Finger pressing button labelled "RFP: Request for Proposal"

Alumni Startup Earns Seed Funding to Democratize the RFP Process

Imagine you’re the head of a big company and have an idea for a big project. You don’t have the time or the expertise needed in-house so you need to hire a marketing agency or consultant. But who should you hire? 

Your next step is to put out a request for proposals (RFP) describing the work the context. Then, you sit back and wait for the proposals, each a 30-page prospectus from someone who wants the job, to roll in. Of the 50 proposals submitted, you hire one company. What about the 49 other proposals?

“Nobody’s been looking at things from the point of view of the agencies responding to the RFPs. The lift is so high,” said Nyle Malik (BS ECE 20, MS CS 23), co-founder and CTO of a new company called Prosal.

Prosal just raised $1.58 million in a round of seed funding.

Prosal aims to make things easier by vetting RFPs and matching them to agencies who closely fit the proposed project. The company uses artificial intelligence to scan massive RFP documents, summarize them, and match them to agencies who pay a fee for the service.

“Out of these thousand RFPs we have right now, we can find the two or three that are the best fit for you,” said Nick Lopez (BS ME 19), co-founder and CEO of Prosal. “Agencies can have a data-driven approach to RFPs, which lets them grow on their terms. It’s a scalable approach to business development, allowing agencies to create a predictable and scalable pipeline, which is virtually unheard of in services businesses.”

Prosal also benefits the big companies and nonprofits issuing the RFPs by helping them find small and minority-run consultants they might never see otherwise. In the long run, it will help to democratize the RFP process.

Lopez came up with the idea for Prosal after talking with another friend, Alfredo Ramirez, now the company’s COO. Working in the nonprofit world, Ramirez was deeply frustrated with the RFP process. Once the idea started to take shape, Lopez reached out to Malik, whom he knew from his undergraduate years.

“We met at Georgia Tech – Lorraine, studying abroad,” Lopez said. “We traveled every weekend — trains, hostels, the works.

Lopez said that he was an obvious choice for Prosal. “I knew he was hyper-disciplined and had the technical prowess we needed.”

Getting to this point hasn’t been easy. Prosal was rejected from tech incubators like Y Combinator and Techstars but broke through with the Techstars Rising Stars program in August 2022.

Neal Sales-Griffin, Techstars managing director recognized the vision they were pursuing. However, he suggested an alternative approach to the market that revolved around sustainable revenue growth. In January 2023, one year after their initial launch, they reconfigured their product, pricing model, and target customer and launched again.

“We learned the hard way how difficult it is to get to 10 users,” Lopez said. “Then from 10 to 100.” Now, 6,000 agencies use the platform.

“There was a lot of doubt, but we made it through,” Lopez said, “and got our cash flow positive.” Six months later, they started a round of fundraising with a goal of $1.1 million. They raised $1.58 million.

Lopez and Malik attribute their success to the skills they learned at Georgia Tech.

“We learned to zoom out to the big picture and see where a cog fits in,” Malik said, “and then zoom in to see how we can make the cog work better.”

Another significant influence is entrepreneur Christopher W. Klaus, a former student and major supporter of the College of Computing who has invested in Prosal.

“This company would not have been possible without Chris Klaus. He was the first check in our round, which helped convince other investors,” Malik said. “I told him, I used to fall asleep in your building. Now you’re an investor in my company.”