“Ramadi 2004 is where I first realized that something wasn’t right. Our unit got hit hard, leaving our vehicles disabled and us stranded, waiting on parts from resupply. We immediately went from convoy to foot patrol, which exposed us to firefights and roadside bombs. At the time I didn’t think about procurement, I just thought they were screwing us over. There was a war going on, and [the Department of Defense] couldn’t supply their troops?”
Meet Jesse Longoria, a former Marine sniper and Purple Heart recipient, who lost his arm when his unarmored humvee was struck by a roadside bomb while serving his country during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Like tens of thousands of other young men and women, Longoria bears the wounds of war both visible and invisible. So when he talks about supply chain problems, he isn’t just speaking from desk experience.
After his release from active duty, Longoria met Sevie Sarabia, another combat veteran, in a training program for contracting professionals at the Department of Veterans Affairs. And as with most startup founder origin stories, theirs involves both good fortune and great timing. Together they learned why those the supply chain challenges they’d experienced in battle had occurred. And by sharing their frustrations with available supplies in the field of battle, they bonded over a desire to solve those problems so others wouldn’t have to suffer.
Their first success was something that eludes many other startups: the ability to get hyper-focused on solving one specific challenge. In their case, it would be to improve government contracting by encouraging more participation in the public sector marketplace.
By December 2015, he, Longoria & a third veteran formed a limited liability company with the vision of creating a mobile app that would make finding government opportunities in the State of Texas easier and more efficient. Their solution would be called BidView, and their mission would be to improve government contracting by encouraging more participation in the public sector market from socioeconomically disadvantaged entities like Veteran and Woman-owned businesses.
And through that mission, they could create a stronger supply base for state and local governments so civil servants wouldn’t have to suffer the supply shortages that they experienced during their military service. This is precisely what makes this startup origin story so compelling: two entrepreneurs who felt a need so acutely that inaction would be on par with causation. Quite simply, if BidView was borne of the battle, it spent its formative years in the everyday banality of a government desk job.
In this very special episode of the Public Impact Podcast, we hear the whole story in the words of the men who lived it, as Jesse Longoria and Sevie Sarabia sat down with Public Spend Forum’s Frank McNally for this latest episode of the Public Impact Podcast.
Editors Note: I have to say, this episode was a huge honor for us to put together. Special thanks to Jesse and Sevie for taking the time to share how their experience in the military—and in particular the hardships they faced—bonded them together in the development of BidView.
This post was updated in November 2018 to provide an update on Sevie & Jesse’s startup journey with BidView as the team redesigns its website in preparation for a January 2019 relaunch.
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