Think of it like eBay for government surplus.
Headquarted in Pottstown and with offices at the Navy Yard, Municibid, the startup online auction platform built for governments to auction the tools, equipment, yes, even the infrastructure it no longer needs, has had two big wins in recent weeks: a year contract with the City of Philadelphia and a three-year deal with the City of Boston.
On the site, where only government agencies can sell but anyone can bid, typical items include vehicles, emergency equipment, heavy equipment, tools, furniture and commodity items like scrap metal, stone, wood and the like. Oh, and there was the one time when Municibid auctioned off that Montgomery County bridge.
Grabbing contracts from Philadelphia and Boston is a big leg up, even if founder Greg Berry isn’t getting a dime from the governments.
Berry, 31, says he and his staff of five have two functions: getting governments to use the service and getting someone to buy that 1993 Mack truck. He also is doing a bit of game changing.
“We recognize we have different forms of competition,” said Berry, who is a Philly Startup Leaders member. “It could be a government agency’s existing sealed bid process, a traditional live auction, trade-ins and other online auction services.”
But the online sales movement is shifting ideas of cost. Municibid, like competitors in the market, don’t charge the governments with which they work.
Municibid makes its money on a five percent premium on auction sales, not from big, fat government contracts. That obviously interests governments with shrinking budget lines: to the tune of more than 500 mostly local governments across the country, largely in the northeast, says Berry, who founded the company in 2006.
Berry, who founded IT consulting firm PointSolve in 1998 at the age of 18 and sold it last year with 200 clients, was particularly proud of scoring the big Philly contract: “Obviously this is a big win for us, and more importantly, in my mind, it’s a solid demonstration of the city’s desire to support it’s local economy.”
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