From AI To T&E, B2B FinTechs Rake $141 Million

2. September 2017.

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Don’t let the lack of news about mega-grossing venture capital (VC) rounds fool you. This week’s B2B venture capital activity led to an impressive $141.2 million in total funding across nine rounds, with startups ranging from corporate travel and expense (T&E) management and small- and mid-sized business (SMB) accounting to artificial intelligence and beyond. VC activity was especially high across the U.S. and Asia, and PYMNTS lined up all the B2B FinTechs that recently scored fresh funding.

Travel and Expense Management

TravelBank

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a T&E startup land venture capital, but TravelBank broke the drought with $25 million in Series B funding announced this week. Based in the U.S., the company provides travel, expense management and rewards for corporates, the latter being a unique offering rewarding businesses for booking cheaper travel. The funding will be put towards expanding staff and developing its product as TravelBank continues its focus on SMB clients. DCM Ventures led the round, which also saw participation from Propel Venture Partners, DHVC, NEA, Accel and Silicon Valley Bank, according to reports.

Cross-Border B2B Payments

BitPesa

Despite being banned in its home country of Kenya, BitPesa, a startup that uses Bitcoin to facilitate cross-border B2B payments, has continued to proliferate throughout the globe. The company landed $10 million in funding thanks to Greycoft Partners, adding to a $2.5 million Series A round announced in January. Plug and Play, Draper Associates, Pantera Capital and Digital Currency Group also participated, reports said, and the 25 percent month-on-month growth BitPesa has experienced for nearly two years was a key selling point for investors, according to its founder and CEO Elizabeth Rossiello. The executive said BitPesa plans to use the funding to continue to disrupt the industry, expand and add new products like trade finance and other corporate lending solutions.

B2B eCommerce

51zhaoyou.com

China’s 51zhaoyou.com is a B2B eCommerce platform for the oil industry that provides trading services to buyers and suppliers as well as logistics and financial services. This week, the company landed $31.8 million in Series B funding from DCM Ventures, adding to the $3 million in Series A the company received last year. SIG, GGV Capital, Yunqi Partners, Huochebang, SKy9 Capital and Chuangban Investment also participated in the funding round, reports said.

Workforce Management

Gigster

Silicon Valley’s Gigster saw some high-profile backers contributing to its $20 million funding round led by Redpoint Ventures. In addition to Michael Jordan — yes, the legendary basketball player — Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff, Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz and Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Capital also participated. Gigster is a matchmaker that links businesses to software developers and freelance programmers in need of employment. With the new funding, Gigster said it hopes to add to its client base — which already includes eBay and IBM — as well as focus on sales and marketing. The company noted it also plans to add approximately 100 more employees.

Artificial Intelligence

LevaData

California’s LevaData highlights the potential for artificial intelligence to enhance supply chain management. This week, backers at Tola Capital supported that vision with $5 million in fresh funding. The AI integrated into LevaData’s solution helps companies like Cisco and Bose to more strategically source and procure. This is accomplished by deploying spend analytics and other data analysis to identify risks and cost saving opportunities throughout the supply chain. The funding will go toward reaching corporate clients outside of the consumer electronics industry, with LevaData hoping to enter the automotive, medical devices and aerospace and defense markets.

Appier

Taiwan’s Appier also focuses on artificial intelligence with a B2B solution aimed at helping companies more efficiently and effectively handle Big Data. The company scored $33 million in Series C funding from SoftBank Group, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, EDBI and AMTD Group, the company said this week, adding the funding brings the total raised so far to $82 million. The funds will go towards expanding staff and broadening its engineering and AI research beyond Taiwan.

Small Business Accounting

FlowAccount

Based in Thailand, FlowAccount was the target of Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank’s first investment from its new $30 million fund, placing $1.15 million in the startup. SBI Group and seed investors at 500 Startups and Golden Gate Ventures also participated in the round to support the cloud accounting company, which said it will use the funding to grow staff and develop additional SMB services. In addition to new funding, FlowAccount also recently launched a solution for accounting companies themselves, with plans to roll out payroll and other tools for SMB clients.

Logistics

Convey

The delivery platform based in Austin announced $8.25 million in Series B funding this week led by TechStars Venture Capital Fund, with participation from RPM Ventures and others. Convey provides logistics, supply chain visibility and analytics to shipping companies through a cloud-based platform. With the new funds, Convey said it will focus on innovation, product development, engineering and customer success.

Enterprise Solutions

Mobikon

Singapore’s Mobikon gears its back-office solutions to the restaurant industry, providing analytics, marketing, customer engagement and business operations tools to business customers. This week the company said it secured $7 million in Series B funding from Sistema Asia Fund, C31 Ventures and Qualgro, with the investment going towards efforts to scale up operations across Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. Mobikon said it also hopes to establish operations in the U.K. and Australia by early 2018. Existing backers Spring Singapore and Jungle Ventures also participated, reports said.

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