GovTribe brings a better user experience to federal government acquisition



In an industry that constantly talks about transforming government procurement, one startup is been quietly making a go of it, and it just keeps getting better.

Few businesses are legitimately tackling the Herculean task of federal government acquisition but with GovTribe, and its new web release late last year, we’re starting to see what FedBizOps and related commercial offerings could and should be doing.

GovTribe first released as a mobile app, however, in November it launched a web version that offers, relative to related services, a lower cost option with a much simpler user interface and forward-thinking approach to web-based services for all elements of the acquisition spectrum.

One of the most important aspects of GovTribe’s web offering is that this is the first time this type of information has been publicly-accessible and usable in a format like this, whereas other commercial offering are hidden behind a paywall or, in the case of FedBizOps, lack a useful interface for those unfamiliar with the nuances of federal procurement.

According to GovTribe co-founder and CEO Nate Nash, since the launch, the site has averaged 7,000 unique visitors and 30,000 page views per month. The site has delivered 800,000 past and present opportunities, 60,000 contracting officer profiles, 200,000 vendor profiles, agencies, offices and NAICs codes. Other features include custom alerting, pipeline tracking and market profiles.

There are freemium (track up to three keywords) and paid ($16/month) versions, as well as subscription access to its application programming interface.

GovTribe also offers custom reports, a “service providing deep dive analysis into specific market segments.”

Here’s an excerpt of a recent email exchange Nash and I:

“When people in this town think of government contracting, they typically think of the big brand name players. Initially, that’s what we thought our market should be. However, there is a massive segment of small and medium-sized businesses working on government contracts all over the country.”

“Sure, SAIC does a ton of business. But there are also a bunch of companies serving the 20M annual peanut butter market. Those folks are totally underserved when it comes to market intel. And those folks are now our customers.

“The influx of calls we get from people looking to get into the government contracting game has been eye opening. They find us because we are one of the few services that puts all of the opportunities on our website, for free.

“It has been really cool to speak with people who have small firms that do awesome work, and want to do it for the government. We think that is exactly what the government contracting market needs. Better access equals a more competitive marketplace and ultimately leads to better government services.”

As new, low-cost, enterprise web-based offerings continue to expand across all sectors, GovTribe now provides one to an industry that desperately needs it, on a fundamental component critical to making government work better.

Making it easier to access federal business opportunities is just one aspect to building a better procurement process, but it’s the start, and startup, that we need.

Procurement app hōrd gets an upgrade


Northern Virginia-based development firm GovTribe recently released an upgrade to its federal procurement iPhone app hord.

We check in with its founders to get a progress update and plans for the future.

What was the inspiration for creating hōrd?

The team at GovTribe created hōrd because we think finding and winning government contracts should be neither complicated, expensive, nor cumbersome. We worked for many years at a large government contractor. It always seemed odd to us that the pursuit process was so inefficient. Bloated processes, expensive technology, hearsay…you name it. It all seemed a bit broken. We knew that if we could bring together multiple data sources and give our users real time insight into the activity of the government, much of the process could be improved. Also, we felt that it was time for this level of insight to be democratized. By building and pricing hōrd for the individual, cost or organizational dysfunction are no longer barriers to basic understanding.

What are its key features?

hōrd is an iPhone app that lets users follow (or hōrd) the real time procurement activity of the things they care about within the world of government contracting. For example, let’s say you have a favorite contracting officer. Add her to your hōrd and every time she posts, amends, cancels, or awards a project, you’ll know immediately. Or perhaps you have a key competitor you would like to track. By adding them to your hōrd, you’ll see when they win or protest contracts. Last but not least, hōrd provides this same capability for new projects. Add a specific project to your hōrd and it will tell you when amendments are posted, who gets the award, and key contact information. hōrd provides this level of tracking for agencies, offices, people, projects, vendors, and categories or work. hōrd is free to download and comes with a one-month free subscription. From there forward, it is $5 a month.

What does the new update offer?

Our latest release is version 2.3. In addition to providing the aforementioned capability for 130 federal agencies, we spent a lot of time responding to feedback on the user interface. We overhauled search to give more context and added key information to the details of a project. Also, we added simple tweaks like the ability to call a contracting officer directly from their activity feed. We think hōrd has come a long way since our beta release in January. There is still much to be done and thanks to our highly engaged customers, we have a pretty clear picture of where we are headed.

What have you learned developing hōrd?

The most important thing we have learned is that the problem we attempt to solve is more widespread than we expected. Our customers come from all sorts of professional backgrounds and give us interesting perspectives we never considered early on. For example, journalists like yourself who cover a specific company can track their awards in real time. Or government agency leaders who would rather check their phone than sit through a briefing on the status of an important program. We really enjoy learning about the innovative uses of hōrd and hope to continue doing so.

What’s next in the development queue?

We are currently working on building out hōrd beyond just the iPhone. One of the most frequent messages we get from our customers is the request to use hōrd via an iPad, browser, or Android device. We are hearing them loud and clear and steadily working toward platform expansion. Also, we are building more in-depth analytical reports, built on the same data that powers hōrd, to be distributed outside of the app.

Download hōrd on iTunes.