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Jul 13, 2023

Google supercharges public procurement revolution with game-changing investment in GLASS

Google invested in GLASS

We are thrilled to officially announce that Google invested in GLASS, enabling us to become part of one of the fastest-growing technology ecosystems in the world, accelerating our vision of revolutionizing the way governments buy goods and services from small businesses worldwide.

GLASS is the result of an extensive and challenging journey embarked upon by our founder and CEO, Paola Santana. She questioned if technology, as a system and set of tools and methodologies, was better than politics to create much-needed global change at an accelerated pace. 

Having discovered the power of exponential technologies in Silicon Valley, and after co-founding the pioneering startup behind the development and manufacture of autonomous drones for transportation, Matternet, Paola came across her next big moonshot: developing technology infrastructure, powerful and disruptive enough to help governments identify, quickly and in real-time, what they were doing right and wrong, so they could take immediate measures to self-correct and govern better.

It is worth noting our founder’s extensive background and hands-on experience at the intersection of technology and the public sector. Paola is a Fulbright scholar with a master’s degree in government procurement, who has successfully engaged with The White House, the U.S. Congress, the FAA, and NASA to enact the first drone regulation in the United States in 2016, and who co-established the Dominican Republic’s first Constitutional Court back in 2012. She has also collaborated with the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the OECD developing striking public infrastructure projects, and has been featured in CNET’s Top 20 Latin in Tech, Forbes Next 1000, LinkedIn’s Top Professionals Under 35 in Enterprise Tech, and served as an appointed member of the first FAA Drone Advisory Committee.

Fueled by the vision of scaling good processes and decision making, empowering the people running government agencies, and intelligently managing public resources, Paola founded GLASS and developed Glass Commerce, a pioneering e-commerce solution built to streamline daily government purchases and help buyers access an increased range of high-quality products and services, from pre-verified vendors, with a couple of clicks. 

Our vision has even more significance when we mention that, even though 99% of the global economy is constituted by Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), being the backbone of our economies, these businesses usually struggle to access opportunities to offer their products and services to the world's largest buyers: governments. Similarly, while governments establish objectives aimed at incorporating small businesses into their public procurement processes, allocating a portion of contract awards to such businesses, or meeting a certain percentage of purchases from them, they often fall short of achieving those goals. 

It is precisely at this moment that we step in, channeling all our efforts towards dismantling the barriers that impede interactions between governments and small, diverse, and local businesses. We are on a mission to forge a bridge that will revolutionize the way public procurement is conducted, transcending legacy systems, and paving the way for a new era of possibilities between governments and small businesses. 

Our marketplace platform enables government buyers to acquire goods, services, software and rentals from verified Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and local, diverse vendors. We provide small and diverse businesses with the digital infrastructure required to showcase their products and services online, accept government orders, process government payments, and access relevant data insights, logistics and delivery options, so they can tap into the $800 billion dollars industry that government small purchases represent in the United States. To date, we have canalized over $2.3 million dollars in government sales to hundreds of diverse and small businesses. 

Our rapid growth and adoption in the last three years of operations has allowed us to streamline procurement transactions for over 41 Federal, State and Local government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the States of Illinois and Florida, Dallas County, Pierce County, and the Cities of Seattle, Miami, Oakley and others. 

We’ve facilitated the procurement of over 5.8 Million items to date, and have successfully transacted over $4 million dollars in our government marketplaces. Our work has been featured on Bloomberg News, Stanford, ILSR, Business Insider, and Bloomberg Radio, and ranked in the Top 10 GovTech Solutions and as a 2022 Open Contracting Champion by Open Contracting Partnership. 

With Google's backing, we will leverage their highly-scalable resources, such as cutting-edge AI and Machine Learning tools, to further strengthen our government marketplace capabilities and improve our platforms’ interfaces and experiences. This will definitely bring us closer to fulfilling our mission of revolutionizing how governments buy.

Paola points out that, "The Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund will accelerate our efforts of bringing 32 million small businesses into the government economy. With this support, we expect to heavily leverage and integrate Google's AI and ML capabilities into our pioneering government marketplaces."

The Latino Founders Fund is a global initiative providing non-dilutive funding, ongoing support, and the opportunity to connect with other Latino founders. So far, the Latino Founders Fund has awarded more than $20 million to help Latino-led startups secure funding, strengthen communities and create generational change.

This funding by Google also builds on a great momentum for our startup, having recently announced the closing of a $3 MM seed round led by New Age Capital, followed by Newtopia VC, Alcove Capital, SV Links, Kittyhawk Ventures, One Planet VC, Worldgate Group, Alchemist Accelerator, Tubbs Ventures, Capital Plus Financial, Corporación Inmex - NOA Capital Corp. and PeopleFund Inc., among others. 

We are thrilled to have Google by our side as we write the next chapter in our journey. This is just the beginning, and we can't wait to see what we unlock next for governments, worldwide. It’s Game Time for team Glassbreakers!