Soldo scores $61M Series B for its ‘spend management’ platform for businesses
Soldo, the U.K. fintech that offers a multi-user spending account for businesses, has closed $61 million in Series B funding.
Leading the round is Battery Ventures and Dawn Capital, with participation from previous backers Accel and Connect Ventures. In addition, a small portion is debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank. It brings total raised by the London-based startup to $82 million.
Founded by Carlo Gualandri, who previously helped create Italy’s first online bank, Soldo offers a multi-user spending account for businesses of all sizes — from SMEs to much larger enterprises — that need to deploy and manage expenses across an entire organisation.
It enables departmental and employee spending to be managed in real time by combining a Soldo account, central dashboard, apps for iOS and Android and virtual wallets or physical “pre-paid” MasterCards that can be handed out to employees, departments and even external consultants or contractors.
In addition, Soldo offers granular spending controls that are at the heart of its tech stack. This allows for different expense criteria for each employee, contractor or spending department, with permissions set and all spending trackable centrally. It also lets users capture receipt data, while the whole system integrates with commonly used business accounting packages such as Xero, Quickbooks, Concur, Expensify, NetSuite, Zucchetti and SAP
Asked what the biggest challenge for Soldo has been over the last 12 months, Gualandri says “educating the market,” something that he doesn’t see changing any time soon.
“When you don’t know that a solution exists, you don’t even call it a “problem” but you consider it just a ‘fact of life’,” he says. “Spend management is a new category that replaces many old and outdated processes. [It] allows companies to distribute access to money with control, enabling flatter and more agile organisations. It will take time for the market to fully realise its transformational power”.
To that end, Gualandri says the most gratifying thing over the last year has been the results achieved within the companies that have started adopting Soldo. “We have been recognised by thousands of companies from small to very large as an innovative and reliable provider of financial services,” he tells me. “No small achievement in the traditionally more conservative world of business”.
Soldo isn’t profitable yet, but Gualandri says it could be within one or two years if that was the goal. However, this would mean choosing “slower, more organic growth” and given there is a very large market in front of Soldo it “would not be the right choice”. The majority of companies in Europe are still using “reimbursable expenses, spreadsheets and manual processes to manage the expense management cycle” and Soldo’s competition largely remains the status quo way of doing things (although Denmark’s Pleo, for example, operates in a similar space).
“We are a company with a fixed cost base and good unit economics so the break-even point is dependent on how much we invest and grow the fixed cost base (because most of our investment is people) and the volume of customers and spend managed by our system,” he says. “So by deciding to invest in product and sales we are in effect targeting a larger revenue and profit base but later on”.
Meanwhile, Soldo’s Series B round will be used to further grow in the U.K., where it claims a “leadership position,” and in Italy and Ireland. The company also plans to enter new European markets and double its workforce over the next 12 months. Gualandri says Soldo will continue to invest in its product, too, in order to tackle additional spend management “pain points”.
“Travel expenses is the most common need but procurement, purchasing goods and services, subscriptions, mobility expenses, employees benefits are all areas that can be innovated and are an expression of the concept of company spend management,” he says.
Meanwhile, Soldo recently secured an e-money licence from Ireland’s central bank in addition to the license it holds in the U.K. so that it can continue trading within the European single market post-Brexit and in the event of “no-deal”. “It’s crazy to think we’ve been forced to work for a year and a half on a hugely complex project, mostly duplicating something that we had already, to prepare our business for something that may or may not happen,” Gualandri told TechCrunch at the time of announcing its newly acquired Irish license.