B2B investment came roaring back this week, with multimillion-dollar investments landing in several markets, and financing concentrated in North America and Asia. Small business finance and B2B eCommerce secured significant attention from venture capitalists, but it was a single European deal in the fleet management market that saw the top-dollar deal of the week, pushing the total value of B2B investments to more than $4.4 billion.
B2B eCommerce: $153.1M
SME Finance $255M+
Enterprise Mobility: $3M+
Expense Management: ?
Fleet Management: $4B
Big Data: $18M
Asia – $155.1M
India was a particularly hot market for investment in business-to-business firms this past week. Over the weekend, India saw a $100,000 investment into its domestic B2B eCommerce market. Omnikart revealed Friday (July 17) that Sumit Gandhi and Manish Gandhi provided the backing, which will boost the company’s ability to compete with the slew of foreign rivals like Walmart and Amazon, which have entered the nation in recent months. Omnikart said that this seed funding will hopefully precede a Series A round later this year, during which the company will look to raise $2 million.
The week saw even more action in India when Catamaran Ventures and New India Investment Corporation announced a $5 million funding round for Innoviti Payment Solutions, an investment the firm said would be used to increase its visibility for small businesses in need of working capital. “Our unique ability to extend loans for SMEs in real-time at their points of purchase solves a real-world SME lending problem,” said Innoviti CEO Rajeev Agrawal while announcing the investment on Tuesday (July 21). “We believe that our platform is a game changer and are eager to utilize this round of funding to rapidly scale our presence.” The company said it facilitates more than $75 million in SME loans across 20 cities in India, and provides payment processing both online and offline for its corporate clients.
India saw yet another round of funding for the B2B eCommerce space Thursday (July 23) when Orios Venture Partners reported that it raised $150 million in an effort to increase its funding to the B2B and B2C digital commerce market. “For 2015, we have identified that large opportunities exist in FinTech, B2B commerce, used merchandise and affordable products for the middle class,” said Orios managing partner Rehan Yar Khan following news of the funding. The company added that it plans to invest in about two-dozen seed-stage companies in the market.
Reaching another region of Asia was supply chain finance firm ApexPeak, which struck a deal to acquire market peer ASYX, the companies announced Wednesday (July 22). ApexPeak is based in Singapore, while ASYX has headquarters in the Netherlands and Indonesia. Together, the companies operate in several nations around the globe, focusing their financing efforts on small suppliers in need of financing as they wait for their corporate buyers to settle their bills. “By providing businesses with access to smart capital, we want to be that third option for decision-makers, alongside banks and credit cards, helping them unlock their growth potential,” said ApexPeak CEO Gakim Solomons at the time. Financial terms of their deal were not disclosed.
North America – $278M+
The U.S. and Canada saw their share of multimillion dollars in B2B firms this week, too. California-based business travel and expense management industry leader Coupa, for instance, made a new addition to its company Monday (July 20) when it announced the acquisition of TripScanner. The buyout was reportedly made in an effort to promote the open booking model of business travel, in which employees book their own itineraries, making the travel booking process less painless for travelers, but creating the need for companies to implement ways to enforce their corporate travel rules. “Travel preferences and booking options are a personal experience for most people,” said Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn in a statement. “Many employees traveling on business today want to maintain the same autonomy they have when booking personal travel.” Financial details of the acquisition were not reported.
Also on Monday, a player targeting the health care sector for mobile services announced a $3 million Series A funding round. U.S.-headquartered Limelight Health snagged the investment from MassMutual Ventures and AXA Strategic Ventures, which placed their confidence in Limelight Health’s cloud-based Software-as-a-Service platform and mobile technology efforts. The firm provides a platform on which health care players can integrate their payroll, CRM, and other tools; earlier this year the firm launched its first commercial product, QuotePad, which provides health care workers with a mobile platform to compare employee health insurance data. According to reports, Limelight will be using the funding to expand its mobile enterprise offerings for health care as it looks to reduce paper billing and insurance forms and boost the use of the mobile device in the industry.
U.S.-based small business lender LiftForward then announced new funding of its own on Tuesday when it revealed Varadero Capital and GLI Finance provided $250 million worth of credit facilities, funds that will be used to accelerate the company’s SME financing efforts. LiftForward’s marketplace lending model connects investors to small businesses in need of capital, allowing them to access up to $1 million in financing, the company said.
B2B analytics firm Leadspace, based in the U.S., squeezed in investment for the Big Data industry on Thursday (July 23) when it announced an $18 million funding round. The investments, the company said, will be used to strengthen Leadspace’s ability to provide businesses with predictive capabilities to increase their sales. “There have been a lot of entrants into the B2B predictive analytics space recently. It’s rare to find a company like Leadspace that is going beyond basic features and functionality to solve business challenges marketers are facing today,” said Battery Ventures General Partners Itzik Parnafes, one of the spearheaders of the investment round.
Investors didn’t ignore the U.S.’s neighbor to the north. In Canada, BEST Funds, a venture capital firm made up of Tier One Capital and B.E.S.T. Active 365, revealed their $3 million investment into eCommerce-as-a-Service firm GroupBy on Monday. The firm specializes in providing both B2B and B2C firms with the tools and support necessary to launch a digital commerce model.
Canada’s BlackBerry has been strengthening its B2B efforts as of late, especially with the reported partnership with Samsung, which sees BlackBerry’s mobile security software Knox onto Samsung mobile devices. On Wednesday, BlackBerry announced its latest effort to strengthen its position in the enterprise mobility industry with its security services through the acquisition of AtHoc. The buyout target provides businesses with the capability to exchange sensitive information and will reportedly be integrated into a slew of BlackBerry enterprise services, like BBM Meetings. According to BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen, the deal aims to strengthen BlackBerry’s ability to arm the enterprise with the security necessary to embrace the Internet of Things. Terms of the transaction were not reported.
Another Canadian firm, Procurify, was revealed to have raised $4 million on Wednesday to strengthen its SME services in the e-procurement and expense report space. According to reports, the company’s seed round of funding will be used to expand its sales, marketing and product development efforts. The company already operates with corporate clients in more than 58 countries, and anticipate processing more than half a billion dollars worth of procurement activity through its platform this year. Its funding round was led by several backers, including Pointe Nine Capital, the Business Development Bank of Canada, and Nexus Venture Partners.
Europe – $4B
Venture capitalists certainly concentrated their money in Asia and North America, but a single deal in Europe yielded the week’s largest deal. Germany’s Volkswagen announced this transaction on Wednesday when it said it reached a deal to sell its fleet management arm LeasePlan – claimed to be the largest such company on the planet – for $4 billion. The buyers include a consortium of firms, including TDR Capital, reports said, along with a unit of Goldman Sachs and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. According to VW Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch, as the auto conglomerate looks to strengthen its own fleet management services, “the time has, in our opinion, now come to hand LeasePlan over to new investors.” VW co-owns LeasePlan with German bank Metzler following the fleet management company’s acquisition in 2004.
With VW’s multibillion-dollar sell-off, the B2B space saw more than $4.4 billion in funding through investors and M&A over the last week, more than double the investment figures seen last week.