SMB Lending, Automation In B2B VC Focus

 India and Europe were at the forefront of VC activity this past week, as dollars and euros flowed to startups focused on SMBs (Germany’s Penta among them of course) – and in particular, helping them access capital and automate backend functions.

FinTech investments targeting B2B and corporate services spanned the globe, with particular concentration this past week in SMB lending across India and Europe. The combined total is about $396 million for the week in VC funding.


In New Delhi, Awfis, focused on the co-working space in India, said this past week that it raised $30 million in a financing round designed to help the company expand in India. The money, which came via Series D round led by Sequoia Capital India and The Three Sisters Institutional Office, brings the total tally raised to date to $81 million.  The company has said it can accommodate 30,000 workers across its spaces, and per reports in TechCrunch, aims to add 340 centers in the next year and a half to accommodate 170,000 more individuals.  The firm now has 63 centers in nine cities.


Elsewhere in India, Indifi, which offers loans to small and medium-sized businesses and offers an online lending marketplace, raised the equivalent of $21 million to expand its presence in India.  The Series C round was led by CDC Group, which in turn operates as a UK government owned VC fund.  The fund was joined by existing investors Accel and Flourish Ventures, among others. The company has raised $34 million to date. The technology helps small and mid sized firms access loans from  banks and other financial providers.


In Germany, Penta, which exists as a banking provider for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) — recently acquired by fintech company builder Finleap — said late in the week that  week that it has raised “over” €8 million  ($8.95 million) in a funding round that was led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures. Participants also included Finleap.

As reported, Penta targets its banking services to businesses on the smaller end of the SMB spectrum, with up to 70 employees. Penta aims to on-board about 12,000 new clients onto its services, and the near term roadmap has 20,000 SMB clients on its roster by the end of the year. Expansion plans include the Italian market.


In Singapore, Aspire, a startup geared toward helping smaller firms access working capital, raised $32.5 million in a Series A round led by MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia.  Beyond MassMutual, other contributors to the funding round included existing investors Y Combinator and Picus Capital

The company has said that its neobanking platform leverages third-party financial service providers to access working capital to get working capital loans worth up to $72,000 USD equivalent. The company also offers B2B payment acceptance tools. Aspire has said it will expand its product offerings and boost geographic presence in Southeast Asia, and currently has operates in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam.


FinTech startup ePayRails said it has garnered $2.5 million in Series A funding to expand the Payment Hub offering, expand staffing and bolster client support. The finding round was led by Aspire Fund Management, which contributed $2 million of the aforementioned $2.5 million tally. Private investors contributed the remaining amount.  Based in Florida, the company is a FinTech payment as a service provider and offers services across a B2B focused hub, spanning accounts payable and receivables.

Aspire Fund Management, for its part, is based in Trinidad and Tobago.


Cybereason has said it gathered investments totaling $200 million, in a round that was led by SoftBank Group Corp. and affiliates. The total tally to date comes to $400 million. Additional investors include CRV, Spark Capital and Lockheed Martin. The new funding will be slated to boost company operations, with plans to build the world’s first full stack products and services for autonomous security. The company has said it has six million endpoints under protection.


ScaleFactor, with a platform focused on finance and automated accounting functions such as bookkeeping, raised $60 million in a series C round that was led by Coatue. The Series B came in January of this year and the company said the tally raised to date comes in at $100 million. Returning investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Canaan, Broadhaven Ventures, and Firebrand Ventures. The new capital, ScaleFactor said, will be used to expand its “business OS” capabilities and offer new solutions to SMBs.


Cloud-solution provider vCita, which serves small businesses with cloud-based business management offerings, said it has completed a $15 million funding round, led by Forestay Capital. The centralized dashboard as part of its offerings helps companies manage and collect payments. The company said that the capital will be used to expand globally and form strategic partnerships.


Cloudleaf Inc. offers  digital supply chain solutions. The company said late this week that it raised $26 million in Series B funding. The round will be leveraged for market expansion of its supply chain digital visibility platform. The roster of existing and incoming investors included BluePointe Ventures, Bold Capital Partners, Mahindra Partners and Tandem Capital. Total institutional funding for the firm is $39 million to date.