Word on the street is that B2B startups may be landing on the same path as B2C startups when it comes to the venture capital wells drying up. At least, that's what some analysts say is happening in India, which has recently emerged as a hub for B2B startup funding in areas like logistics and B2B eCommerce. Data from Tracxn Technologies released this week found less than half the volume of venture capital going to B2B startups in between January and August of this year compared to the same period the year before.
It could explain India's rare absence from our B2B Venture Capital Roundup this week. Instead, the funding landed in the U.S., U.K. and China, and while just four investments closed, there was one massive deal worth nearly $200 million in a pretty niche segment of B2B services.
While it's unclear exactly when the funding occurred, InstaSupply has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, reports by TechCrunch said on Wednesday (Sept. 7). The U.K. company is looking to remove friction from the procurement process — yes, that means paper invoices, too — by connecting procurement executives with suppliers without manual processes. Reports said the company is looking at blockchain technology to streamline invoice payment, purchase orders and other procurement necessities.
"Orders placed with suppliers are over the phone, via email or a multitude of various supplier websites that result in the bulk of invoices received mostly in paper format to a detached finance department," explained Lee Pruitt, cofounder of the company. "Our platform puts more eyes on the job to match orders with invoices. It's all about working smarter."
This startup is laser-focused on one B2B industry: telecom networks. Connected2Fiber uses predictive artificial intelligence to connect telecom suppliers with corporate buyers, while providing a secure, cloud-based platform for its clients to exchange network intelligence.
With $1.12 million in seed funding, announced on Thursday (Sept. 8), Connected2Fiber will use the investment to fuel growth and development of its Connected World Prediction Engine. The funding was provided by Nauta Capital, reports said, whose general partner based in Boston, Dominic Endicott, said that Nauta's confidence in Connected2Fiber stems from its ability to nix manual processes, like Excel, and other systems to help network operators visualize assets and connect to buyers.
Like Connected2Fiber, China's Huimin is a startup with a clear industry focus: groceries. The company, which announced nearly $200 million in Series B funding, provides commerce and logistics solutions for companies like family-owned convenience stores. Its platform connects those stores to brand merchants via its eCommerce platform and offers delivery services for its customers, which include university campuses and business districts.
The funding was led by China Innovation Investment, Western Capital Management, China United SME Guarantee Corporation, Fortune Venture Capital, Renzhong Capital Management and others, reports said. An unnamed source said the investment brings Huimin's valuation beyond $2 billion.
With $4.75 million in funding, Octiv has commenced a new partnership with GE to further its mission of helping sales and marketing teams manage documents and assets. The company uses data from existing ERP, CRM and other systems to automate document workflows for sales teams, helping clients gain greater visibility into buyer behavior, reports said.
The new funding, announced on Thursday, was led by GE Ventures and also saw participation from Greycroft Partners, High Alpha Capital and Allos Partners; it will be used to expand its product capabilities and grow its engineering team, the company said in its announcement. In a statement, Octiv Cofounder and CEO Dustin Sapp said its new ties with GE are "proof that workflow management in the cloud has become a must-have for enterprise organizations that need scalable solutions."