This week's B2B venture capital roundup explores the more than $150 million raised by industry players this week, with backers choosing a varied array of targets. B2B FinTechs from the U.S., China, France and elsewhere secured funding for solutions ranging from a blockchain development platform to spend management. While the wide range of funding targets was notable in this week's funding roundup, it is perhaps the similarities of these FinTechs, rather than their differences, that capture attention, with data integration and analytics a common theme enticing investor dollars.
Payroll Software-as-a-Service startup Pento, based in Denmark, announced $2.8 million in seed funding this week raised from Point Nine Capital and Seedcamp, reports said. Smaller funds and other angel investors also participated in support of the firm, which offers business clients technology to automate payroll processes and introduce special features for their employees. Pento provides tax reporting, pension reporting, pay slip generation, employee payouts and bookkeeping, among other services. Reports did not reveal how the company plans to use the seed funding, though noted that the company is beginning to expand its offering to U.K. corporate customers.
As a startup offering background checks on businesses for other businesses, Middesk is targeting the B2B finance space to help mitigate risk for players in areas like payroll and lending. TechCrunch reported this week the company has raised $4 million from investors at Accel, while Sequoia Capital also participated. Middesk aims to help businesses build relationships with their corporate customers while more efficiently assessing potential risks, and said it plans to deploy the seed funding to growing its teams in the areas of engineering and operations.
Open source blockchain startup CasperLabs raised $14.5 million in Series A funding for its platform designed for developers, consumers and entrepreneurs to promote the development and adoption of blockchain solutions. Based in the U.S., the company saw its latest funding round provided by Yerren Pliezer's personal holding company Acuitas Group Holdings, while Arrington XRP Capital, Consensus Capital, Axiom Holdings Group, Digital Strategies, MW Partners, Blockchain Ventures, Hashkey Capital and Distributed also participated. CasperLabs said it plans to use the funding to invest in product development and grow its team of engineers as it works to enable businesses to adopt blockchain tools without compromising efficiency, speed or security. The company is also looking toward rising transaction fees as another top barrier to blockchain adoption.
Targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), France's Spendesk announced $38 million in Series B funding secured from Index Ventures. The firm said it will focus on expansion in Germany and the U.K. with the new funding, which brings the total raised by Spendesk to $50 million, a press release said. The company is able to capture data from a range of sources, including virtual and physical payments, to analyze company spend. Its solution also includes features like payment approval workflows, receipt data capture automation, real-time spend analytics and invoice management, while also able to integrate into existing finance platforms like accounting and reporting tools.
China's IceKredit, which connects financial services firms with credit risk and management solutions, secured $47 million in pre-Series C funding from investors at Frees Fund, Yunqi Partners, China Creation Ventures and Youzo Interactive, the company revealed in a press release. IceKredit outlined its three strategies for deploying the investment: to grow its teams in its analytics, big data engineering and artificial intelligence operations; to fund mergers and acquisitions; and expand into new markets across borders, with a focus on subprime borrowers. Clients include regional and community banks, as well as credit unions, enabling them to augment their fraud mitigation efforts an strengthen security.
Corporate expense reporting company AppZen, based in the U.S., secured $50 million, reports said this week, with investors showing their support for the firm's artificial intelligence (AI) focus. The Series C round was led by Coatue Management, while Redpoint Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated. According to Coatue, AppZen will use the financial backing to further strengthen its analytics and automation capabilities, enabling businesses to automate expense tracking, auditing and analysis to identify savings opportunities using AI. In addition to data analytics, AppZen is also focusing on data integration, having already connected into several reporting platforms from Oracle, Coupa, Concur and others.