Expense management has long been an issue for employees and accounting departments: for many, tracking and analyzing how money is spent on behalf of a business is just too mired in legacy software. ill-equipped to meet more modern demands. Today, a UK startup building solutions to bring the process into the 21st century is announcing a major funding round to double its growth.
Soldo, which provides a platform to issue employees with prepaid corporate cards linked to an automated expense management system, closed $ 180 million in funding. Soldo currently has some 26,000 customers, ranging from small and medium businesses to mid-size businesses and up to large multinationals in 30 countries, with Mercedes Benz, GetYourGuide, Gymshark, Bauli and Brooks Running among the most popular of them. At the same time, via APIs, it also integrates with popular accounting packages used by organizations today – NetSuite, QuickBooks, Zucchetti, and Xero, plus options to connect Soldo to over 50 expense management platforms, including Concur and Expensify.
The round, a Series C, is led by Temasek of Singapore, with Sunley House Capital, Advent International’s cross-fund, Citi Ventures, and previous backers Accel, Battery Ventures and Dawn Capital also participating. Silicon Valley Bank also provided debt financing in an undisclosed amount.
London-based Soldo also did not disclose its valuation in a statement on the latest investment, but for reference when it started raising that money in December the company was valued at around $ 278 million. of dollars, according to PitchBook. The data. In the event, Soldo said the round was oversubscribed due to the company’s strong growth: Spending volume on its platform has quadrupled since its Series B round of $ 61 million in 2019. (Note: Soldo’s main operations are in London, but it also has a small head office in Dublin, as it obtained an e-money license in Ireland in 2019, as part of its Brexit coverage.)
More generally – and maybe because a lot of us are spending more time away from the head office, or maybe because some of us are finally going back on the road to meet people – expense management is getting a lot of attention right now. Earlier this month, one of Soldo’s biggest competitors, Denmark’s Pleo, raised $ 150 million at a valuation of $ 1.7 billion.
It’s a huge market to play for: Europe’s addressable market for expense management is $ 170 billion, the company said.
The crux of the challenge Soldo aims to solve is that spending is typically a very fragmented, undigitalized business, and the employees who rack up expenses are typically not accountants: that is, managing them properly doesn’t do not part of their basic skills. . The expenses themselves, meanwhile, have evolved to cover a lot of different things, a by-product of everything that’s becoming easier to buy online and also the way we work today: they can include subscriptions, travel and entertainment, office supplies for your home office, and make purchases on behalf of your business for online marketing or advertising campaigns, and more.
When spending is done digitally it is easier to track, but very often it is for services or goods purchased in IRL, and this is when the other problems arise: People often forget to get receipts or lose them before filling out their reports, or paying for things out of their own pocket, and more.
And in addition, the expenses are made on company cards, or by bank transfer. The former can be expensive and difficult to control, while the latter has its own challenges: it is a slow process and often requires multiple people to clear a payment.
Soldo’s approach to solving this problem is first of all to facilitate the issuance of prepaid cards to employees in order to better control their spending. It then links the card to an app, which creates automatic prompts that appear every time you make a purchase with a card, to remind you to capture a receipt and download it.
“Soldo’s vision is to manage total spend across an entire business, whether it’s advertising, software subscriptions, travel and entertainment, vendor management, or payroll for all. payment methods. When we look at it this way, expense management is just one of many possible use cases and cards are just one of the many ways a business can transfer money to vendors, ” Carlo Gualandri, CEO and founder of Soldo, told TechCrunch in a statement. E-mail. Unlike competitors like Pleo, he noted “that we are focusing more broadly and completely on managing all the possible needs of a business, well beyond travel and expense. This is important because the value to the customer of using an expense management platform increases as more of the business’s expense is transferred to it. “
Without a doubt, the growth of the company since its inception five years ago has seen a big slowdown in the form of Covid-19. His recovery is a testament to how he has found his place even in today’s market.
“The pandemic has almost completely wiped out travel and spending as a use case of corporate spending – given that a limited number of workers were traveling or spending lunches, for example, during the lockdown,” Gualandri said. . “It was quite shocking to see all of Europe dying out, country by country, in the first weeks of March last year as the lockdown kept people in their homes. And with that, a significant portion of our financial services revenue has also disappeared, as business travel is the most common and widespread use of corporate cards. But then two things happened, he continued:
“The number of other business spend use cases has grown dramatically. We have seen the global shift to e-commerce and the digitization of financial service. From supporting homeworkers to other business activities, there has been a definite shift towards online shopping and that requires a card for payment, ”he said. “In addition, many companies have started to distribute their products or services online and thus shifted a large portion of their spending to online marketing, an example of a key expense that is normally paid for with cards. So, there was certainly a case where some categories of expenses went down and others increased rapidly. A number of issues related to the pandemic emerged that we realized we could fix. “
“Our background in software and payments technologies gives us a deep insight and we are confident that Soldo is at the forefront of the digitalization of finance,” said Simon Lambert, Director of Sunley House, Advent’s cross-fund. International, in a press release. “The company operates in a large and rapidly growing market, and we are delighted to partner with its exceptional management team as they seek to create the leading payment and expense automation platform in Europe. “