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The Vendorhawk team. (Vendorhawk photo)
The Vendorhawk team. (Vendorhawk photo)

As the notion of software delivered as a service upended the centralized world of IT spending, app usage has exploded across a lot of companies, and keeping track of the bills has gotten harder and harder. Vendorhawk thinks it can help.

The Seattle-based software-management startup has raised a $1.2 million seed round led by iNovia Capital with participation from several others, including Techstars Ventures, Social Starts, Telos Ventures, Curious Capital, and Alliance of Angels. Patrick Lowndes, co-founder and CEO of Vendorhawk, told GeekWire that the company plans to hire several more engineers and sales people as it adds to its seven-person roster.

When companies had single-digit numbers of software vendors, it was much easier to track how much they were spending on software. Those days are not coming back; modern companies can have dozens if not hundreds of small software vendors spread across departments like marketing or accounting. For the most part, this has been an improvement, allowing employees to find the best tools for their tasks at a fair price, but it can get messy.

“Everyone has some idea (of what they are spending) but it’s all a very fuzzy approximation, and that really is what a lot of people are stuck with,” Lowndes said. More companies than you think try to manage this with multiple spreadsheets, which, believe it or not, is not very efficient, he said. And contract management systems weren’t necessarily designed for some of the newer pay-as-you-go pricing systems common to such services.

Vendorhawk’s product allows companies to link all of their software vendors together in one view, and it can pull data from spreadsheets or other business management products like Okta or Net Suite. One of its key benefits is that it can track software that is being paid for but not actively used, which either spurs companies to use more of the software they already have, or change the terms of their license when it comes time to renew.

The startup, a graduate of Techstars Seattle, has ten customers using the product at the moment, including Mulesoft and Chef. Pricing is based on the size of the company, and Lowndes is aware of the mild irony in being a vendor-management vendor: Vendorhawk’s pricing and renewal schedules are built into the product.

Large companies can already use Vendorhawk to manage their spending, but Lowndes plans to use the new funding to increase the number of products that integrate with Vendorhawk’s system and start taking on thornier challenges, like massive enterprise-resource planning systems that can be quite complex.

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