Jeff is an accomplished technology executive, entrepreneur, attorney, patent holder, government procurement expert, data transparency evangelist, and public safety officer.
Govtech Fund What is your occupation?
Jeff Rubenstein Designer of a platform to share procurement data with government agencies around the world and the vendors that serve them….and President & CEO of SmartProcure.
GF In 2011 you founded SmartProcure. Where did you get the idea?
JR SmartProcure was founded based on the intersection of multiple principals:
From a govtech perspective, using open data to benefit the government agencies who are providing it. As a police officer and someone who has been directly involved in government procurement for more than 20 years, it was clear that the lack of information sharing was contributing to inefficiencies within the purchasing process.
From a business perspective, the idea was the result of work at my prior company in which we sold to government agencies. Having information such as more targeted government prospects, competitive intelligence such as pricing and bundling strategies, and the idea of being in the recurring revenue data business were the primary motivators in starting SmartProcure.
GF Why procurement?
JR Our team was very familiar with government procurement, it is a legacy process ready for innovation and we knew we could have significant impact.
GF We know SmartProcure’s product + purpose. What’s it’s mission?
JR To provide the most comprehensive, high-quality government purchasing data; powerful, easy-to-use analytic and reporting tools; and a nationwide information sharing platform to enable easier and more efficient government procurement.
GF You work with government. What is the greatest opportunity you see in government?
JR The greatest opportunity for government is mass adoption of SmartProcure – which we offer to government agencies at no charge – so it can realize unprecedented savings in both time and money from such widespread sharing of information. We believe that an efficient and responsive government that is better able to serve society starts with prudent management of limited budget dollars. Procurement analytics and information sharing are critical enablers in that regard.
GF The startup govtech ecosystem is just emerging. What’s your role?
JR I believe we have a critical role in the govtech space. Proving that public-private partnerships are beneficial for government agencies, including support for the open data movement, are of primary importance. Govtech companies provide critical technology support enabling government agencies to operate more efficiently and effectively.
GF And it’s gaining momentum. What does it mean for government? for Americans? for you?
JR In the last 80 years, technology adoption has gained immeasurable proficiencies in the private sector. It’s time that government was afforded the ability to enjoy those benefits as well. But, because public agencies have vastly unique requirements and needs, technology adoption has been challenging. By incubating technologies specifically designed for government innovation, the result will be a more efficient and responsive government.
GF What’s SmartProcure’s greatest success?
JR Our greatest success is our people. As a team, we’ve increased bookings each month for 20 consecutive months and gained thousands of government and business customers along the way — but all are just snapshots in time. What makes a company truly scalable are the people. We’ve put together an incredible team of folks, from multiple disciplines, who work seamlessly together towards the single goal of making SmartProcure and its customers successful.
GF Deerfield Beach is (almost) as far from the Silicon Valley as you can get. Do you feel isolated or find it challenging to find tech talent?
JR It can be challenging to find good talent in specific sectors. However, by becoming one of the better known, successful, technology companies in South Florida our location will be a strategic advantage in the recruiting and retention of key local tech talent.
GF It’s 2020. Tell me about SmartProcure.
JR By the year 2020, SmartProcure will be the de facto standard in government procurement best practices. Agencies will rely on its comprehensive, aggregated data to make the best informed purchasing decisions possible, while government vendors will rely on SmartProcure as an integral part of their business operations. Outside of government procurement, SmartProcure will also be a key financial technology in streamlining business operations.
GF Besides building quality tech, what are ways you participate in government?
JR Personally, I’m proud to be an auxiliary law enforcement officer with the Delray Beach Police Department.
GF Why did you choose to partner with the Govtech Fund?
JR Ron Bouganim. In reality that’s the truth.
At this stage, the success of the Govtech Fund is predicated on Ron’s ability to get out the message that quality modern technology can and will transform government for the benefit of everyone. It’s a powerful message and one that has the wind at it’s back, but nonetheless requires countless hours of dedication and will only be successful with a strong, experienced leader at the helm.
Also, the Govtech fund provides the vehicle to support our public mission and puts together a group of talented companies with different goals and objectives but with the same vision for the future.
GF Who’s your hero?
JR Ron Bouganim, definitely. And my parents.