"Launching a startup is a competition with yourself every day. Learning and growing is part of the journey."

My favorite quote is: The brave may not live forever – but the cautious do not live at all – Richard Branson One thing I would change in others is: To have more empathy

Anne-Sophie Le Bloas

Disrupting the multi-billion procurement industry

TAKING A RISK TO HELP YOUR PEERS. Anne-Sophie Le Bloas created her company, Ravacan, out of necessity. She spotted a gap in her job as a global commodity manager for big consumer goods companies. "I always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but my parents are social workers and school teachers, so starting a company seemed risky at first."

Ravacan is the result of years of learnings from her previous roles in the corporate world. Specializing in global sourcing and cost reduction, Anne-Sophie worked for companies such as Rolls Royce and Fitbit. In over 13 years, she estimates she managed over $1 billion worth of goods. "Believe it or not, professional buyers don't have special tools or software to run scenarios and prepare their negotiations. Everything is done in Excel. This leads to errors, misunderstandings, and wasting time."

Inspired to help her peers, Anne-Sophie learned computer programming and created a prototype. In only a few weeks she closed her first customer, Molekule, a high-tech air purifier manufacturer. Since then, Ravacan has grown into an online platform that allows businesses to manage their supply chains effectively. Users can search for suppliers, assess their ethical credentials and collaborate on prices and delivery dates.

Just like corporate sales teams use CRM software or engineers with PLM and CAD, Ravacan aims to serve buyers and help them to save time, negotiate better and be more strategic. The platform now serves a network of hundreds of small and large businesses. “McKinsey estimates that the automotive industry wastes $60bn a year because they use technology from the 1980s to exchange critical information with their suppliers. This represents a huge opportunity.”

In the wake of the pandemic, with supply chains still experiencing disruption, Anne-Sophie's business is more needed than ever. "Right now, brands need to be able to make decisions faster. We are speeding up the communication between companies so they get information earlier and have the scenarios calculated automatically so they can react immediately.”

"However, this can happen only when inventory is available. For certain ingredients, for example, there's no magical source or any software that is going to solve those problems. Better strategies are needed, so those shortages don't happen in the future."

In 2016, Anne-Sophie moved from Europe to Silicon Valley with her wife to immerse herself in the tech world. Before launching Ravacan, she reached out to successful founders building technology in similar spaces to get mentorship and referrals to investors.

BEING OPEN TO NEW PERSPECTIVES. As Ravacan grows, so does the pressure Anne-Sophie places on herself. Despite her impressive CV and ever-growing list of achievements, she admits to battling with her inner critic. "I don't have the perfect recipe for negotiating the challenges of launching a startup. I would say that it's a competition with yourself every day. Learning and growing is part of the journey."

Another lesson Anne-Sophie has carried from her years in corporate to her own company is the importance of creating an inclusive culture that starts at the top. During her 13 years as a buyer in manufacturing, she recalls meeting just one openly gay person. "It was a very homogeneous group of people. What I like about being a founder and CEO is that you can decide who you want to work with, inside and outside your company. Working with the queer community and designing the tools that will give them a competitive advantage is something that empowers me every day."

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.