More than $150 million in venture capital bolstered the B2B FinTech market this week, and while investors made big steps into areas like human resources, fleet management and artificial intelligence (AI), it was an old favorite that saw the most, and largest, investment rounds: alternative lending. Once again, alternative finance, or AltFin, proves its staying power, especially across Asia. Here’s a breakdown of the B2B FinTech funding rounds announced this past week.
Previse, based in the U.K., uses artificial intelligence to facilitate faster B2B payments, enabling large corporate buyers to pay their small business (SMB) suppliers on the day an invoice is received. The company just announced more than $1.1 million in funding from Scottish Enterprise, which will be used for research and development and to expand its team, reports in SBNN said. Previse will also reportedly open its first office in Scotland, as it aims to tackle the issue of late B2B payments.
Singapore’s Capital Match Holdings announced a Series B funding round this week, raising an undisclosed sum by B Capital Group, according to e27 reports. Capital Match operates a digital invoicing platform and helps small businesses with credit risk and financing linked to SMB invoices. The company said it will use the funds to expand into Hong Kong, a move its CEO and Founder Pawel Kuznicki said is a result of the city’s favorable regulatory environment and opportunities for its factoring market to grow.
With an eye on the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) market, tryb secured $30 million from the Makarta Innovation Fund, the firm said this week. The company aims to deploy a FinTech platform built for the region’s small- and medium-sized businesses and wants to develop that platform into a destination for lending, trade finance and micro-credit. In its announcement, tryb cited data from Deloitte that found less than 60 percent of SMBs across the ASEAN market have access to bank loans. The company’s strategy to develop this platform is to acquire local FinTech startups; tryb said it will use the funding to finance those acquisitions.
A $23 million Series B funding round will bolster StreetShares’ operations as it looks to provide military-owned small businesses with access to financing. The Series B investment was led by Rotunda Capital Partners, while several existing backers, including Stony Lonesome Group, also participated, reports this week said. StreetShares offers government contractor financing and lines of credit to SMBs whose owners are military members and veterans. In its announcement, StreetShares said the funding will go toward a continuing focus on this client base and toward growth.
Not only did the alternative SMB lending market secure the most funding rounds of the week, but Dianrong ensured that this segment scored the most venture capital too. Less than six months after raising an impressive $220 million, China’s Dianrong revealed $70 million in Series D funding — the largest of the week — led by ORIX Asia Capital, while CLSA also participated. The company, which operates across the consumer and business lending segment, said the funds will go toward a continued focus on small business financing, according to Dianrong Founder and Executive Chairman Soul Htite.
A $4.5 million funding round for U.S.-based Botkeeper will bolster the firm’s efforts to deploy artificial intelligence to automate small business accounting tasks. The seed funding, announced this week, was provided by Ignition Partners, while former Microsoft CFO John Connors, 500 Startups partner Matthew Johnson, Correlation Ventures and Talla Co-Founder and CEO Rob May also participated. Botkeeper can support the automation of B2B payments, revenue and expense tracking and management, invoicing and more via its AI- and machine learning-powered software. The company also connects its clients to a human accountant to advise on more complex tasks, Botkeeper said.
Japan’s SmartHR announced $13.3 million in Series B funding this week to disrupt the human resources management market. The firm secured the investment from 500 Startups, Tokio Marine, Nikko and CVC Capital Partners, among other backers, the company said. SmartHR plans to use the investment to expand operations and focus on product development; the company helps business customers digitize HR-related documents, like employment insurance and pension forms, which can then be submitted to government offices, the firm explained.
Seattle’s Shiftboard landed $11.5 million in funding for its workforce management tool that enables companies to more efficiently handle scheduling for hourly workers. The Series A round was led by NewRoad Capital Partners, reports said, while other backers also participated, including Voyager Capital. The funds will be used to continue focusing on innovation and to scale operations, Shiftboard said.
While Tender Armor didn’t say exactly how much it raised, the payments fraud startup did say funding secured from private investors, as well as Strul Logistics and Technology LLC, reached into the multimillion-dollar level. The Series A funding will be used to focus on product innovation and staff expansion. The company works with financial institutions, linking them with its CVV+ tool to address card-not-present fraud.
Its name is self explanatory: Fleet secured $10 million in Series A funding for its fleet and logistics operations. The company secured the investment from Lufthansa Cargo, which led the round, as well as Hunt Technology Ventures, UPS, UP2398, 1517 Fund and other existing backers. Based in Oregon, Fleet operates an online marketplace for companies to procure logistics services across borders. The company said it will use the investment to focus on business and technology development and to grow its team.