VCs’ T&E Interest Preserved Amid Corporate Travel Shutdown

VCs' T&E Interest Preserved Amid Travel Shutdown
B2B venture capital (VC) enjoyed a strong week despite ongoing market volatility. While some newly-funded startups are helping their corporate customers navigate the new realities of a remote workforce, others aim to ease supply chain friction during volatile times. While the largest investment round of the week went to a cybersecurity firm, close behind was a company operating in the corporate travel technology arena, proving investors may still be interested in the industry despite its recent downturn.
Demand-Driven Technologies
Supply chain management tech company Demand Driven Technologies revealed in a press release this week a $3.6 million seed investment round provided by Midtown Capital Advisor’s Shawn Welch, with Mosley Ventures, Alerion Ventures and several existing backers also participating.
Demand Driven Technologies said it will use the investment to focus on accelerating its growth trajectory as it enables businesses to wield Demand-Driven Material Requirements Planning (DDMRP) technology and mitigate some of the disruption that has plagued global supply chains amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our solutions have helped customers around the world to overcome the limitations of traditional supply chain offerings,” said the company’s CEO Erik Bush in a statement. “This latest round of funding will allow us to substantially accelerate our efforts.”
RoadSync, a B2B payments and revenue collections solution for the transportation industry, has announced $5.7 million in new funding, with Base10 Partners leading the Series A round. Additional investors included Hyde Park Venture Partners and Companyon Ventures, the company said in a press release, adding that it plans to deploy the funding to focus on sales and an expansion of its existing financial product offering.
RoadSync offers accounts receivable (AR) tools, including invoicing and payments acceptance, designed for transportation companies to accelerate collections from their truck drivers, carriers and brokers, aiding the migration away from paper checks.
“Our mission is to modernize payments for the transportation industry by enabling our users with a sophisticated digital solution to send and receive payments,” RoadSync CEO Robin Gregg said in a statement.
India-based Recko announced $6 million in Series A funding, reports in Entrepreneur India said recently, with Vertex Ventures SEA and India leading the round. Prime Venture Partners, a previous backer in the firm, also participated. Recko offers Software-as-a-Service to businesses that need to track the transaction lifecycles of their B2B contracts and reconcile those payments.
The company said the funding will go toward product development, hiring and expansion beyond India, while bolstering investing in engineering bandwidth its data storage demands grow. The firm’s APIs enable integration with payment gateways, banks and order management systems to track and manage receivables, streamline settlements and address discrepancies.
Targeting the farming and agriculture industry with its blockchain-powered B2B payments and trade financing platform, GrainChain has revealed a completed $8.2 million Series A funding round early last month, Forbes recently reported. GrainChain targets farmers in both developed and emerging economies, including the U.S. and Honduras, enabling these professionals to accelerate payment while all parties within the farming supply chain promote security and transparency.
In a recent interview with PYMNTS, GrainChain CEO and Co-founder Luis Macias highlighted the unique challenges of accelerating order-to-cash cycles for independent farmers, which are significantly impacted by seasonal fluctuations and must wait for grain to be graded and validated before payment is released. There is significant trust involved as buyers and sellers rely on brokers to facilitate this transaction, he added, while financial institutions (FIs) are often wary of extending trade finance to these players in a high-risk industry.
Logistics operating system provider revealed $11 million in Series A funding this week led by Blumberg Capital, with Correlation Ventures and 235 Capital Partners also participating., based in California, will use the funding to expand its user base and invest in new hires as it offers shippers, logistics service providers and carriers across six continents with technology to manage their operations and integrate their back-office systems via APIs.
Orion Labs
California’s Orion Labs recently announced $29 million in Series B funding for its Software-as-a-Service B2B communication tool designed to mitigate friction in collaborating with mobile employees that work on-site and remotely. Dell Technologies Capital led the investment, with WRVI Capital and existing backers Avalon Ventures, Argentum Capital Partners, Allen and Company and Mathers Associates also participating.
With $30 million in Series B funding, virtual reality employee training startup Strivr reflects a growing interest in B2B VR companies looking to wield the technology for the workplace. Investors at Georgian Partners led the investment, reports said. The company pivoted away from its sports training offering to help businesses train new workers remotely, a feature likely to gain even greater interest as more organizations navigate work-from-home requirements.
The global travel industry remains in turmoil as leisure and business trips have all but halted. That hasn’t stopped corporate travel startup Huilianyi, however, which raised an impressive $42 million in funding. The Chinese company secured the Series C+ investment from Huaxing New Economic Fund, a subsidiary of Huaxing Capital, according to reports.
Huilianyi offers a Software-as-a-Service solution to streamline corporate travel expense reimbursement. The firm, which also saw investments from Blue Lake Capital, Zhonglin Capital and SoftBank China, plans to use the funding to expand into the U.S. and other markets. “In the connected era, we are optimistic that business travel and expense management platforms have become standard applications for enterprises,” Zhonglin Capital said in a statement.
The funding comes just weeks after another China-based T&E startup, Fenbeitong, secured $36 million in Series B+ funding.
Securing the largest investment round of the week is cybersecurity outfit Axionis, a New York-based company that raised $58 million in Series C funding. The company offers cybersecurity capabilities integrated with an asset management solution, enabling organizations to take stock of their network-connect computing assets while protecting them at the same time. Investors at Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round, while OpenView, Bessemer Venture Partners, YL Ventures, Vertex and WTI also participated. Axionus said it will use the investment to fuel research and development at its operations in Israel, as well as to expand the business.

Social distancing has changed eCommerce from a ‘want to have’ to a ‘must have’ for businesses, yet retailers could struggle to create convenient payment and refund experiences for their apps and websites, says Abdul Raof Latiff, head of DBS Bank’s digital institutional banking group. In the April 2020 B2B API Tracker, Latiff explains how banks can provide a timely assist via application programming interfaces (APIs) that integrate payments into those eCommerce platforms.

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