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Birmingham’s Bronze Valley adds two new startups to its growing portfolio

Birmingham-based Bronze Valley recently added two new companies to its investment portfolio of startups. The addition of Stimulus and Pruuvn brings to 17 the number of investments by Bronze Valley since its launch in 2017.

“Both of these companies are geared to the present and future of business in a changing landscape,” said Neill S. Wright, president and CEO of Bronze Valley. “Stimulus and Pruuvn are outstanding additions to the Bronze Valley portfolio. We look forward to helping them grow and prosper.”

Stimulus helps companies meet challenges associated with supply chain management – challenges that have only increased in the era of COVID-19. Based in Philadelphia, Stimulus uses a proprietary algorithm to help clients improve their sourcing and purchasing decisions, and build a supply chain that gives them a competitive advantage.

“Supply chain is the new sexy issue,” said Tiffany Stanard, the founder and CEO of Stimulus. “Everything we eat, drink and wear comes from a different place, a different company. COVID humanized that. It made people understand why it’s important, and why it needs to be streamlined and managed properly. That’s creating opportunities for our company.”

Neill S. Wright, president and CEO of Bronze Valley. (contributed)

Prior to founding Stimulus in 2017, Stanard was an executive in vendor management, with over 15 years of experience working with vendors and suppliers for some of the largest publicly traded companies in the country. That experience equipped her with an understanding of what she calls “relationship intelligence,” the bottom-line impact that comes from building a strong network of suppliers and giving them the same level of attention and courtesy that employees and customers receive. The concept touches on issues relative to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Sourcing and procurement are strategic functions,” Stanard said, pointing out that companies spend more on suppliers than any other balance sheet item. “It’s important to focus on who you’re working with and why you’re working with them.”

Atlanta-based Pruuvn assists companies in identifying and hiring new employees faster while reducing risk. Utilizing blockchain technology, Pruuvn aids in attracting verified employees and contractors, adding them quickly and effectively to work teams, and monitoring their compliance safely and securely. It helps people maintain control of their credentialing and background data, providing the ability to share it on demand with prospective employers, financial institutions and virtually anyone else who needs it.

“It’s about fostering economic opportunity,” said Pruuvn founder and CEO Bryan Hobbs. “Pruuvn works for everybody. It helps companies identify and search for candidates that meet set criteria, get them hired and onboard them instantly. It helps contractors and gig workers by giving them control over their own information and data. It helps everyone involved in the process make better decisions and gives them greater peace of mind.”

Prior to founding Pruuvn, Hobbs worked for Norfolk Southern, a leading railroad freight company. While describing Norfolk Southern as “a great company that provided me the opportunity to grow,” Hobbs noted that his upward mobility entailed moving his family four times within five years. In the last move, his wife lost out on a salary increase because a previous employer failed to verify her work history. That’s when the idea of Pruuvn was born.

“The employer was verifying work history and credentials in an antiquated way,” Hobbs said. “That made no sense, as it was not the first time my wife’s work history had to be verified. Pruuvn eliminates that concern, utilizing blockchain technology that streamlines the entire process.”

A data trust with a simple signup process, Pruuvn has more than 1,000 credentialed users. Hobbs said the numbers so far reflect that users achieve 30% savings in onboarding cost and 75% in onboarding time. Pruuvn is assisting clients in making more than 500 hires per month.

Bronze Valley was launched five years ago with support from Alabama Power. It is a nonprofit, early-stage venture investment platform that supports high-growth innovation and technology-enabled companies created by diverse, underrepresented and underestimated founders. Bronze Valley is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Learn more at bronzevalley.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

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