Innovators are changing the way B2B business is done day to day, moment by moment. This week, PYMNTS decided to offer a glimpse into how startups and their venture capitalist supporters are making daily tasks easier for the industry.
Let’s take, for example, a corporate buyer. This week, investors gathered $272.5 million in funding for companies that could help corporate customers remove friction, from the way they find products to purchases, to the way they access and spend money, to the way they collect data about that spending.
[bctt tweet=”This week, investors gathered $272.5 million in funding for B2B companies that remove friction.”]
Find Out What You’re Working With
First, before a corporate customer can procure goods or services, a business has to know what it’s working with, what funds it has and what it needs from a supplier. The Software-as-a-Service sector has broadened massively in the last few years, providing corporations with cloud-based platforms to oversee enterprise resources, track finances, handle employees and partnerships and beyond.
With so many software options available, however, one startup wants to make it easier for companies to choose what they need. AppDirect secured an impressive $140 million from backers in an investment round led by JPMorgan, reports said on Wednesday (Oct. 7). According to reports by TechCrunch, that brings the amount of money AppDirect has raised to more than $245 million.
The company acts as a referral service for SaaS providers, including Google and Symantec, reports said. The startup’s co-CEO Daniel Saks told the site that at the moment, AppDirect is viewed as a storefront for software-shopping businesses, but it is working on enhancing its app management and billing features, too.
Now equipped with the right software to take control of business operations and find out the resources available, a corporate buyer may have to access working capital to fill the gaps.
U.K. small business alternative lender GapCap secured more than $1.5 million in funding on Thursday (Oct. 8) in a Series A funding round to help SMEs in the nation access the finances they need.
Instead of the marketplace lending model, GapCap first launched as a factoring service, linking with individual investors to purchase outstanding invoices. Reports said that a $7.7 million investment from a family office, however, has broadened the lender’s financing abilities.
GapCap Founder and CEO Alex Fenton recently spoke with AltFi to discuss the funding, telling reporters that the backing will be used to “create unique and groundbreaking financial technology” to provide a more transparent, easier and flexible service to small business borrowers.
With the money in place to buy what a company needs, now it’s time for a business to do some shopping. Digital commerce has taken off like a bullet in the B2B space over the last few years, but with so many online options, it can be difficult for corporations to find the right products and services.
That’s where startup Hubba comes in, which just snagged $11 million in Series A funding yesterday (Oct. 8). Hubba operates as a product discovery platform for corporate buyers, one that links brands with their eCommerce business partners. Key to Hubba’s solution, the company said, is ensuring product information accuracy.
Real Ventures led the funding, with Kensington Venture Fund and others participating as well.
“At Hubba, we are on a mission to be the source for every piece of product content for every product on the planet,” said Hubba CEO Ben Zifkin in a statement. “The goal is to power this new generation of commerce while shining a light on amazing products and brands.”
Reports said Hubba currently works with 10,000 sellers and has tripled the size of its team in the last year alone.
Paying The Bills
A product is identified, and now a business has to actually buy it. Procure-to-pay service provider BuyerQuest streamlines the procurement and payment process for corporations via a cloud-based solution, and on Monday (Oct. 5), backers showed their support for the solution.
BuyerQuest announced a $7 million funding round led by Argentum and First Analysis, reports said. The software firm wants to now integrate more robust services into its solution, including B2B payments and a feature to help corporate users secure early payment discounts. BuyerQuest has already secured some high-profile clients, reports said.
“BuyerQuest is fundamentally changing the way large organizations approach enterprise procure-to-pay,” the firm’s CEO, Jack Mulloy, said in a statement announcing the investment. “As we continue to win marquee, global customers, it’s imperative that BuyerQuest remains on the forefront of innovation in the procure-to-pay market.”
Innovators are clearly focusing on the potential of the cloud and the Internet to innovate B2B procedures. With all of these digital functions, there are troves of data flying through the air, waiting to be captured by a business to gain an even clearer view of their spending and business processes.
Capturing and analyzing that data, however, is a common point of friction for companies. Venture capitalists on Wednesday (Oct. 7) focused on the innovators working to lessen this friction, as backers from JMI Equity, New Enterprise Associates and others funded Code42.
The startup secured $85 million in Series B backing, reports said. Code42 is a Software-as-a-Service firm that stores, protects and analyzes data for corporate clients.
“This funding enables us to grow even faster in endpoint backup and accelerates our efforts to build analytics and actionable intelligence on top of the historical archive of end-user data,” said Code42 CEO Joe Payne in a statement.
We’ve come full circle: Corporations need software to gain a bird’s eye view of their enterprise, which allows them to pinpoint what products and services their business needs, how much money they need to fund it and eventually carry out a transaction. All of these business processes are coupled with bits of information, which, with the right software, provides a way for a business to gain a transparent view of the enterprise.
And thus, the loop is closed.
Well, not yet. One last bit of funding hit the B2B market last week, and for some, it’s the most important moment in the workday: lunch.
On Tuesday (Oct. 6), reports revealed that EzCater snagged $28 million from investors, led by Insight Venture Partners, in a Series C round. EzCater provides corporate catering and meal delivery services to companies. It’s not exactly a novel idea, but according to VCs and EzCater CEO Stefania Mallett, what sets the company apart is its pan-national reach.
With businesses that travel, they need a catering service that can travel with them, meaning EzCater can cater business meetings in multiple locations, Mallett said, adding that the new funding will be used to extend its national reach.