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GovDash aims to help businesses use AI to land government contracts

Tim Goltser and Curtis Mason have been building things together since high school, when the two were co-captains of the school’s robotics team. In college, Golser and Mason teamed up with Sean Doherty, whom Mason met as an undergrad at Boston University, to create Hang, an app for arranging get-togethers with friends. ·Doherty.

Fast forward to 2022, and Golser and Mason, along with Dougherty, are once again feeling the urge to start a business. After tossing around a few ideas, they decided to target what they saw as a largely unaddressed market: tools to help small businesses secure U.S. government contracts.

“The small business industrial base in the federal contracting community has been shrinking for much of the past decade,” Dougherty told TechCrunch. “It’s difficult for these companies to compete with giants like Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman. It’s also expensive for them to bid for contracts—if they don’t win, they could run out of cash. “

Finding and bidding on U.S. federal contracts is a laborious process due to a maze of systems and reams of paperwork. Doherty said this takes at least a few weeks to complete, and often the companies with the most resources are the most successful.

In a 2023 survey by purchase order financing startup Setscale, small business owners said insufficient cash flow and working capital, as well as a lack of time and resources, were their biggest obstacles to securing government contracts.

To fuel the growth of these small businesses, Goltser, Mason and Doherty founded GovDash, a platform that provides workflows to support the government contract acquisition, proposal, development and management process. GovDash was accepted into Y Combinator in 2022; Golser dropped out of college to help spearhead it.

GovDash is essentially a contract proposal generator.The platform automatically finds contracts that may be relevant to the business, reads requests for proposals, and writes proposals using generative artificial intelligence

Dougherty said GovDash can search solicitation documents to determine the contract’s requirements, required formats, evaluation factors and submission timelines. Dougherty said it can also identify contracts for which a business may be eligible based on its past performance and send alerts to the customer’s inbox of choice.

“When contractors want to respond to a government solicitation, they can run it through GovDash and put forward a proposal in a very short period of time,” Dougherty said.

Now, generative AI makes mistakes. This is an established fact. So why should businesses expect GovDash to be any different?

Doherty believes there are two reasons.

First, GovDash built a system that can cross-check business information to see how relevant the business is to a given federal contract. If the system determines that the relevance is not obvious, GovDash prompts the business to template various parts of the contract proposal with more information.

Government Dash

GovDash’s platform attempts to automate many of the more tedious aspects of pursuing and securing U.S. federal contracts.

Second, GovDash involves a lot of manual review. At every stage of the proposal generation process, the platform checks with human reviewers to obtain their approval.

Doherty acknowledges that these steps – cross-checking and manual review – are not infallible. But he claims they perform better than many of their competitors.

“Companies now have one place where business development data flows seamlessly, with AI agents at its core that automate tedious workflows,” Doherty said. “This is a huge win for C-suite management as they can produce more proposals at a higher quality level in a fraction of the time and put all related workflows on autopilot.”

Competition for GovDash is rapidly increasing.

GovDash competes with Govly, whose platform allows companies to evaluate, search and analyze government contracting requirements from different sources. The nearest competitor, Hazel, aims to use artificial intelligence to automate government contract discovery, drafting and compliance. Interestingly, both — like GovDash — are backed by Y Combinator.

But Doherty claims GovDash is ready to expand.

Having raised $12 million from investors including Northzone and Y Combinator, including a $10 million Series A this month, GovDash plans to expand its engineering team, hire more federal proposal managers to guide its product work, and Add new functionality to existing platforms.

Doherty said New York-based GovDash, which has six employees and currently works with about 30 federal contractors across the country, is “almost” cash flow positive.

“We’re building for the long term with our customer base,” Dougherty said. “[We’re] Capital is sufficient to weather eventual market tailwinds. “

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