Software as a service proved popular with investors this week, particularly in the cybersecurity space. But the largest round came courtesy of the SoftBank Vision Fund, which provided $800 million to a supply chain finance company, bolstering its valuation up to about $3.5 billion. Plus, news this week emerged of a few upcoming initial public offerings (IPOs) that will further test investors’ appetite for B2B firms.
Based in California, Boomtown connected B2B companies with software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions designed to support improved customer experiences. The company announced a $12 million venture capital raise this week led by Telstra Ventures with participation from Capital One Growth Ventures. Existing backers Nyca Partners, Commerce Ventures, Spider Capital and NHN Ventures also participated in the round, which Boomtown said will be used to accelerate growth and investment in its SaaS platform, which facilitates customer engagement.
The $20 million Series B funding round for Respond Software, announced this week, showed investors’ appetite for SaaS, particularly in the cybersecurity space. The company saw investors at ClearSky Security lead the round, while previous backers CRV and Foundation Capital also participated. Respond Software plans to use the money to enhance operations and grow its customer success teams.
Jiangsu Xinning Modern Logistics
This China-based logistics company sold a 10 percent stake of itself to eCommerce conglomerate JD.com for $55 million, TechCrunch said this week. Citing a regulatory filing, reports noted that Xinning provides supply chain and logistics services for the consumer electronic market, and has also revealed in a separate filing that it has entered into a strategic partnership with JD’s logistics unit JD Logistics to develop a Big Data system, reports said.
Corporate spending platform Pleo, based in Denmark, announced a $56 million Series B funding round this week led by Stripes with participation from existing backers Kinnevik, Creandum and Founders, according to a press release issued this week. Pleo provides expense management solutions and an integrated platform through which companies can gain visibility into, manage and analyze company spend. Pleo also provides companies with corporate cards for employees connected to the platform to enhance spend management capabilities. The firm said it plans to use the investment to triple its headcount by the end of next year, and to invest in product development, with plans to launch mobile payments, credit, invoicing, VAT reclaim and other services.
In another round for a China-based B2B startup, Kr Space announced $145 million in new funding for its workspace sharing solution. As a rival to WeWork, Kr Space plans to use the investment to focus on elevating its offering and becoming a full enterprise office service provider. IDG Capital led the round, while Gefei Assets and Yixing Capital participated as well, reports this week said.
Undoubtedly the largest investment round of the week came from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which pumped trade financing company Greensill with $800 million in new funding. The deal marks SoftBank’s second major investment in the U.K. financial services market, Bloomberg reported, and more than doubles Greensill’s valuation to about $3.5 billion. The company said it plans to use the investment to expand into new markets around the globe, including Brazil, India and China. News of the investment came just one day after separate reports said Greensill’s joint venture with GAM Holding AG, GAM Greensill, saw investors pull $1.8 billion out of the supply chain finance fund in only a week.
In other funding news, another cybersecurity SaaS company, Crowdstrike, filed for an Initial Public Offering this week with plans to raise $100 million. The company targets enterprise cybersecurity vulnerabilities, aiming to address the threat of a data breach before it occurs. The company will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “CRWD.”
Another B2B company planning to float an IPO is Australian alternative small business lender Prospa. The company cancelled its previously-planned IPO last year after regulators began to scrutinize the firm’s interest rates and contract agreements with small business borrowers. This week, the company revealed lower interest rates and a renewed plan to file on the Australian Securities Exchange next month, hoping to raise about $75.84 million through the IPO.