As legal cannabis spreads, the industry is a big opportunity for FinTech, as industry players struggle to manage intense compliance requirements and limited access to traditional financial services. In this week’s rundown, the industry landed the most funding among B2B FinTechs, though other bright spots included cybersecurity, alternative finance and a startup working to prevent firms from losing money when employees commit expense fraud. See how nearly $174 million in funding for B2B startups landed in our roundup below.
With about $27 million in Series D funding, India-based Veritas Finance will look to expand its ability to provide financing to micro, small and medium-sized businesses in the country. The non-bank financial company announced the investment this week, which was led by private investment unit Norwest Venture Partners, while existing backers CDC Group and P Surendra Pai also participated, according to VC Circle reports. The investors followed a Series C investment round closed by Veritas earlier this year, which was led by CDC, Pai and Lok Capital.
The Credit Junction
Targeting small and medium-sized businesses with its asset-based lending solution, The Credit Junction revealed a $23 million equity investment from Century Equity Partners this week. The investment will be deployed to bolster its supply chain financing operations and to commercialize its data and risk analytics platform, signaling The Credit Junction’s progress toward both a lending and data analytics company, the firm’s CEO and Founder Michael Finkelstein said in a statement.
INDUS Holding Company
This holding company offers a suite of INDUS-branded services targeting the legal cannabis market with tools like sales, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and more. The firm announced $46 million in Series B funding this week – the largest in this rundown – though interestingly, the company did not disclose who provided the funding. The company has launched more than 10 brands for the market and recently partnered with WAYV, a cannabis-targeting supply chain management and B2B eCommerce startup that connects INDUS’ brands with licensed retailers in California. INDUS said it will move forward with the new capital to focus on expansion and expand its staff.
INDUS partner WAYV also announced a fresh investment round this week in the form of $5 million in seed funding led by Craft Ventures. The company will use the funds to bolster its existing services for cannabis companies, which includes an eProcurement platform and logistics tools. In a conversation with PYMNTS this week, WAYV CEO Keith McCarty noted that the cannabis market is ripe for technological innovation, with industry players eager to embrace digital tools from the very start as legalization spreads.
API management platform Cloud Elements landed an undisclosed investment from American Express Ventures, the companies said this week. Cloud Elements offers businesses a way to manage their various API integrations that interconnect back-office platforms. Existing backers Harbert Growth Partners, Rally Ventures, Access Ventures and Grotech Ventures also participated in the investment, according to a press release. The company said it plans to use the funding to focus on continued growth, and has plans to introduce integrated digital payments solutions moving forward.
W2 is a U.K.-based B2B software-as-a-service and data solutions provider focusing on supporting corporates’ compliance and anti-fraud efforts. The firm announced $3.9 million in funding this week led by Mercia Technologies and the Development Bank of Wales, which the firm said will be used to continue its growth trajectory and streamline customer acquisition. The Series A funding follows investment in W2 announced last year, used to heighten its focus on certain industries including payments and gaming.
It wouldn’t be a B2B venture capital roundup without an appearance from an enterprise cybersecurity firm, and this week has two. The first is Mission Secure, which announced $8 million in Series A funding this week led by Energy Innovation Capital and Chevron Technology Ventures, according to reports in Charlottesville Tomorrow. The company offers both software and hardware to safeguard corporate systems with a focus on the energy, transportation and defense industries. Reports said Mission Secure plans to use the investment to double its staff levels as it positions itself in the corporate security market as a company focusing on industrial systems.
The second cybersecurity startup to land on the board this week is Shape Security, which, according to reports, raised $26 million in Series E funding. Norwest Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Allegis Capital, JetBlue Ventures and Singtel all participated in the investment, which Shape Security said will be used to expand across the U.K., Europe, Middle East and Asia, with about half of its existing corporate customers already located outside of the U.S., reports said. Further, Shape Security said it will be enhancing its product development initiatives, with plans to launch new products at a future date.
The second-largest funding round of the week goes to AppZen, a company supporting corporates’ expense management needs and working to reduce employee expense fraud. A press release said AppZen landed $35 million in Series B funding this week led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, while previous investors Redpoint Ventures and Resolute Ventures also participated. AppZen noted it would use the investment to scale its team and focus on global growth, as well as to enhance its existing product suite to deploy artificial intelligence-powered auditing, not only in corporate expense management, but in invoicing and contracts as well.