about every way: 

  • We turned the corner from a tech-enabled services business to a true SaaS business. Our combined value proposition—procurement platform, data, & services—provides unparalleled visibility, control, and savings at every stage of the purchasing process.
  • Spend under management skyrocketed to $5.6B with more than 62k supplier relationships running through Tropic.
  • Both our team and products received dozens of awards from third-party publications that validated and rewarded Team Tropic for all their hard work throughout the year. I was probably proudest of being included in the top 10 on LinkedIn’s Top Startups list. 
  • We matured as a company, made hard decisions when they were necessary, and built a rock-solid base that we’re so excited to build on top of in 2024.

This couldn’t have been possible without the people who work here, the loyalty and input from our customers, and the steadfast belief in us held by our trusted investors. What started as a business is becoming a movement, through your support. 

Okay, let’s dive into the highlight reel starting with the savings scoreboard: 

It was a record-breaking year by a mile. Spend under management more than tripled year over year. But far more important than top-line metrics is the bottom-line savings we’ve been able to deliver at scale. 

Our customers’ results are the only reward we need, but 2023 was also a humbling year of third-party awards and recognition. Winning awards is not why we do what we do, but it sure does keep our team motivated and serves as a constant reminder that we’re building something special.

Making Waves In Procurement Paradise

We started Tropic with a vision of Procurement Paradise, and with last year’s new platform launch and expanded service offerings, we can finally say we’ve arrived at the white sand shoreline that we set out to conquer. 

Below are the milestones that propelled us to our destination, categorized by the outcomes they deliver for customers:

Visibility

A major theme throughout 2023 was creating the ultimate, centralized source of truth for monitoring and managing supplier relationships. Why? Because the foundation of any procurement process requires complete visibility into all of your suppliers, contracts, and spend under one roof.

An underlying driver behind this focus is that ERPs have historically served as the source of truth for finance. But ERPs are severely limited in their ability to answer strategic questions. So we built the intelligence layer on top of the ERPs that can power proactive procurement.

  • Contract Management: Customers can upload every contract, automatically extract the metadata, and maintain a searchable, editable, auditable contract repository for every important detail. 
  • Renewal Management: A centralized renewal calendar and alerts ensure that no opt-out date is ever overlooked and that all negotiations begin early to maximize your leverage and savings. 
  • ERP Integrations: Monitor contract terms against actual spend with connectors for NetSuite, Quickbooks Online, and Sage Intacct that ingest and map transactions to your contracts. 
  • Shadow Spend Detection: Automatically shine a light on unapproved expenses that have been hiding in the shadows of your ERP and SSO data. The more you can see, the more you can save.

All of these visibility improvements have created the most comprehensive Supplier Management tool on the market. Finally, businesses can access a 360° view of active and past contracts, key points of contact, risk and compliance documentation, payment activity, historical approval chains, and much more. Every detail of your supplier relationships is only a few clicks away. 

Control 

Arguably, the biggest product leaps we made in 2023 were around spend controls. These products were redesigned from the ground up to focus on 1) flexibility that could accommodate and enforce purchases and policies of all shapes and sizes and 2) ease of use to dramatically boost company-wide adoption. 

  • Control Every Spend Category: We broadened our horizons to support 100% of purchase requests, not just software. Last year we saw thousands of non-software requests for services, advertising, events, contractors, hardware, and much more. We’ve even seen a few real estate transactions start their journey in Tropic. 
  • Control Every Detail Collected: To streamline intake and requirements gathering, we released a new drag-and-drop form builder that makes it easy to customize questionnaires and logic for different spend categories.

Our goal is to provide the front door that every employee adopts and enjoys using, while giving the back office complete control over rouge spending, policy enforcement, risk management, and cost savings. 

Workflow Studio is our no-code approval workflow builder that became the star of the show in 2023. Workflow Studio dynamically routes requests to the right stakeholders at the right time based on your company's policies and the information collected through intake. It’s autopilot for approvals.

Our customers built hundreds of workflows within months of launch, which led to the creation of pre-built Workflow Templates. Customers can quickly implement best practice workflows for different categories and then customize them on the fly to accommodate their needs.

Savings

Hundreds of customers also took advantage of Tropic’s premier negotiation services to give time back to their teams while reeling in massive savings. 

We expanded our service offerings to open Tropic up to more companies based on their specific needs and stages in the purchasing journey. 

  • Expert Advisory: Launched transaction-specific benchmark and strategy services. Customers who want to lead their own negotiations can do so with a turbocharged suite of benchmarks, playbooks, and 1:1 coaching to maximize savings. 
  • Supplier Specialization: We reorganized our services team to be 100% specialized around key categories and suppliers. While our customers may only buy a specific type of software once a year, we want them to partner with a specialized advisor who buys that software weekly.
  • Cloud Optimization: Additional cloud specialists joined the team to launch a new service product for ongoing cloud savings optimization.

We ended 2023 with a bang by unveiling Price Checks. The ability to unlock personalized pricing benchmarks on-demand can transform the software buying process the same way that Kelley Blue Book changed car buying and Zillow changed house buying.

Tropic sits on the world’s largest, non-biased database of supplier intelligence, and Price Checks is a monumental first step towards what’s coming in the year ahead.

I’m very excited to share the bold bets we will place on emerging technologies and the opportunities we intend to make available for our customers in 2024. But since this is a look back, not a look ahead, I’ll have to save those announcements for a future post. Stay tuned! 

For now, a big thank you to everyone who has helped Tropic get to where we are today. Our vision of Procurement Paradise has never been so clear, and our team is more focused than ever going into a new year.

Cheers,
Dave and the entire Tropic team

Share this post
David Campbell
David Campbell is the CEO and Co-Founder of Tropic.
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