SwagUp is an API-first promotional product distribution platform that is focused on eliminating friction from the swag buying and distribution process. The company handles every aspect of swag—from logistics and merchandising to software integrations and product distribution. Located in 27 different states with approximately 5,000 customers and close to 500 vendors on its platform, SwagUp is a boot-strapped startup that’s scaling at speed.
As a fully bootstrapped company, SwagUp constantly strives to do more with less. “Our biggest pain points have been ensuring we stay lean while still executing effectively,” says Artem Mashkov, SwagUp’s CFO. That means the team embraces as many opportunities to streamline and drive efficiency as possible. “Getting systems that are very easy to understand and very easy to onboard with low execution and low implementation risk is essential,” says Artem. Additionally, the team has found that predicting income and expenses accurately is key when operating leanly, as is maximizing the return on company spend.
To mitigate these various pain points, Artem and his team need to ensure they’re getting the best possible prices for the various tools and services SwagUp needs to keep running. To do that, Artem was personally negotiating each and every SaaS contract, without any insight into industry benchmarks.
“Our SaaS spend is getting into the millions of dollars, and the terms are not being negotiated properly,” says Artem. “For example, we may be given 20% off 50 seats, but we only need 20 seats. So what is this 20% of 50 seats giving me? I’m still overpaying. Net cash is bad. The final straw was that we’re growing very rapidly, our Saas expenses are rising over 100% year-over-year, and that spend has become a big enough line item for me to say, ‘we need to focus on this.’”
Partnering with Ramp was a no-brainer for Artem, who appreciated the various ways Ramp could keep SwagUp’s operations efficient while earning cash back on every purchase.
“I’m not issuing a million people cards on Chase,” says Artem. “There’s no way to manage that. There’s no way for them to leave notes. I’m also not having them all do this in QuickBooks. It’s just too many people and it’s not user-friendly.” As the company grows, Artem explains, “I’m trying to work with things that are easy to use, are semi-enterprise ready. And as we grow as a company, I see Ramp developing with us. Your speed of execution to product launch is incredible.”
SwagUp began using Ramp’s Buyer to standardize and optimize contract negotiations, which had become a critical goal. Buyer complements Ramp’s automated self-service platform with white-glove service from industry experts.
Since implementing Ramp, SwagUp has realized both time and money savings—and Buyer has negotiated materially more competitive contracts with multiple SaaS vendors. For example, when SwagUp was looking to purchase a Google Workspaces subscription through a reseller, it received an offer with pricing that wasn’t scalable as SwagUp grew.
The vendor initially offered a 30% discount for 250 seats. Based on Ramp’s pricing insights, the Ramp Buyer team ultimately secured a 35% discount for 250 seats for three years, which allowed SwagUp to both lock in this rate for all seats as it grows and maintain cost predictability into the future.
To date, Buyer has completed three negotiations for SwagUp and consequently helped the company save over $30K.
“Those savings decrease our burn as a bootstrapped company,” says Artem. “We made no effort, and we’re paying less.”
The cashback Ramp offers from daily corporate spend offers other opportunities to decrease burn. “All the cashback [from our spend on Ramp’s corporate cards] flows to us. I don’t have to split it between Justworks issuing and QuickBooks recording the data of what it is, so that’s been really nice. That saves time and makes it scalable,” says Artem. Scalability is embedded into the Ramp platform, which helps companies leverage automation to drive both efficiency and transparency into corporate spend.
“I really like the operational efficiency and visibility that Ramp offers,” says Artem. “I love you guys. You guys are great.”