For startups, 2016 wasn't the best year in venture capital. Analysts say that investors’ wallets could be opening up as we enter 2017, though.
“VCs used 2016 to manage costs, set priorities and valuations,” explained Rahul Khanna, managing partner at Trifecta Capital, in an interview with Business Standard published Wednesday (Dec. 7). “It was important for investors to pause, focus on the basics, which sent a message to the founders that raising money is not going to be easy. They need to manage the burn, drift and cut losses.”
While Khanna added that it's “hard to say” whether venture capital funding is getting easier for startups, there is evidence that FinTech — and, specifically, B2B FinTech — is headed for a solid year.
This week, though, expectations should be tame: There were two high-profile investments in the B2B FinTech space led by Deloitte and Santander, but without knowing how much backers provided, it's hard to say whether this week could be considered something to celebrate. The Asia-Pacific region reigned again with two deals in Australia and Singapore, while the U.K. and the U.S. round out the rest of the investment activity.
Read up on our latest B2B venture capital breakdown below and decide for yourself whether this week was a boon or a bust.
Over the weekend, Australia's Timelio revealed a $3.7 million investment round led by Thorney Investment Group, as well as John Dahlsen. Dahlsen, who formerly served as the board director for ANZ Bank, has been vocal about his disapproval of traditional financial institutions and what he says is a lack of innovation, reports said. Apparently, he’s putting his money where his mouth is by investing in Timelio, which offers invoice financing on a digital marketplace. The company said it plans to use the funding to expand its staff across leadership, sales and marketing positions and continue to develop its underlying technology.
Marking the most high-profile of investments this week is Tradeshift, a supply chain management and procure-to-pay company that revealed new funding from Santander's venture capital unit, Santander InnoVentures, announced Monday (Dec. 5). InnoVentures Managing Partner Mariano Belinky noted that Tradeshift has enabled SMEs to more accurately predict cash flow and highlighted the flexibility of its cloud infrastructure to integrate into existing business systems. While the funding may have grabbed headlines, the companies are staying mum on the exact amount raised for Tradeshift.
Deloitte revealed its own high-profile backing this week with new funding for SETL, a blockchain startup based in the U.K. that looks to apply distributed ledger technology to payments and settlement. According to reports Wednesday (Dec. 7), the funding marks Deloitte's first public investment in a blockchain company, but again, the firms kept quiet about how much was raised. Still, the investment isn't much of a surprise, considering Deloitte and SETL partnered last month to develop a contactless payment card for Metro Bank using SETL's distributed ledger platform.
The Asia-Pacific region scored again with Tjaara's funding worth $1.2 million, announced Thursday (Dec. 8). The Singapore-based firm secured the investment from Senjō Group to support its online eCommerce platform, which connects businesses to wholesalers to facilitate the procurement process. Tjaara, which means “marketplace” in Arabic, operates as a sort of escrow service for buyers and suppliers, reports explained, to support cross-border B2B trade and procurement, offering services like language translation, logistics and more, focusing on trade to and from China. “We realized that a lot of smaller and medium-sized retailers were unable to navigate Mandarin-only manufacturer listings or access factory-direct prices,” Tjaara Cofounder Fred Then explained in a statement.