Tradeshift, a platform connecting half a million buyers and suppliers globally, saw sales jump 400 percent last year, CEO and co-founder Christian Lanng said.
It’s a figure that suggests the Dane was right when he thought that business as usual, especially in global trade, was broken when he started the network in 2010. The platform allows companies _ now numbering 500,000 in 190 countries _ to create a profile, like on LinkedIn, search for one another and exchange invoicing and other documents.
But what has propelled Tradeshift past some competitors is its iconoclasm, especially a decision to allow suppliers to join for free.
“We recognized early on that to succeed, to connect businesses and have them actively engage, we would need to get rid of supplier fees,” said Peter Adams, global communications manager. “We were the first to put our foot down about this _ others have followed suit.”
Tradeshift uses crowd sourcing to validate information on the site and converts paper and other formats to electronic invoices, eliminating the need for businesses to type in data. The single, shared and open platform, which is constantly expanding its applications and partnerships, can also assist with currency exchange, tax compliance and fraud detection.
“It’s not just about e-invoicing, or Dynamic Discounting or other one-off piece of functionality,” Adams said. The company’s open, shared platform has contributed to organic growth, “with SMBs coming to Tradeshift on their own accord to sign up and benefit.”
Tradeshift has also attracted investors.
The company recently raised $75 million in funding from Singapore’s Scentan Ventures, which will help pave the way for its expansion in Asia. Tradeshift, which already has an office in Suzhou, China, where it develops a localized product, will open its doors in Tokyo.
Every Business On The Planet
“We spent a lot of time determining who the best partner would be to move Tradeshift to the next level,” said Lanng. Scentan “is aligned with our ambition to connect every business on the planet on one shared platform.
“Couple this with Japan’s appetite for change and innovation, and their ranking as the world’s third-largest economy, and the decision was made easy,” he said.
The company, headquartered in San Francisco, has a total of $112 million in funding to drive its global growth, including investments from PayPal and Intuit.
In addition to Asia, Tradeshift is seeing “a lot of traction in Europe,” where it is opening a London office, and in Latin America. The company has partnered with Invoiceware International to support compliance needs on that continent.
“It is in the DNA or our company to do things organically and on a global scale, from developing software to developing our business,” Lanng said. Tradeshift employs 150 people of 31 nationalities and boasts among the companies on its platform DHL, the National Health Service (U.K.), the French government and Vestas Wind Systems.