Expense management has long been a problem for employees and accounting departments: for many, tracking and analyzing money spending on behalf of a company is just too bogged down in legacy software that is ill-equipped for more modern needs. Today a UK startup developing solutions to bring the process into the 21st century announced a major round of funding to double its growth.
Soldo, which provides a platform for issuing prepaid corporate cards to employees connected to an automated expense management system, has closed a $ 180 million financing. Soldo currently has around 26,000 customers, from small to medium-sized businesses to large multinational corporations in 30 countries, including Mercedes Benz, GetYourGuide, Gymshark, Bauli and Brooks Running among the most popular. You. It also integrates via APIs with the popular accounting packages used by businesses today – NetSuite, QuickBooks, Zucchetti and Xero as well as options for connecting Soldo to more than 50 expense management platforms, including Concur and Expensify.
The round, a Series C, is led by Singapore-based Temasek, which also includes Sunley House Capital, Advent International’s crossover fund, Citi Ventures, and former donors Accel, Battery Ventures and Dawn Capital. Silicon Valley Bank also provided undisclosed debt financing.
London-based Soldo also didn’t release its valuation in a statement on this latest investment, but as a point of reference when it began raising that money in December, the company was valued at around $ 278 million, according to PitchBook data . In the event, Soldo said the round was oversubscribed due to the company’s strong growth: the volume of spending on its platform has quadrupled since its Series B, a $ 61 million round in 2019. (Note: Soldo’s main operations are in London, but it also has a small corporate headquarters in Dublin as it acquired an e-money license in Ireland in 2019 as part of its Brexit safeguard.)
In general – and maybe because a lot of us spend more time away from headquarters, or maybe because some of us are finally out and about to meet people again – expense management is getting a lot of attention right now. Just earlier this month, one of Soldo’s larger competitors, Pleo of Denmark, raised $ 150 million at a valuation of $ 1.7 billion.
It’s a huge market to play for: Europe’s addressable expense management market is valued at $ 170 billion, the company said.
The core of the challenge Soldo wants to solve is that expenses are usually a very fragmented, non-digitized business and employees who accumulate expenses are usually not accountants: that is, they do not belong in the right way to their core competencies. Spending itself has now evolved to cover a lot of different things, a by-product of everything being easier to buy online and how we work today: this includes subscriptions, travel and entertainment, office supplies for your home office, and purchases at Make your company name for marketing campaigns or online advertising and more.
When expenses are handled digitally they are easier to track, but very often it is the services or goods that are bought IRL and then the other problems arise: people often forget to get receipts or lose them before they get theirs Fill out reports, pay for things out of pocket, and much more.
In addition, expenses are processed on company cards or by bank transfer. The former can be expensive and difficult to control, while the latter has its own set of challenges: it is a slow process and often requires multiple people to process a payment.
Soldo’s approach to addressing this is to first make it easier for employees to issue prepaid cards in order to better control spending on them. The card is then linked to an app that creates automatic prompts for every purchase made with a card, reminding you to capture and upload a receipt.
“Soldo’s vision is to manage a company’s overall spending, be it advertising, software subscriptions, travel and entertainment, supplier management or salaries across all payment methods. From this perspective, expense management is just one of many possible use cases and cards are just one of many ways a company can send money to suppliers, ”Carlo Gualandri, CEO and founder of Soldo, told TechCrunch in an email. Unlike competitors like Pleo, he noted “that we have a broader and broader focus on managing all possible needs of a business, well beyond travel and expenses. This is important because the value of using a spend management platform increases to the customer when a greater proportion of corporate spending is shifted to it. “
Without a doubt, the company’s growth has reached a great pace since its inception five years ago in the form of Covid-19. Its recovery from it is proof that it has found a place even in the current market.
“The pandemic almost completely wiped out travel and spending as a corporate spending use case – given the limited number of workers traveling or, for example, serving lunch in lockdown,” Gualandri said. “It was quite shocking to see the whole of Europe shut down country by country in the first few 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 gone, 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 increased significantly. We saw the global change towards e-commerce and the digitization of the finance department. From helping home workers to other business activities, there has been a clear trend towards online procurement and that requires a card for payment, ”he said. “In addition, many companies started selling their products or services online, shifting a large part of their expenses to online marketing, an example of the most important expenses normally paid for with cards. So there was definitely a case where certain spending categories went down and others went up quickly. A number of pandemic-related issues emerged that we realized we could resolve. “
“Our software and payment technology experience gives us deep insights and we are confident that Soldo is at the forefront of financial digitization,” said Simon Lambert, director at Sunley House, Advent International’s crossover fund, in a statement. “The company operates in a large and fast-growing market and we are excited to work with its outstanding management team to build Europe’s leading platform for pay and spend automation.”