Augmentum, a specialist VC firm that focuses on promising fintech opportunities, made 2 investments last week into early stage, London based companies focused on the SME payments market, as well as a third investment into Duedil, which compiles information on unlisted early stage companies.
Duedil received $2m from Augmetum as part of a Series C round that raised $7m overall, taking the total amount raised by the company to $43m, according to Crunchbase. The company is said to provide the most comprehensive private company information in the UK and Ireland, with the information it compiles about early stage startups and SMEs used to mitigate risk, and help other business owners make decisions about whether to invest in, partner with or do business with a particular company.
Previse, a company that uses machine learning techniques to help predict which suppliers invoices multinationals must pay, and settle their invoices using instant payments, raised a $5.3m Series A, also last week, in a round led by Augmentum, with other backers including Hambro Perks and Bessemer Ventures. Previse ensures suppliers get paid by giving all invoices a score depending on the likelihood they will be met, and allowing independent funders to pay those that are less likely to be settled by the company instantly. The supplier, multinational and the independent funder then share the costs of making the instant invoice payment between them. Co-founder and CEO Paul Christensen commented that “Among CFOs at large corporations, there is a real understanding of the huge inefficiencies in the current B2B commerce model and a desire for a solution.”
He added: “with this funding, we will be able to grow our model to meet this demand and ensure that every supplier in the world has the option to be paid instantly.”
Finally, Augmentum joined existing investors Creandum, Anthemis and Passion Capital, in an $8m funding round for Tide, the UK-based banking platform for SMEs, contributing £3m in the form of a convertible note.
Tide champions the cause of banking for small businesses, mostly via mobile features, products and services, such as automated book-keeping, expense management and invoicing. Tide’s new CEO, Oliver Prill, commented that “The big banks have never really focussed on small businesses. To them, small businesses are a low priority, which leads to poor service, products and processes.” Tide raised $14m last year via a Series A round, and partnered with woca to provide loans to small businesses – another key aspect of its business model.
Augmentum CEO Tim Levene commented on the investments, saying that “since our IPO we have built an exciting pipeline of fintech investment opportunities and are delighted to announce the completion of these three investments, each of which fit perfectly with our approach to investment.” That approach, Levene says, involves searching for fintech propositions that “are disrupting their markets, challenging incumbents and bringing huge efficiencies to the end customer”, and also involves “seeking out talented, driven management teams and helping them to achieve their potential.”
It looks like London’s appetite for providing, and funding, novel fintech solutions is still a healthy one – great news for aspiring financial founders and entrepreneurs. The UK is heavily reliant on its financial service industry, and the more it can refine and automate decision making processes, making payments and increasing transparency and efficiency, the healthier the outlook will be – particularly in the international markets.
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