Today in B2B: Sokowatch Rebrands as Wasoko as it Expands Across Africa; VertoFX Adds 12 New Currencies to B2B Payments Platform

accounts payable

Today in B2B payments, almost half of firms are automating their accounts payable processes as digital solutions provide business-changing information. Plus, meal delivery service Factor launches the Factors for Teams B2B program and SaaS startup Clear adds supply chain technology platform Xpedize.

48% of Firms Are Automating Their AP Operations

Widespread cash flow shortages have made efficient cash flow management more critical than ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the shift to a reliance on a remote or hybrid workforce is looking permanent for many firms, rendering the expense systems they had in place unusable.

Many organizations are ill-equipped to handle these changes, at least in the short run. One-third of businesses still use legacy methods to process their expenses, such as paper, spreadsheets or rudimentary, in-house digital systems.

Many businesses are investing in digital technologies to future-proof their spend management operations. In fact, 48% of businesses are already in the process of automating their accounts payable (AP) processes to some degree, as reported in the Corporate Spend Playbook, a PYMNTS and Airbase collaboration.

Sokowatch Announces Rebrand to Wasoko After $125M Series B Funding Round

B2B eCommerce startup Sokowatch on Wednesday (March 16) announced that the company is rebranding to Wasoko, which means “people of the market,” after a $125 million Series B fundraising round that valued the company at $625 million, according to a report.

Founder and CEO Daniel Yu started Sokowatch in Kenya in 2015 as an asset-light platform and a marketplace for distributing fast-moving consumer goods to retailers, but said that model wasn’t sustainable because the company couldn’t guarantee the delivery of goods after orders were placed.

The former Sokowatch expanded into neighboring East African markets Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda in 2018, then mulled a rebrand before adding Ivory Coast and Senegal to its market. The company allows retailers to order products from suppliers by text or on its mobile app, promising same-day delivery to their stores and shops, thanks to a network of drivers.

SaaS Startup Clear Snaps Up Supply Chain Tech Platform Xpedize

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) and tax filing firm Clear on Wednesday (March 16) closed an acquisition deal for supply chain finance startup Xpedize for undisclosed terms, according to a company press release.

The purchase marks Bengaluru, India-based Clear’s move into credit for small and medium-businesses (SMBs) and business-to-business (B2B) payments and will help Clear, India’s largest FinTech SaaS platform, scale in the invoice discounting space by offering supply chain financing to its customer network.

Xpedize will be rebranded as Clear Invoice Discounting and will provide working capital and liquidity to suppliers.

B2B Payments Platform VertoFX Adds 12 New Currencies

Cross-border B2B payments and foreign exchange platform VertoFX has upped the number of currencies in which its customers can convert and make payments to 51, adding a dozen new currencies to its previous total, according to IBS Intelligence Wednesday (March 16).

VertoFX said the new currencies will allow businesses to transfer funds to and from countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Morocco and Sri Lanka with instant local settlement times.

Meal Delivery Service Factor Launches B2B Program

Ready-to-eat meal delivery service Factor is rolling out a new option for B2B deliveries for companies to provide meals to employees dubbed Factors for Teams, the company announced Tuesday (March 15).

The new offering will let businesses choose either a one-time bulk purchase for their employees or an ongoing partnership, which would give employees the option to get Factor meals regularly.

The companies signing onto Factors for Teams will get a “dedicated” account manager who will help them with the process. Additionally, employers will be able to buy full meal plans for their employees, or subsidize meals so employees get discounted prices.

The options will also come with options to curate a menu from the several Factor rotating menus on its preferences list, including “Calorie Smart,” keto and vegan options.