B2B Payments

B2B FinTech’s Unlikely Investment Winner

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With nearly $120 million raised for enterprise-serving startups, B2B venture capital saw one of its most successful weeks this year. It was also one of the most diverse. Businesses across the globe operating in the blockchain, eCommerce-as-a-Service and alternative lending spaces (to name a few) all secured funding.

But the segment of B2B FinTech that secured the largest backing — $50 million — is one you’ll never guess. Find out what it is, along with the rest of the week’s funding rounds, below.

 

Blockchain 

Fluent

In its latest funding round, Fluent secured $1.65 million from a flurry of investors, the startup revealed on Tuesday (May 10). Fluent provides corporations and financial institutions with a blockchain-based toolset for global trade and finance. Among its services are supply chain finance, cross-border payments and peer-to-peer working capital financing.

The seed funding, which followed a pre-seed round, brings the total raised by the firm to $2.5 million. Venture capital groups ff Venture Capital, Digital Currency Group, Draper Associates and several other backers participated in the round, reports said.

 

SaaS

BigCommerce

ECommerce-as-a-Service firm BigCommerce may have been rumored to be eyeing an IPO, but according to Tuesday reports, its just-announced $30 million funding round seems to have delayed those plans for now.

The company, which provides software for businesses looking to sell online, said it will use the funding to continue its push into the mid-market, an effort that not only includes helping businesses launch their eCommerce store fronts but also involves providing other business services, like omnichannel and social media support, accounting, inventory management and built-in SEO capabilities.

It’s not about being easy and cheap for businesses, according to BigCommerce CEO Brent Bellm. It’s about helping companies with between $100 million and $150 million in online annual sales access a robust set of solutions to manage their digital operations.

The $30 million funding round was led by GGV Capital, according to reports.

 

Enterprise Security

Pwnie Express

Venture capitalists provided $12.9 million to Pwnie Express, a startup that warns businesses of one of the easiest ways hackers can get into corporate networks: the standard office printer.

It’s certainly not the first device that comes to mind when one considers enterprise security, but in the age of the Internet of Things, with devices interconnected to the cloud and to the Web, the vulnerabilities of corporate networks are numerous. Pwnie Express looks to combat those threats by offering hardware and software that detects and alerts IT and security professionals if an unauthorized device has landed on the corporate network.

With the rise of the Internet of Things and the Bring Your Own Device movement, Pwnie CEO Paul Paget told reporters that “everything we learned about how to secure an organization is being totally undermined by this shift in the ownership of computer assets.”

With total funding now at $20 million, Pwnie said the Series B funding was led by Ascent Venture Partners. Existing backers also participated in the round, said reports, including MassMutual Ventures, .406 Ventures, Fairhaven Capital and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies.

 

Fleet

ChargePoint

It’s not every day that a fleet startup secures venture capital, let alone attention from investors. But reports on Wednesday (May 11) said ChargePoint has done just that, nabbing the week’s largest funding round at $50 million.

The firm, which saw the support spearheaded by Linse Capital, with participation from Braemar Energy Ventures and Constellation Energy, develops electrical vehicle solutions (including charging stations). While the space certainly includes consumers, ChargePoint has also established a footprint within the fleet industry. Just days after announcing the funding round, ChargePoint announced the launch of new charging stations specifically for electric fleet vehicles, as well as the creation of a fleet commercial card to streamline electric fleet vehicle drivers to use public charging stations to help fleet managers manage spend.

In a statement, ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano pointed to the attraction of electric vehicles for fleet.

“Adopting EV [electric vehicle] platforms simply makes sense for any fleet manager,” the executive said. “Not only are EVs much less expensive to operate and maintain, but they’re also better for [the] environment. That is why we are seeing forward-thinking organizations making the transition.”

 

Alternative Lending 

Capital Float 

The backlash from Lending Club’s CEO exit may still be reeling in the U.S., but in India, investors don’t seem phased by the issue. Reports on Thursday (May 12) said Capital Float, a local alternative small business lending platform, has raised $25 million in a Series B funding round led by Creation Investments Capital Management LLC, as well as existing supporters Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners and Aspada Ventures.

Now, with $42 million in total venture capital funds, Capital Float said that it will look to expand its reach to SMEs in India across more than 100 cities in the country. The firm also said it will roll out new products and expand the sources through which it obtains capital for its loans, according to reports.

At present, Capital Float said it has lent funds to small and medium-sized businesses in more than 40 cities in India.

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