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Spendesk is the fifth French startup to achieve unicorn status this month – TechCrunch

Fintech startup Spendesk announces that it has raised an extension of its Series C round. Tiger Global is investing $ 114 million (€ 100 million) in the startup. Following today's round of financing, the company says it has reached a valuation of more than $ 1.14 billion (more than € 1 billion).

In other words, Spendesk is a new unicorn in the French technological ecosystem. Financing news has been accelerating over the last few months in France. In January alone, five startups announced that they had crossed the threshold to reach unicorn status - PayFit, Ankorstore, Qonto, Exotec and Spendesk.

Back Market, an e-commerce marketplace focusing on refurbished smartphones and electronics devices, has also raised a mega round and reached a valuation of $ 5.7 billion.

Let's go back to Spendesk. The startup offers an all-in-one platform for managing corporate spending on medium-sized businesses in Europe. Originally focused on virtual cards for online payments, the company has expanded its product offering to handle everything related to the company's expenses.

Spendesk customers can order physical cards for employees, team members can use the platform to pay outstanding invoices, submit expense reports, manage budgets and generate expense reports. By offering everything in one comprehensive service, Spendesk wants to simplify the accounts and approvals in general, so that the money moves more freely.

The startup defines its platform as a "7-in-1 spend management solution", which means that Spendesk is no longer just a product that lets you order payment cards for your employees.

"We've had this goal since the beginning - we really want to be this platform, this operational system to manage your expenses," co-founder and CEO Rodolphe Ardant told me. "When we started working on the product, we looked at each use case and designed the right workflow for it."

In particular, Spendesk helps you formalize your internal processes. You can define team budgets, set up complicated approval procedures for expensive payments, automate some annoying tasks, such as VAT deductions.

"We cater to medium-sized customers. These are customers with 50 to 1,000 employees. We have a few customers that are larger than that and a few customers that are smaller than that," Ardant said.

And the company currently has 3,500 customers - about half of them are based in France, while other customers are mostly based in Germany, and the UK customers have spent 3 billion euros through Spendesk alone in 2021.

With its central position in the financial stack, Spendesk must have a perfect interface with other financial tools - banks on the one hand and ERP products on the other.

The startup currently supports many of the popular accounting tools used by European companies, such as Xero and Datev. Spendesk customers can also export transaction batches and import them into Sage, Cegid and other accounting software solutions.

Spendesk is also working on automating the integrations with your bank accounts, which can be especially useful for companies with multiple bank accounts. For example, you could imagine creating a rule that automatically triggers a transfer between your German bank account and your Spendesk account when you want to pay a German supplier.


Image credit: donationssk

Spend management in Europe

Spendesk is not the only cost management solution in Europe. There are some competitors, such as Pleo, which recently reached a valuation of $ 4.7 billion, and Soldo - another well-funded competitor, as it has raised $ 180 million last year.

Also in the US, companies like Brex and Ramp have reached sky-high valuations. And yet Spendesk does not believe it has the same positioning as American startups.

"In the US market, it should not be called the consumer management industry - it is the business card industry. Players like Brex and Ramp position themselves as a payment method," said Spendesk co-founder and CEO Rodolphe Ardant. "Europe's corporate culture is a debit culture - not credit. We do not provide payment methods, we provide a process. "

There is a slight difference in product positioning, so it will be interesting to see if a European startup for consumer management can successfully enter the United States and vice versa.

Also when it comes to business model, Spendesk considers itself a software-as-a-service company with recurring subscriptions. The startup did not want to share any hard numbers for its earnings. Its CEO just said that Spendsk's revenue "more than doubles every year."

With today's round of funding, Spendesk plans to triple the size of its team over the next two years. The company plans to have 1,000 employees by the end of 2023.

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