Upflow Raises $15m - Join Our Mission to Revolutionize B2B Payments
Jun 15, 2021
Today is a day of celebration for the team here at Upflow, and we’re happy to share it with our users, customers, and partners. Three years after getting started, we’re pleased to share that we’ve closed a $15 million Series A funding round to advance our mission to revolutionize how B2B businesses get paid.
We started with a simple idea addressing an obvious problem: B2B businesses still struggle to get paid in 2021. And since we were founded three years ago, Upflow has helped hundreds of B2B companies improve their cash flow with our best-in-class software. But with this round, we’re eager to take Upflow to the next level.
Following YCombinator's investment in 2020, this funding round brings on new investors from 9yards Capital alongside experienced operators such as Maximilian Tayenthal of N26; Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty of Uber, and Raffael Johnen of auxmoney. We’re also welcoming Andrew Nutter (former co-CEO of Westwing) to our board. We’re in good company to move to the next stage of our journey.
Getting paid for B2B businesses, is this 2021 or 1981?
We started Upflow with a simple idea. If companies have so many difficulties getting paid, let’s fix it first before providing any additional services such as insurance or financing. With my co-founder Barnaby, we’ve always been very aligned on our product and user-centric approach: the process is broken, let’s optimize it with the best software possible.
That’s how we built what Upflow has become today: a best-in-class software solution allowing business teams to understand their finances, track unpaid invoices collaboratively and provide a better experience to their customers. With hundreds of companies now using our technology every day and experiencing drastic improvements in their cash collection processes, we know that we can help them make a significant difference.
I’ll always remember talking to Emmaline, Head of Operations at Veraset. She described how her team has managed to reduce overdue payments by 50% in the midst of the Covid crisis with Upflow. Many users have reported similar results.
But this is not enough.
If we take a step back to examine the state of payments worldwide, every single payment space has been revolutionized in the last decade. Retail with Square, consumer with Venmo, online with Stripe, etc. The B2B space is a notable exception.
Nothing has changed in the B2B space for the past few decades. At Upflow, we’re shocked to see how unnoticed this goes. It’s 2021, and companies still put a piece of paper in an envelope and then in the mailbox to pay a vendor (yes, it’s called a “check”). While these businesses are “modern” enough to get rid of checks, instead, they send unstructured documents (pdf) called “invoices” to their customers every single month. The customer's finance team then needs to enter the information manually in their system and process the payment via ACH or wire transfer, often, again manually.
Seriously, how can businesses possibly be paid on time with this system?
Although we can try to optimize the process with software, we see it differently. The process needs to change. Ten years from now, B2B payments will have been revolutionized. With or without us. At Upflow, we want to foster and accelerate this change.
Our mission, revolutionizing how B2B businesses get paid.
It’s not that bad. Things are moving fast in the industry.
Businesses are now equipped with the right financial OS to run their activities, whether it be software from key industry players such as Quickbooks, Xero, NetSuite or new entrants such as Pennylane in Europe. Ecosystems are opening up to provide businesses with the best services, interconnected.
Payment platforms are enabling a simpler way to move money from one account to another. The last decade saw the emergence of companies like Stripe and GoCardless, which made it 10x easier to move money in comparison with legacy bank systems. And now, open banking regulations are further accelerating the change, with strong tech players such as Plaid, enabling it.
Financial services are becoming more and more accessible, with the emergence of players such as Hokodo and Fundbox.
But we believe that one piece is still missing. The layer connecting all of them. That’s what we’re building at Upflow.
We’re building the modern hub to get paid, manage communication, payments, and finances in one place. We have an ambitious roadmap to make sure that our users can access the best service possible when they need it, without the headache of worrying about integrations. It’s complex, but we know that’s the only way to change a world riddled with friction and inefficiencies.
How will we use the new round of funding?
At Upflow, we’ve always seen fundraising as a means, not an end. We were breaking-even before raising additional capital and decided to do so because we know it will be well deployed: we need the best team to build and distribute a revolutionary product.
We are a product-led organization, and as YC puts it, “Growth is the result of a great product, not a precursor”. As such, we will continue to invest heavily in product development to further integrate communications, payments, and financial services. The product team will continue to ship new features at high cadence. On the business side, we will strengthen our US presence with a new office in New York. All in all, we’ll triple the size of our team in the next 12 months — adding new team members across all functions in Europe and the United States as a fully distributed team. Check our career page if you’d like to join our team.
Join us on our mission
We’re taking on a huge, but greatly beneficial challenge for the economy. B2B businesses drive a massive $120 trillion in global revenue annually and the industry will be revolutionized in the next couple of years, but no one has even scratched the surface of it yet.
As a user, a partner, or a new team member, please drop us a line if you’re interested in taking part in our journey! Thanks for your support so far, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work hard to solve great challenges.
Barnaby and Alex, cofounders at Upflow.