What happened this past week on the B2B investment front? Unfortunately, not much. Just four noteworthy funding rounds took place, spanning only three countries and raising a measly $11.4 million. The good news is that after a few weeks absent on the scoreboard, alternative lending startups once again took the lead among VC backing.
Big Data: $1M
Alternative lending made a loud comeback this week when U.K.-based invoice financing platform MarketInvoice announced its $9.4 million funding round on Sunday (Aug. 16). The investments, led by Northzone Venture Capital and Paul Forster, provide support for the platform’s unique business model of allowing businesses to post their outstanding invoices online and have investors participate in an auction to finance the bill. According to MarketInvoice, it has already facilitated more than $780 million in invoice loans since it launched in 2011.
In Singapore, P2P small business lending platform Capital Match announced a $700,000 Series A fundraising round led by Innosight Ventures, also from the country. Reports said Monday (Aug. 17) that existing backers Crystal Horse Investments and CE-Tech Invest also contributed to the fund. Capital Match’s Series A round comes just months after the startup commenced operations. Capital Match CEO and Founder Pawel Kuznicki said that while the SME community in Singapore makes up 99 percent of businesses and employs 70 percent of the workforce, small businesses obtain just 27 percent of business loans. “The peer-to-peer lending model has been taking off around the world,” he said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be bringing this model to Singapore and serving the needs of SMEs in this dynamic economy.”
India’s logistics startups have been on a roll lately when it comes to attracting venture capital. On Monday (Aug. 17) yet another member of the market, Shadowfax, revealed that it has received $300,000 from investors for its on-demand, hyperlocal B2B delivery operations. Reports said Snapdeal’s Rohit Bansal and Kunal Bahl participated in the fundraising, as did Powai Lake Ventures and others. Reports from YourStory said unnamed sources are anticipating another round of funding in the works. For Shadowfax Cofounder and CEO Abhishek Bansal, the company’s goal is to facilitate other businesses’ success. “We believe that improving the existing state of last-mile delivery and hyperlocal logistics would enable all future business growth,” he said in a statement.
Through the use of Big Data and loyalty programs, U.K.-based Loyalty Bay is helping other businesses increase conversion rates on their websites. The business model attracted investors, reports said Monday (Aug. 17), as the firm raised a reported $1 million in late seed funding led by Talis Capital, with participation from other venture capitalists. Loyalty Bay provides services so companies can reward potential customers for a variety of actions, like referrals, signups and sales. According to reports, it uses data analytics to identify the appropriate reward for a customer at the right time. “We marry the gift card and incentive sector up with ad technology to increase onsite conversions,” explained Loyalty Bay CEO William Roberts in a statement. The company targets its services to SMEs in an array of markets.
And that’s it: $11.4 million in venture capital funds spanning two continents. After a rally of big-ticket investments, it is perhaps not surprising that investments would have to take a break sometime. On the bright side, alternative lenders, which had been noticeably absent from previous investment rounds this summer, finally made their way back into the hearts (and wallets) of backers. Could this signal a revival for alt-finance this fall? Stay tuned …