Singapore-based Volopay raises $2.1 million seed round to build a “financial control center” for businesses

Volopay, a Singapore-based startup building a “financial control center” for businesses, announced today it has raised $ 2.1 million in seed funding. The round was led by Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, and included participation from Soma Capital, CP Ventures, Y Combinator, VentureSouq, the founders of Razorpay and other angel investors.

The funding will be used on hiring, product development, strategic partnerships and Volopay’s international expansion. It plans to launch operations in Australia later this month. The company currently has about 100 clients, including Smart Karma, Dathena, Medline, Sensorflow and Beam.

Launched in 2019 by Rajith Shaiji and Rajesh Raikwar, Volopay took part in Y Combinator’s accelerator program last year. It was created after chief executive officer Shaji, who worked for several fintech companies before launching Volopay, became frustrated by the process of reconciling business expenses, especially with accounting departments located in different countries. Shaiji and Raikwar also saw that many companies, especially startups and SMEs, struggled to track different kinds of spending, including subscriptions and vendor payments.

Most of Volopay’s clients are in the tech sector and have about 15 to 150 employees. Volopay’s platform integrates multi-currency corporate cards (issued by VISA Corporate), domestic and international bank transfers, automated payments and expense and accounting software, allowing companies to save money on foreign exchange fees and reconcile expenses more quickly.

In order to speed up its development, Volopay integrated Airwallex’s APIs. Its corporate cards offer up to 2% cashback on software subscriptions, hosting and international travel, which Volopay says are the three top expense categories for tech companies, and it in November 2020, it launched a credit facility for corporate cards to help give SMEs more liquidity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compared to traditional credit products, like credit cards and working capital loans, Shaji said Volopay’s credit facility, which is also issued by VISA Corporate, has a more competitive fixed-free pricing structure that depends on the level of credit used. This means companies know how much they owe in advance, which in turn helps them manage their cashflows more easily. The average credit line provided by Volopay is about $ 30,000.

Since TechCrunch last covered Volopay in July 2020, it has grown 70% month on month in terms of total funds flowing through its platform, Shaji said. It also launched two new features: a bill pay feature that allows clients to transfer money domestically and internationally with low foreign exchange rates and transaction fees, and the credit facility. The bill pay feature now contributes about 40% to Volopay’s total payment volume, while the credit product makes up 30% of its card spending.

Shaji told TechCrunch that Volopay decided to expand into Australia because because not only is it a much larger market than Singapore, but “SMEs in Australia are very comfortable using paid digital software to streamline internal operations and scale their businesses.” He added that there is currently no other provider in Australia that offers both expense management and credit to SMEs like Volopay.

Startups – TechCrunch

Webflow raises $140M, pushing its valuation to $2.1 billion

This morning Webflow, a software company that helps businesses build no-code websites, announced that it has raised a $ 140 million Series B. The round, led by returning investors Accel and Silversmith, comes after the startup raised $ 72 million in an August 2019 Series A.

The new funding values Webflow at more than $ 2.1 billion it said in a blog post that TechCrunch viewed before publication. CapitalG, an Alphabet venture capital group, joined the Series B as well, with its investor Laela Sturdy joining the startup’s board.

Webflow offers a software that helps customers build websites without the need to write code; the company also offers hosting and content-related capabilities.

Webflow’s product fits into a category of companies arguing that building software for the internet should get easier over time, not harder. TechCrunch explored the no-code, low-code space in 2020, including asking investors bullish on its market about their views concerning its future.

Webflow CEO Vlad Magdalin described the round as “opportunistic” for the company, telling TechCrunch that his company was not low on cash when the deal came together. Indeed, Magdalin said that his company ended 2020 cash-flow positive.

So why raise more money, let alone such a huge round? The CEO described the funds as “courage capital,” funds that will allow it to make investments into its business that may not have short-term revenue impacts. Magdalin said that the money may be spent on its enterprise products, support team, platform and recruiting.

In an email, Accel investor and Webflow board member Arun Mathew echoed the CEO’s comments, adding that the company doubled its customer base in 2020.

That Webflow managed to break into the realm of startup profitability is less surprising when we recall that the no-code software company bootstrapped for more than a half-decade before taking external funds; it has done this before.

Raising capital has other impacts on a business than the ability to raise spend. New capital, a higher valuation, and noise about a business can bolster recruiting efforts and assuage customers concerned that the startup in question could either evaporate due to a lack of cash, or wind up bought, and either stripped by a private-equity firm, or subsumed by a tech giant.

Big companies don’t want to tie themselves to a product that could disappear. Webflow, now valued at $ 2.1 billion after its Series B closed, may have allayed those concerns for the time being.

Asked how 2020 went for the company, Magdalin said that its business doubled, which he described as an acceleration of its previous results.

It’s not clear from our vantage point if the company is in the eight or nine-figure revenue range, so it’s hard to vet how strong a roughly 100% growth rate is for Webflow; that it appears to have bested its 2019 growth rate in 2020 is encouraging for its future IPO prospects.

The company could see strong growth in 2021. Webflow’s CEO told TechCrunch that his company’s move up-market is starting to bear fruit. After noting that average contract values, or ACV, for its larger accounts were several orders of magnitude bigger than its sales agreements with SMBs, Magdalin said that its enterprise customers only account for around 5% of its present-day business.

However, the CEO said that his firm had only begun to target the enterprise cohort last year, and expects to grow its larger-account business by a factor of 10 this year.

And the company has big product plans, including building out its service to support richer and more powerful website creation. In the CEO’s view, websites are merely part of the software world, and he expects no-code tooling to take on more and more complex software tasks over time.

That could expand the broader no-code market, in our view, perhaps creating more space for startups to build services that allow for non-developers to depend less on engineering teams over time.

Mathew shares Magdalin’s bullish view on the no-code market, saying in an email that “the market is moving very quickly to being bullish on no-code tooling,” adding that we are “still very early in the adoption curve.”

Given that take, it’s not hard to see why Accel would want to double-down on Webflow. Accel has a history of making large-dollar bets into companies that bootstrapped to scale, including Webflow and Qualtrics. In the Qualtrics example, Accel led its Series A, B and C rounds (worth a combined total of $ 400 million).

To see Accel lead another round for Webflow, then, is in keeping with prior investing patterns from the firm.

CapitalG’s Sturdy, Webflow’s new board member, told TechCrunch in an email that her firm has been “bullish on the massive potential of no code for years,” leading it to hunt for “the most promising companies utilizing no code to transform sectors and democratize access to key tools.” Let’s see what it can do with another huge check and some time.

Startups – TechCrunch

Developer Blogging Platform Hashnode Raises $2.1 Mn In Round Led By Sequoia Surge – Inc42 Media

Developer Blogging Platform Hashnode Raises $ 2.1 Mn In Round Led By Sequoia Surge  Inc42 Media
“startups when:1d” – Google News

UPDATE: Parrot Software has $2.1 million to grow its restaurant point-of-sale and management service in Mexico

The two founders of Parrot Software, Roberto Cebrián and David Villarreal, first met in high school in Monterrey, Mexico. In the 11 years since, both have pursued successful careers in the tech industry and became family (they’re brothers-in-law).

Now, they’re starting a new business together leveraging Cebrián’s experience running a point-of-sale company and Villarreal’s time working first at Uber and then at the high-growth scooter and bike rental startup, Grin.

Cebrían’s experience founding the point-of-sale company S3 Software laid the foundation for Parrot Software, and its point-of-sale service to manage restaurant operations. 

Roberto has been in the industry for the past six or seven years,” said Villarreal. “And he was telling me that no one has been serving [restaurants] properly… Roberto pitched me the idea and I got super involved and decided to start the company.”

Parrot Software co-founders Roberto Cebrían and David Villarreal. Image Credit: Parrot Software

Like Toast in the U.S., Parrot manages payments, including online and payments and real-time ordering, along with integrations into services that can manage the back-end operations of a restaurant too, according to Villarreal. Those services include things like delivery software, accounting and loyalty systems.  

The company is already live in more than 500 restaurants in Mexico and is used by chains including Cinnabon, Dairy Queen, Grupo Costeño and Grupo Pangea.

Based in Monterrey, Mexico, the company has managed to attract a slew of high-profile North American investors, including Joe Montana’s Liquid2 Ventures, Foundation Capital, Superhuman angel fund and Ed Baker, a product lead at Uber. Together they’ve poured $ 2.1 million into the young company.

Since its launch, Parrot has managed to land contracts in 10 cities, with the largest presence in Northeastern Mexico, around Monterrey, said Villarreal.

The market for restaurant management software is large and growing. It’s a big category that’s expected to reach $ 6.94 billion in sales worldwide by 2025, according to a report from Grand View Research.

Investors in the U.S. market certainly believe in the potential opportunity for a business like Toast. That company has raised nearly $ 1 billion in funding from firms like Bessemer Venture Partners, the private equity firm TPG and Tiger Global Management.

Startups – TechCrunch

Friday app, a remote work tool, raises $2.1 million led by Bessemer

Friday, an app looking to make remote work more efficient, has announced the close of a $ 2.1 million seed round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Active Capital, Underscore, El Cap Holdings, TLC Collective and New York Venture Partners also participated in the round, among others.

Founded by Luke Thomas, Friday sits on top of the tools that teams already use — GitHub, Trello, Asana, Slack, etc. — to surface information that workers need when they need it and keep them on top of what others in the organization are doing.

The platform offers a Daily Planner feature, so users can roadmap their day and share it with others, as well as a Work Routines feature, giving users the ability to customize and even automate routine updates. For example, weekly updates or daily standups done via Slack or Google Hangouts can be done via Friday app, eliminating the time spent by managers, or others, jotting down these updates or copying that info over from Slack.

Friday also lets users set goals across the organization or team so that users’ daily and weekly work aligns with the broader OKRs of the company.

Plus, Friday users can track their time spent in meetings, as well as team morale and productivity, using the Analytics dashboard of the platform.

Friday has a free-forever model, which allows individual users or even organizations to use the app for free for as long as they want. More advanced features like Goals, Analytics and the ability to see past three weeks of history within the app are paywalled for a price of $ 6/seat/month.

Thomas says that one of the biggest challenges for Friday is that people automatically assume it’s competing with an Asana or Trello, as opposed to being a layer on top of these products that brings all that information into one place.

“The number one problem is that we’re in a noisy space,” said Thomas. “There are a lot of tools that are saying they’re a remote work tool when they’re really just a layer on top of Zoom or a video conferencing tool. There is certainly increased amount of interest in the space in a good and positive way, but it also means that we have to work harder to cut through the noise.”

The Friday team is small for now — four full-time staff members — and Thomas says that he plans to double the size of the team following the seed round. Thomas declined to share any information around the diversity breakdown of the team.

Following a beta launch at the beginning of 2020, Friday says it is used by employees at organizations such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Quizlet, Red Hat and EA, among others.

This latest round brings the company’s total funding to $ 2.5 million.

Startups – TechCrunch

Silicon Valley Lidar Startup Aeva Inc. Agrees to go Public in a SPAC Deal That Will Value the Company at $2.1 Billion – FutureCar

Silicon Valley Lidar Startup Aeva Inc. Agrees to go Public in a SPAC Deal That Will Value the Company at $ 2.1 Billion  FutureCar
“startups when:1d” – Google News