It’s been several months, if not years, since blockchain was the darling of tech startup investors, but this week proved the technology still has a lot to offer venture capitalists.
In PYMNTS’ latest B2B venture capital roundup, which yielded $75 million in new funding, startups embraced distributed ledger technology for B2B payments and supply chain management, with 80 percent of total funding landing at blockchain companies.
The $13 million raised for U.K. blockchain startup Envoy will be used to bolster its supply chain and trade finance platform, the company told PYMNTS in an emailed announcement. Envoy operates a blockchain platform built with R3’s Corda, with a focus on streamlining financial processes in the global trade space — including facilitating payments via tokenization technology. Investors at Alcedo Digital Ventures provided the investment, which Envoy said will be used to accelerate company expansion in the Latin American market, as well as to develop new functionality around its NVOY Stellar cross-border payment solution.
Blockchain startup Clear announced $13 million in Series A funding this week with a focus on wielding blockchain and smart contract technology to address friction in high-volume cross-border B2B payments. Eight Roads led the round, while Telefónica Innovation Ventures, Telekom Innovation Pool of Deutsche Telekom, HKT and Singtel Innov8 also participated, according to TechCrunch reports. Clear aims to not only accelerate and streamline the movement of money between businesses, but also enable those firms to manage their financial arrangements and contracts between partners in a high-volume ecosystem. The telecommunications industry is an early first use case of the technology, Clear Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Eran Haggiag told PYMNTS in a recent interview. The company plans to use the funding to ready its software for enterprise adoption and explore additional verticals into which it can expand.
Coming out of Washington state is Transparent Systems, a company currently developing a “cryptographic settlement” network aimed at facilitating real-time B2B payments. The company announced a $14 million Series A funding round led by Pantera Capital, while Square, Future\Perfect Ventures, Digital Currency Group and others also participated. The company will deploy the funding to focus on product development, engineering and global expansion. In a recent conversation with PYMNTS, Transparent Systems remained tight-lipped on exactly how its infrastructure works but noted it is using blockchain technology to promote faster, transparent payments with always-on capabilities for corporate end users.
Also targeting supply chain management is ClearMetal, a California-based company that announced $15 million in new funding led by Eclipse Ventures, with additional backing coming from Prelude Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, NEA, SAP.io, Prologis, PSA Unboxed, DCLI, GT Nexus founders, Navis and Uber Freight. The company develops supply chain management and logistics solutions to optimize delivery for retailer and manufacturer clients, targeting elevated visibility and real-time data accessibility. The company plans to use the new funding to further build out its CDX Platform, a continual-learning portal to drive logistics improvements.
Paystand is yet another company wielding blockchain in the B2B FinTech arena, using the technology to streamline B2B payments with its Payments-as-a-Service solution. Investors from DNX Ventures, Battery Ventures, Epic Ventures, Commerce Ventures and Wildcat Ventures participated in a $20 million Series B funding round for the company, which also saw participation from existing investors Leap Global Partners and BlueRun Ventures, the company said in its announcement. Paystand, based in California, plans to deploy the funding to invest in product and service development, marketing, sales and engineering, with plans to build out its teams in both California and Mexico.