ProcureNow, a San Francisco-based startup that specializes in automating government procurement, has added two new team members as the firm expands its footprint.

Robert Torres is the firm’s new “customer advocate,” overseeing accounts in the Western U.S., said ProcureNow Co-founder and Chief Customer Officer Thao Hill.

“Robert is a unicorn,” Hill told Techwire in an interview, adding that Torres has a deep background in multiple facets of the technology industry. Torres, a Carlsbad resident who joined ProcureNow last month, most recently was a mid-market account executive for Raken, a Carlsbad company specializing in construction management software. Before that, Torres’s affiliations included Procore Technologies, eCapital LLC and Portfolium. He attended Palomar College.

Hill said Torres’s father worked in government procurement, so it was an environment with which Torres was familiar.

“Robert grew up sitting around tables where people were talking about RFPs and bids,” Hill said. “He was a kid running around at procurement conferences. He had this really unique combination of SaaS (software-as-a-service) sales, a little bit of bid understanding … but it was really the story of growing up with his father in procurement” that rounded out Torres’s credentials. “He was really like this unicorn. You don’t get that many hungry, passionate people who want to jump into this space.”

Growth in ProcureNow’s government business was spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it forced on government technology, Hill said. 

“Around September-October, everyone started coming out with RFPs, and I think it was partly driven by COVID,” said Hill, who’s based in Sacramento. “When you win a number of open competitive RFPs in the procurement business, all of a sudden, it’s like, ‘Boom!’ We have been very fortunate in our growth.”  

A second new hire is Millie Crossland, the company’s new implementation manager. Crossland began working in government in 1999 and has been in the private sector since 2014, having been affiliated with Accela, Byrne Software Technologies, Sidwell and AccruePartners before joining ProcureNow last month. Crossland, who’s based in Jefferson City, Mo., has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southwest Baptist University, a master’s degree in gerontology from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a master’s in social work/administration from the University of Missouri at Columbia.

ProcureNow, which has almost a dozen employees, is still hiring, Hill said.

“We’re looking for engineers,” he said. “We’re looking for a senior-level full-stack developer or engineer — one, maybe two.”