The alternative lending boom of yesteryear secured impressive amounts of attention, and dollars, from venture capitalists towards the FinTech startup industry. Today, however, investors are increasingly showing a more conservative approach to the FinTech space.
It means investors have quieted their funding via venture capital and IPO backing. As The New York Times described the phenomenon among investors in a piece this week: “Their challenge has been to distinguish those that deserve the FinTech premium from others that are simply putting lipstick on a lender.”
The term “FinTech” seems to be overly stretched these days, the report suggested, being thrown around to apply to businesses that are more bank-like and less innovative in how they develop and use technology.
Perhaps that’s why, this week, B2B FinTech and payments companies are nowhere to be seen in the venture capital roundup. Instead, Software-as-a-Service — hardly a segment of FinTech — secured three out of the four investment rounds. We break down the investments below.
Even with doubts arising about its vitality, alternative lending seems to never fail to land on the venture capital board. The latest to do so is Liwwa, a small business financing platform to connect investors with companies in need of financing. Liwwa, based in Jordan, just secured $2.3 million from Badia Impact Fund, DASH Ventures and other backers, reports said on Wednesday (April 6).
In a statement, Liwwa Chief Technology Officer Samer Atiani said the funding would be used to enhance the underwriting technology used by the platform, an effort aimed at facilitating loans to SMEs with limited credit histories. The firm said there is a $240 billion funding gap for SMEs in the Middle East and North Africa region that it will look to fill.
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because Consensus is the rebranding of formerly named DemoChimp, a B2B demo automation software startup that announced on Tuesday (April 5) a $4.2 million Series A funding round.
Peak Ventures led the funding, which included participation from CEB and angel investors.
Consensus wants to disrupt the live demo industry in the B2B sales process with automated demos that can be personalized for corporate buyers. Sellers can also create interactive demo videos for potential customers and build a demo around the particular needs and interests of that client, the firm said, adding that its solution cuts down sales cycles for suppliers and other B2B sellers.
“Contrary to popular belief, there are no complex sales,” stated the company’s CEO and founder, Garin Hess. “Only complex purchases. It’s not about the seller anymore; it’s all happening in the buying group. With more than five people, on average, in every B2B deal, it’s not just one buying journey that you have to shepherd; it’s half a dozen.”
The next day (April 6), MobileLogix announced the completion of Series A funding for its own Software-as-a-Service solution.
The company, which did not reveal the value of that funding, provides software for businesses with in-field technicians. MobileLogix uses automation and analytics to forecast what resources these companies will need to meet the needs of their workforce. The tool combines logistics, vehicle management, workforce optimization technology, service requests and other aspects of in-field technician needs, as well as an invoicing solution for when the job is complete.
“Every day, more companies realize that adding predictive ‘manufacturing-like’ processes into field service adds a long-needed transparency, bringing visibility to the field, removing the mystery of productivity and liberating field service functions from outdated legacy solutions,” pitched MobileLogix CEO and Founder Ron Babich in a statement.
Canal Partners and Tallwave Capital contributed to the Series A funding, the company said.
In the largest deal of the week, Mintigo announced a $15 million funding round led by Sequoia Capital, further cementing SaaS's lead in this roundup. The company, which announced the funding on Wednesday (April 6), provides data and predictive analytics for B2B marketing companies.
Self-described as "the deepest in the B2B data sector," Mintigo's data pool includes information from 15 million companies and 200 million individuals and integrates with existing marketing solutions offered by firms like Oracle and Salesforce. Still, according to Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer Tal Segalov, it's about the kind of data — not the quantity of it.
"It's not about having the most data; it's about having the right data, which is what makes the biggest difference in finding your best leads," he said in a statement.