It may be slow on the B2B venture capital front, with just $31.5 million in funding rounds for some pretty niche enterprise service providers. But thanks to WeWork, non-VC investors have shown a spotlight on the B2B space — the coworking startup has announced half a billion dollars in equity financing. We dive into all the plans WeWork has for that cash and break down the rest of the investment funding rounds of the week below.
With $16 million in new venture capital (VC) funding, SyncHR, based in the U.S., said it will use the investment to focus on growth and expansion and make additional product development investments. The company provides Human Capital Management cloud-based software to businesses. Existing backers New Enterprise Associates, Boulder Ventures, Grayhawk Capital and EPIC Ventures all participated. SyncHR also announced that new investors Acadia Woods and Peninsula Ventures also took part.
In a statement, Boulder Ventures General Partner Peter Roshko said SyncHR “provides unparallelled automation and innovation” in the human capital management industry that “differentiates their SaaS platform” from the competition. In addition to the new funding, the startup also highlighted what it said was a “year of record growth” for the company.
Israel’s Prospera uses its Big Data analytics and artificial intelligence technologies for a niche market: farming. The company helps farming businesses optimize their production via analysis of troves of agricultural data. This week, Prospera revealed news of $15 million in new venture capital led by Qualcomm Ventures, while Cisco Investments, ICV and existing backer Bessemer Ventures also participated, according to reports. So far, Prospera has raised $22 million in total, and plans to use those funds to focus on global expansion and to integrate new services into its offering, addressing both indoor and outdoor growing environments.
India’s Wishbook is an app that aggregates catalogs of B2B suppliers, distributing those catalogs to wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers. Launched last year, Wishbook was founded by former Google worker Arvind Saraf. Reports this week said Wishbook raised more than $500,000 from Info Edge, the parent company of Naukri.
Having lent more than $300 million to small businesses so far, Prospa (not to be confused with Prospera) announced nearly $16 million in new VC funding from Partners For Growth. Reports this week said Prospa, based in Australia, will use the tailored debt facility to continue to lend to small businesses and to further develop its accelerated credit assessment capabilities. According to CFO Ed Bigazzi, the company is also using the funds to look into invoice financing and to consider FinTech acquisitions, reports said. The company finances loans initiated on its platform through a securitization trust backed by institutional investors. To date, Prospa has raised about $80 million in debt financing, reports added.
This week, the B2B investment roundup is all about niche markets. And the biggest investment round of the week, by far, landed at WeWork, a China- and U.S.-based company that enables businesses to provide employees with shared workspaces. The company not only announced $500 million in private equity, but it also said it is stepping into the fleet space by launching a new service that links companies to business vehicles.
Further, WeWork revealed plans to ramp up its presence in China. Reports said Japan’s SoftBank, Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital and WeWork provided the investment to launch WeWork China, a standalone entity separate from WeWork, which operates across 15 countries already. The coworking company has raised about $1 billion so far this year, about of third of which is coming from SoftBank, reports said.
According to Hony Capital Chairman and CEO John Zhao, WeWork will focus on “localization and expansion in China.”
“Since its entry into China last year, WeWork has demonstrated its unique business model and clear competitive advantages, which highlight not only the shared office space model itself, but also its global network that offers interaction between members, services and various other resources,” Zhao said.
Reports said WeWork’s value is estimated at $20 billion, making it one of the five most valuable startups on the planet. With the launch of WeWork China, the company will expand across China and Hong Kong next year.