Digital invoicing platform Tradeshift raises $75 millionFebruary 25, 2014: 10:00 AM ET
Strategic investment from Singapore's Scentan Ventures gives the Danish startup a stronger foothold in Asia.
FORTUNE -- Tradeshift, a Copenhagen startup that has expanded to the U.S. and throughout Europe, is now heading to Japan. The company has raised $75 million in venture funding from Scentan Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Singapore.
The deal will fuel Tradeshift's expansion into Japan, starting with an office in Tokyo. Scentan will help out on the strategic side, giving Tradeshift a hand with recruiting and product development for the local market. In exchange, Tradeshift will offer Scentan exclusive rights to product development, sales marketing, and servicing the Tradeshift platform in Japan.
Prior to this, Tradeshift, which offers software for business-to-business sales and collaboration, had raised $37 million in venture funding from Notion Capital, Ru-net, Kite Ventures, Intuit, and PayPal. The company had opened an office in China in 2013.
In 2012, when I asked, "What ever happened to the promise of B2B e-commerce?" I was overwhelmed by the response. I'm still getting pitches based on that story. The article pointed out that in 1999, we were predicting trillions of dollars worth of sales between businesses were going to move from paper invoices and faxes to the web. But the problem of digitizing all those business-to-business dealings was a massive one that had yet to be solved, possibly because it was too early in 1999. Now, thanks to tablets (for traveling workforces) and the cloud, the working world is ready to conduct more of this business online.
Plenty of startups have figured this out and are working on various e-invoice solutions. Handshake, a New York startup, allows buyers and sellers to connect via an app, while Insight Software works with more than 950 clients in the manufacturing, distribution, and retail industries. Some are industry-specific. The apparel industry includes purchasing and inventory platforms like JOOR and NuOrder, as well as younger startups like U.K.-based Netalogue.
For its part, Tradeshift has scaled to connect more than 500,000 companies on its platform. The company grew revenue by 300% last year, adding 250,000 companies, 93% of which are returning customers.
Tradeshift has 150 employees in 31 countries. CEO Christian Lanng says going global at such an early stage in the company's life has been a challenge. (Tradeshift was founded in 2009.) "Normally startups are in late stages when they do that, but that was the nature of our business," he says. Between 60% and 70% of transactions on TradeShift are cross-border sales, which meant the company had to move quickly to be available around the world. "We learned how to run a lean global organization when we jumped from Europe to the U.S.," he says. Now, Tradeshift is armed with fresh capital and local expertise to solidify its presence in Asia.