Earlier in the week, we reported on the bust that is B2B venture capital this week. There hadn’t been any investments in B2B finance and payments startups in the first half of the week, a void that casts doubt on those earlier reports of investors cozying up to startups targeting businesses, not consumers.
“For a lot of consumer startups, it’s not always obvious how you are going to monetize, and there is a lot of competition for eyeballs,” explained 500 Startups venture capital lead Dave McClure in an interview last month with Reuters. “For a lot of B2Bs, as long as you are able to get the initial customer in place, there is a lot of potential for making money and continuing that business.”
Luckily, the rest of the week played out fairly nicely for B2B startups, with a few raising dough for their B2B financial services solutions. Turns out, it wasn’t a total bust.
The startup may not operate in the fleet card space, but Haven’s B2B solution can certainly impact the bottom line. The company announced on Wednesday (May 4) that it secured $11 million for its freight procurement solution, which allows commodity traders across the globe to book freight and logistics services via an online portal.
The Series A funding was led by Spark Capital and saw participation from AITV, O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures, Data Collective and First Round Capital, according to reports.
In a statement, Haven CEO Matt Tillman spoke of price volatility for shippers that presents some of the toughest challenges.
“Rate volatility is currently a serious problem for both sides of the industry,” the executive said. “Freight is the largest variable cost for many shippers, and technology has the power to smooth volatility. Incorporating data and increasing automation reduces overall supply chain risk.”
Haven, which operates in Singapore, Europe and the U.S., said it will use the new funds to expand operations across Asia and Europe.
Canada-based Bench stands as this week’s sole B2B FinTech company that secured venture capital this week. The firm revealed on Wednesday a $16 million Series B round, spearheaded by Bain Capital Ventures. Altos Ventures and Contour Venture Partners also participated, according to reports.
Bench provides online bookkeeping solutions for small businesses and independent contractors. According to CEO and Cofounder Ian Crosby, bookkeeping for entrepreneurs is an area that needs some work.
“We offer entrepreneurs a better way to solve a universal problem,” he said. “We are hitting a disruptive price point and executing well in a space that is ripe for change.”
With millennials increasingly taking over the small business ownership population, Crosby added that the demand for digital bookkeeping tools, combined with an increase in independent contractors, makes for a fruitful market.
“The structural shift in the U.S. economy toward sole proprietorships and away from corporate payroll jobs presents an opportunity to serve a rapidly expanding segment,” said San Francisco-based partner at Bain Capital Ventures Indy Guha in a statement.
That same day, another Canadian startup in the B2B financial services space revealed its own round of funding. Hockeystick, which aggregates and analyzes financial data for investors after they’ve funded a company, said it had secured $600,000 in seed funding from backers on both sides of the border.
LaunchPad Venture Group, BDC Capital, York Angels and Spark Angels all participated in the funding, reports said on Wednesday.
Hockeystick told reporters that it is operating in a space that generally focuses on pre-investment for startups.
“We focused on the problem of: ‘What happens after a fund makes their investments?’” explained Hockeystick Founder Raymond Luk. The company consolidates CEO information, financial reports and statements, fundraising data and other information to help an investor understand where their money is going and how it's being used at the company it funded. Luk said Hockeystick integrates with existing financial tools, like QuickBooks, to aggregate financial data and said the funds will be used to strengthen its tools and APIs, all in the name of corporate data analytics.