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St. Pete’s Bedrock enters growth era with acquisition

Mark Parker

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Osama Sabbah, president and founder of Bedrock, said the right company culture "eats goals for breakfast." Photos by Mark Parker.

Osama Sabbah opted for a measured approach to scaling his procurement solution company after relocating to St. Petersburg and rebranding it as Bedrock. He now believes it can become the city’s first homegrown unicorn.

Sabbah, founder and president of Bedrock, has embarked on a local “bridge-building” campaign he believes will foster global expansion. The first in a series of planned announcements came Tuesday morning with Bedrock’s strategic acquisition of St. Pete-based Procoto.

The relationship-focused entrepreneur believes Procoto’s automated bidding and analysis software – combined with Bedrock’s cloud-based management solutions and massive data supply – will transform the procurement industry. He is now answering the self-posed question, “How can we create as many partnerships as possible and grow this company in so many different directions?”

“We’ve figured out our market fit in the past four years,” Sabbah told the Catalyst. “Our technology’s completely built. Now it’s a matter of how fast we can scale and how we can get more of the market share.”

The acquisition allows Bedrock to integrate Procoto’s innovative request for proposals (RFP) software. Sabbah said the source-to-contract technology will enable a holistic solution that proactively manages and enhances the supplier management lifecycle.

Sabbah said Bedrock’s platform drastically reduces paperwork, mitigates potential mistakes and provides “100% transparency” among stakeholders. In addition, a post-audit recovery tool that identifies errors and allows enterprise companies to recover potentially millions in revenue lost to fraudulent and erroneous payments. “That’s what our system is, and that’s what we’ve had the largest success with,” Sabbah said.

However, he explained that the process only occurs after company officials make a procurement decision. Acquiring Procoto’s automated RFP platform allows Bedrock to “connect the back end with the front end.”

“We’ll be able to offer all our clients, which are using our system to manage all their suppliers, the ability to invite new suppliers in,” Sabbah said. “So, it opens a whole different market we were not exposed to.”

In a prepared statement, Procoto founder and CEO Michael Otis said he “always envisioned” his company “as a solution to a specific portion of the broader procurement cycle.” With the acquisition, his clients now have access to an integrated platform “for their entire procure-to-pay process.”

The acquisition also strengthens Bedrock’s regional connections. Procoto became Tampa Bay’s first graduate of Y Combinator  – a prominent, Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator – when Otis relocated to St. Pete in 2021.

Procoto was Tampa Bay. Ventures’ first investment after the firm launched with an initial $20 million seed fund. Sabbah said the acquisition establishes a bridge in Tampa and ensures one of the area’s “main” venture capital companies “will sit at our cap table.”

Sabbah noted that he immigrated to Denver from Palestine “without anything to my name.” He said that experience taught him the value of forging relationships.

Sabbah relocated to St. Pete in 2019 after realizing the city’s laid-back culture was a better fit for his company, then dubbed XPRO. “It’s not about the show – it’s what you can actually deliver,” he added. In 2022, he took the Oath of Allegiance at Tropicana Field and became a naturalized citizen.

Osama Sabbah (left) founder and president of Bedrock, with Michael Curtis, founder and CEO of Procoto, at the company’s downtown office. Photo provided.

Sabbah correctly thought the area would become a national startup and innovation hub. He said Bedrock’s revenue has quadrupled after opening an office downtown and rebranding.

Sabbah has since added 10 people to his local workforce and hopes to fill eight additional positions. He attributed that initial growth to local connections and company culture.

“I always believe that culture eats goals for breakfast,” Sabbah said. “If you just establish the right level, everybody else will align, and with time, you’re hitting your goals every single quarter. And that’s been the case.”

Establishing a solid foundation is another core belief – highlighted in the name “Bedrock.” He believes the company’s initial growth will increase exponentially with the launch of a new marketplace.

The platform will provide businesses with secure access to Bedrock’s over one million vetted suppliers. It will also foster new revenue streams. “Now we’re talking about a data play instead of just an organizational procurement play,” Sabbah said.

He believes the two new programs will open a “ton more opportunities for the local community to join, and then have a truly St. Pete unicorn get created.” The term refers to a privately held startup with an over $1 billion valuation.

Sabbah said announcements regarding several local data-driven companies are forthcoming, “which doubles down on … building bridges within our community, and then taking it globally.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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