U.K. challenger banks Tide and Starling Bank ramped up their competition once again as the two rivals each announced new funding. Yet, small business (SMB) banking wasn't the only highlight of this week's B2B venture capital roundup, with the two largest fundraises showcasing China's rising B2B FinTech ecosystem in areas like expense management and invoicing.
U.K. challenger bank Tide continues to increase competition with a top-up to its Series B funding round by Augment and the SBI Group, TechRound reported this week. While investors did not disclose how much they placed with the FinTech, it all adds to the $54.3 million announced earlier this month, which Tide said would be used to continue expanding its share of the SMB banking market in the U.K.
Cybersecurity startup Firedome announced $10 million in new funding this week. The company, based in both New York and Tel Aviv, said the Series A funding — provided by Two Sigma Ventures, Silvertech Ventures and World Trade Ventures — will be used to expand its cybersecurity offerings into the B2B segment, as it also elevates its focus on the surge in IoT-connected devices and subsequent rise in cyberattack risk.
Focused on using machine learning to elevate procurement processes, Fairmarkit has reportedly raised $11 million from Insight Partners, while a range of unnamed Seed investors also participated. Reports in VentureBeat said the company plans to use the investment to further develop a range of products designed to manage and boost visibility of procurement spend, improve supplier management, minimize purchase order volume via bundling features and more.
As part of its rebrand, blockchain payments firm BitPesa is now AZA Group. It will operate as the parent company of BitPesa, as well as the TransferZero and BFX brands, all of which focus on cross-border B2B and B2C transaction capabilities for payments initiated in Africa. The company also announced $15 million in new funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa. The debt financing will be used to continue focusing on growth in Africa and the Middle East, as well as to broaden its reach to larger clients.
Based in Dubai, Bayzat offers businesses human resources (HR) and business insurance solutions. The company has just announced a $16 million Series B funding round led by Mubadala's newest fund, as well as U.S.-based Point72 Ventures and a range of other backers, MENABytes reported this week. The Software-as-a-Service startup, which targets startups and SMBs, integrates HR administration, payroll and health insurance solutions for clients. It noted plans to use the funding to invest in its underlying technology, with a focus on improving customer experience.
Keeping up with the ever-intensifying competition with industry rival Tide, U.K. challenger bank Starling Bank has announced $38.7 million in fresh funding led by Merian Chrysalis, while existing investor JTC also participated. Starling Bank plans to use the funding to invest in its retail and SMB banking account offerings, as well as augment its B2B services and expand further into Europe.
With $50 million in fresh funding, China's Ekuaibao is shining a spotlight on the nation's accounting and bookkeeping industry. The FinTech connects business clients with procurement, expense and employee reimbursement management tools. Investors at Tiger Global Management, DCM Ventures and Future Capital provided the $30 million in a Series C funding round closed last month, while backers at Sequoia Capital China are leading the C-Plus round of $20 million more. Ekuaibao plans to use the investment to enhance its existing technology, and expand its business operations by recruiting new staff, reported TechNode.
Hainan Golden Technology
With an impressive $141 million raised in Series B funding, Hainan Golden Technology saw a major sign of support for its blockchain invoicing technology, which enables business customers to issue, receive and verify invoices in a single portal. Investors at Tencent led the round, while Shenzhen Capital Group, CDH Investments, China Investment and China Finance Fund all participated, among others, according to China Money Network. The company plans to use the funding to further invest in blockchain research, Big Data and cloud computing, with an eye on augmenting its risk management and tax digitization capabilities.