B2B Investors Set Sights On Data, AI, Analytics

In what’s becoming an increasingly popular theme for B2B startup investors, this week’s funding rounds for B2B startups largely centered on tackling data silos and empowering the enterprise with the insights that data can provide. Venture capitalists and equity investors targeted companies that apply big data technologies, including artificial intelligence, to an array of use cases, including fleet and manufacturing — leading to more than $322 million raised for B2B startups this week.

Cross River Bank

Though not venture capital, the private equity raised for New Jersey-chartered community bank Cross River Bank is noteworthy not only for its impressive price tag of $100 million, but for its reflection of investors’ support for financial institutions that collaborate with the tech startup scene. Reports in Reuters said this week that private equity firm KKR & Co. led the investment in the FI, while CreditEase, LionTree and a slew of existing investors also joined the funding round. Cross River, which did not disclose its valuation, said it will use the funding to invest in its compliance infrastructure and expand staff levels as it continues to collaborate with FinTech startups, allowing them to gain access to Cross River’s client base without needing to secure their own banking license. Existing partners of the FI including Coinbase and online lending platform Affirm.


Germany’s LeanIX offers businesses an Enterprise Architecture Management Software-as-a-Service solution that helps businesses optimize their digital tools and enhance IT to bring data-driven insights. The company recently revealed a $30 million Series C funding round led by Insight Venture Partners, with previous backers DTCP, Capnamic Ventures and Iris Capital also taking part. LeanIX said it plans to use the funding to focus on accelerating growth in the U.S. and to further develop its product in an effort to break down data siloes in the enterprise.


Another B2B startup operating in the data analytics space is Looker, which landed this week’s largest funding round. The company announced $103 million in Series E funding, CRN reports said this week, with backers at Premji Invest leading the investment. Cross Creek Advisors and previous backers also participated. Looker, based in California, links enterprise clients to business intelligence and data analytics technologies through its Software-as-a-Service apps. The new funding will go toward product development and operational expansion, reports said, with Looker aiming to help companies consolidate data across their siloed systems.


Procure-to-pay and spend management company SourceDay announced $6.5 million in Series A funding, reports in SCNow said this week, led by Silverton Partners, Draper Associates and ATX Seed Ventures. The U.S.-based company offers manufacturers a platform through which they can manage their procurement spend and automate the procurement process, including purchase order and invoice management. The solution also enables buyer-supplier collaboration to streamline operations, the company said. SourceDay noted it plans to use the new funding to focus on marketing and product development.

Wise Systems

Operating in the logistics and fleet space, Wise Systems has developed software to automate dispatch and routing for delivery fleets. The company announced a $7 million Series A funding round this week led by Gradient Ventures, the venture fund from Google that focuses on artificial intelligence (AI), while existing backers at E14 Fund, Neoteny, Trucks Venture Capital and Fontinalis Partners also took part. Emphasizing the need for logistics to keep pace with heightening customer demands, U.S.-based Wise Systems said it will use the investment to scale operations and invest in research and development to enhance its AI-powered delivery management technologies.


Also operating in the artificial intelligence space is Forge.AI, which recently announced its emergence from stealth mode and an $11 million Series A funding round. Reports in AmericanInno this week said the U.S. company secured the funding from Underscore VC, Accomplice, Boston Seed Capital, Imagination Capital and Project 11 Ventures. Forge.AI will focus on hiring, product development and go-to-market efforts with the backing. Similar to Looker and LeanIX, Forge.AI is also emphasizing the importance for the enterprise and its analysts to be able to manage troves of data and make use of the insights it can unlock.


B2B eCommerce startup Nuorder, based in the U.S., secured $15 million in Series C funding led by NewSpring, while existing backers Upfront Ventures and Argentum also participated. The company said in a press release it will use the funding to focus on product development and innovation, and to add staff as it links corporate buyers with a digital platform to source products and place orders.


In another equity funding round, Asana announced $50 million in Series E funding for its work management software led by Generational Investment Management, 8VC, Benchmark Capital, Founders Fund, Lead Edge Capital and World Innovation Lab. The company links businesses to software to “democratize project management” and support employee collaboration. Reports in DemandGen Report said the U.S. firm will use the investment to focus on product innovation, open an EU data center, and expand operations across the Asia Pacific region.