The B2B venture capital (VC) train continues full steam ahead after last week’s lucrative deals. This week, investors placed more than $1 billion in B2B startups, with the largest round landing at a Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) player. Other top deals focused on the corporate travel arena, logistics and, of course, alternative small business (SMB) lending. PYMNTS breaks down the investment deals below.
With $750 million in new funding. Chinese AI startup Megvii is the VC leader in the roundup this week. Reuters said the company, commonly known as Face++, secured the funding from Bank of China Group Investment, which has boosted the firm’s valuation to more than $4 billion. Macquarie Group and Alibaba Group also participated in the round, sourced told the publication. The company is planning an initial public offering (IPO) for later this year in a further push to strengthen its deep learning capabilities, grow its staff and expand internationally.
In another high-value fundraise for a B2B startup, U.K.-based Gett announced $200 million secured for its B2B ride-hailing service. Its on-demand ground transportation offering, which targets corporate travel, caught the attention of debt and equity investors for a valuation of $1.5 billion. Reports said the investment is likely its last before its IPO, slated for the first quarter of 2020. The firm, which operates in the U.K., Israel, Russia and New York, raised the funding from VW, Access, MCI and others, reports said.
Dubbed the “Airbnb for warehousing,” logistics startup FLEXE raised $43 million to connect retailers with on-demand shipping and warehousing solutions. The company, based in Washington state, secured the Series B funding from Activate Capital and Tiger Global Management, with Madrona Venture Group also participating. Existing backers Redpoint Ventures, Prologis Ventures and others added to the round as well, according to GeekWire.
India-based Kinara Capital announced new funding this week to the tune of $14.3 million, led by impact and private equity investors. Reports in VCCircle said the company targets SMBs with its lending solution, and will use the investment — led by Gaja Capital, GAWA Capital, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Patamar Capital — to accelerate growth and invest in its underlying technology. Specifically, the firm is planning to enhance auto-payment and auto-disbursement capabilities, and deploy machine learning algorithms to expand SMBs’ access to capital.
Singapore’s cross-border payments company Thunes announced $10 million in Series A funding in a press release this week. The company plans to expand its presence in the U.S., UAE and France as it grows its payment operations, which include peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, corporate mass payouts, digital payments and B2B payment solutions. GGV Capital led the investment, the company said.
The $6 million in Series A funding for Data Gumbo, announced this week, will help the Texas-based Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) company bolster its position in the smart contracts management space. Targeting the energy and gas sector, Data Gumbo landed the investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and Equinor Technology Ventures, reported VentureBeat. The company plans to expand its blockchain network, and broaden staff levels both in Texas and its office in Norway.
The $1 million raised for Georgia-based Gravy will be used to establish its brand and go-to-market strategy with its technology for SMBs. The company automates payment recovery for SMB customers that operate with the subscription and recurring revenue business model. Failed credit card payments and customer retention are among the biggest friction points for this space, the company said in a press release, though it declined to name specific investors.
Indian startup GramFactory raised $1 million from Singapore-based BEENEXT, reports said this week. GramFactory operates a B2B marketplace in the food retail sector, enabling grocery stores to find suppliers and source products across a range of categories. Reports in VCCircle, citing initial reports in Entrackr, noted that GramFactory did not confirm the investment, which also saw participation from Tracxn Labs and a range of industry executives.
Indonesia’s ALAMI, the first Syariah FinTech alternative lending firm, raised an undisclosed amount of Seed funding, led by tryb Group, according to Digital News Asia. The company targets SMBs with an invoice financing solution, connecting borrowers to its Islamic financing marketplace.