Crowdz, a blockchain-based invoice exchange startup, has raised $5.5 million in a Series A investment round led by Barclays Bank and Bold Capital Partners, according to a press release. Based in Silicon Valley, the startup offers its users an invoice exchange with a built-in business to business (B2B) payment gateway. This allows the users, usually small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), to digitize invoices and speed up invoice-payment collections.
The founder and CEO of Crowdz, Payson Johnston, expressed his excitement at the opportunities that lay ahead, especially now that the startup has the backing of Barclays and Bold Capital. He also reiterated his company’s mission to target the SMEs, stating:
“While companies of all sizes can benefit greatly from our global Invoice Exchange, we founded Crowdz with the goal of ensuring that all small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) in particular have access to the cash flow they need in order to survive and grow. Unfortunately, millions of these companies – which account for 75% of global B2B commerce and which need invoice financing the most – have long been excluded from the market.”
The startup offers much more than just an invoice exchange. Its platform enables the users to associate orders, invoices, and payments with one another automatically, for a more efficient settlement process. Moreover, the companies can submit their invoices for investor or bank financing with no need for additional paperwork. It also allows the businesses to receive multiple offers for funding and to select the lowest possible rate.
Some of the angel investors who invested in the startup include Jurgen Wolff, the founder of Mercedes Pay, Susan Standiford, the CTO of IKEA and Chris Adelsbach, a venture capitalist. The new round of funding will be used for marketing, product development and to hire more talent.
Kevin Hopkins, the startup’s chief strategist and a former White House economist, summarized why the invoicing industry is in dire need of innovation stating, “Primitive forms of invoices were first used some 3,500 years ago in Mesopotamia, and the word ‘invoice’ has been around for nearly 500 years. And yet, a quarter century into a flourishing digital age, 90% of the world’s annual inventory of more than 400 billion invoices are still manually processed.”
Barclays has previously been involved in the crypto and blockchain industry, having explored plans of launching a crypto trading desk. It was also the first bank to open an account for American crypto exchange Coinbase in Europe, making it easier for the exchange’s European users to convert crypto to fiat.
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