Silicon Valley-based Crowdz, a premier startup in the booming Fintech space, announced today that it had closed a Series A investment round of $5.5 million to launch the banking industry’s first global Invoice Exchange™, designed to revolutionize the $9 trillion worldwide receivables market. The round was led by Barclays Bank and BOLD Capital Partners, with additional investments coming from TFX Capital Partners, Techstars Ventures, and First Derivatives. The funds will be used for product development, marketing, and sales, as well as key team hires.
Crowdz’s blockchain-based Invoice Exchange, with its built-in business-to-business (B2B) payment gateway, allows companies of all sizes to automatically digitize invoices, speed up invoice-payment collections, accelerate the cash-conversion cycle, and automatically associate orders, invoices, and payments with one another for more efficient settlement purposes-a transformative invoicing process that Crowdz calls “metavoicing.” Additionally, through the Invoice Exchange’s proprietary auction platform, companies can submit their invoices for bank or investor financing without filing additional paperwork, and ultimately can receive offers from dozens of funders for financing at the lowest possible rates.
“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 cashflow they need in order to survive and grow,” says Payson E. Johnston, co-founder and CEO of Crowdz. “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. We are pleased to have Barclays and Bold as our strategic partners as we accelerate this journey.”
An Industry Ripe for Disruption
On its investment in Crowdz, Teymour Boutros-Ghali, Managing Partner of BOLD Capital Partners, emphasizes that “with more than $9 trillion in receivables globally, this is clearly an industry that is ripe for disruption. And we believe that Crowdz is just the team to accomplish that.”
Crowdz’s mission to disrupt the payments industry also aligns with support for financial innovation at Barclays. “Crowdz is pushing the boundaries of B2B payments with its revolutionary Invoice Exchange,” adds John Stecher, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Barclays. “Our team is excited to see them enter this next phase of growth, and look forward to supporting them further as they work to disrupt the payments industry, providing a superior service to our customers and clients.”
Angel investors in Crowdz include; Chris Adelsbach, Venture Partner at Techstars Ventures; Susan Standiford, Chief Technology Officer for IKEA; and Dr. Jürgen Wolff, Founder and Former Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes Pay.
Prospering as Never Before Possible
Crowdz sees tremendous opportunity in an industry that has remained relatively unchanged for decades if not for centuries. “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,” notes Kevin Hopkins, a former White House economist and now Crowdz’s chief strategist. “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.”
The delays associated with this time-consuming manual invoice handling are compounded by modern invoicing practices. “Today,” says CEO Johnston, “small and midsize businesses often have to wait for a financially crushing 90 to 120 days or more to get paid. It’s no wonder that more than half of them suffer cash-flow problems during any given year.
“However, with the Crowdz Invoice Exchange, these often struggling companies can get paid within a few days or less-at rates usually far less than available elsewhere in the market,” Johnston concludes. “This change alone not only will make life easier for small and midsize company leaders, but also will enable these businesses to grow and prosper in ways never before possible.”