For small businesses, invoice financing, also known as factoring, is a solution for them to source funding quickly for their operations. The factoring process is based on lenders extending credit based on a company’s unpaid invoices, or purchasing them outright for a lump sum.
Existing in more or less the same way for arguably over two thousand years, the invoice financing field has gotten a shot in the arm through the digitalization of banking and finance. As a result, by sharing online data from bank accounts, accounting information and online marketplaces like AliExpress and EBay, factoring firms are able to analyze small businesses and provide financing in a matter of one or two days or hours compared to weeks.
Among entrants into the online field of factoring and having launched in March 2014 is BlueVine. Like other factoring firms, BlueVine lets small businesses connect accounting software such as QuickBooks, Xero and FreshBooks to display operating metrics to speed up the invoice financing process.
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Signaling growth in the sector, BlueVine has announced that they have closed a $40 million Series C funding round. The deal was led by Menlo Ventures and included participation of the Rakuten FinTech Fund in the round. In addition, existing investors such as Lightspeed Venture Partners, 83NORTH and Correlation Venture also participated in the current round.
With the funding, BlueVine has raised a total of $64 million. According to the firm, the funding will be used to increase management hiring, develop new features and expand to new verticals. Along with the deal news, BlueVine revealed that in 2015 they recorded a 12x increase in funded invoices compared to their launch year of 2014. In addition, the firm expects to achieve over $200 million in invoice funding in 2016.
For Rakuten, the investment in BlueVine comes from their FinTech Fund which was launched in November. Along with investing in fintech firms and aiming for an attractive return, the fund also targets startups that Rakuten believes provide strategic relevance. In regard to their interest in BlueVine, Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel, Managing Partner of the Rakuten FinTech Fund stated: “We are very impressed with BlueVine’s disruptive technology and how it financially empowers the small business community”.