Anyline, the Vienna-based provider of optical character recognition (OCR) technology that developers use to build OCR functions into their websites and apps, has raised $12 million in Series A funding. The company has also unveiled plans for a U.S. expansion.
Leading the round is Berlin-based VC firm Project A, with participation from Anyline’s existing investors, including Johann “Hansi” Hansmann, Senovo and the Gernot Langes-Swarovski Foundation.
Founded in 2013, Anyline offers specialised OCR solutions that it says the big tech vendors are not set up to supply. This has seen the Austrian startup pick up a portfolio of international clients such as Canon, Porsche and E.On, as well as national governments and the United Nations.
Its OCR functionality can be built into any modern website or app and is being used by businesses to scan and collect various “analogue” information, such as identity documents, serial numbers and utility meters, using any standard mobile device.
The upside of such an approach is obvious: By using proven OCR tech that actually works, businesses can make considerable savings in terms of time and resources by eliminating manual data entry, which is prone to costly mistakes.
From a customer point of view, anybody who has used OCR to add a debit card to an app or submit a meter reading knows it provides an infinitely less painful experience than having to manually type long numbers on a phone.
Anyline says the new capital will primarily be used to double its headcount, and to open a first U.S. headquarters in Boston in early 2020. This will enable Anyline to bring its mobile OCR solutions to new international markets and industries, including smart manufacturing, KYC services and fintech, says the company.
“As businesses move to an increasingly virtual world, it is vital they have access to advanced technologies that enable them to digitise previously analog mediums,” says Lukas Kinigadner, CEO and co-founder of Anyline, in a statement.
“We are proud to say European-born technology is helping businesses across the world to reduce the errors, inefficiencies and frustrations that come with manual input. By becoming the market leader in mobile OCR, Anyline plans to be the technology partner businesses need to meet these challenges on the horizon.”
Meanwhile, Anyline’s planned U.S. launch as seen the company found Anyline Inc., and hire Bryan Boatner, the former Global Sales director of Cognex Corporation, as its new VP of Sales and Business Development.
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Corporate expense management platform Divvy has agreed to sell to small business financial software provider Bill.com for $2.5 billion.
Adding Divvy’s technology to its platform expands Bill.com’s solution. The new capabilities will help the California-based company enable its 115,000 customers to automatically manage accounts payable, accounts receivable, and corporate card spend. Additionally, Divvy’s tools will offer businesses real-time insight into their B2B spending and provide them access to multiple payment solutions.
Combining the two companies also boosts Divvy’s capabilities. The Utah-based company will be able to offer its 7,500 small business customers automated payable, receivables, and workflow capabilities. “As we listened to our customers, we heard them ask for a comprehensive payments platform so that they don’t have to use multiple software systems to manage their finances,” said Divvy CEO and Co-Founder Blake Murray. “Today I’m proud that Divvy is joining Bill.com to bring the one-stop-shop platform that our customers and the market have been asking for.”
“Since founding Bill.com, I have been driven by the desire to build solutions that make a real difference for small and mid-sized businesses. Customers have been asking us to help them with their spend management, and I am excited that together with Divvy, we can deliver on that ask, furthering our vision to transform SMB financial operations. Our expanded platform will provide more automation and real-time information to SMBs, enabling them to make more informed decisions,” said Bill.com CEO and Founder René Lacerte. “We are excited to work with the talented Divvy team. We have a shared passion for helping SMBs succeed and both companies are driving our customers’ digital transformations. Together, we can further empower SMBs to transition quickly and easily.”
Today’s deal is expected to close by the end of September and is subject to regulatory approvals closing conditions.
Bill.com was founded in 2006 and went public in 2019. With a market capitalization of $12.33 billion, the company trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BILL.
Founded in 2016, Divvy has raised $418 million from investors including PayPal Ventures, Insight Partners, and New Enterprise Associates.
European Fintechs Qonto and October revolutionize lending to small and very small businesses.
Qonto, a European finance management solution provider which has attracted more than 150,000 European companies looking to improve their day-to-day banking, and October, the No. 1 SME lending platform in Continental Europe have joined forces to facilitate access to credit for small and very small enterprises (SMEs and VSEs). The partnership offers to Qonto’s customers ultra-fast, 100% online financing directly via their banking application. They get an instant decision on their loan application, without personal guarantee. The decision is based solely on the transaction data of their Qonto account. Applicants do not need to download any tax package or other documents. The funds are made available in their account within four days.
A New Instant Loan Offer for VSEs, SMEs, and the Self-employed
The service has been available in France since April. It will open in May to Italian companies and then extend to other European countries where both Qonto and October are active, such as Spain.
Qonto and October are flagships of the European fintech market and members of Next40 and the French Tech 120, French programs which distinguish French scaleups with the potential to become global technology leaders. Founded in 2017, Qonto is now available in 4 countries, France, Spain, Italy and Germany, and employs more than 300 people in Paris. The startup has raised €136 million in founding, including a €104 million Series C in 2020. Founded in 2014, October is the Continental European leading SME lending platform allowing businesses in France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany to borrow directly from private and institutional lenders. October has helped finance more than 1300 companies for more than €550 million.
The Qonto and October partnership now offers VSEs and SMEs two types of loans: a classic loan and a state-guaranteed loan (SGL, or PGE for ‘Prêt Garanti par L’État” in French). SGLs are part of the French government’s COVID recovery package. Qonto customers will thus be able to borrow up to €30,000 over 24 months for conventional loans and over 60 months for SGLs. For the first time, SGLs are now distributed directly to VSEs without going through a traditional bank. Just a few days after the launch of this offering, more than 10 TPEs already had their loan approved for around €500,000 in total.
“For the first time, Qonto clients who want to benefit from a loan, including an SGL, have an easy and quick access to credit. They can centrally manage their financing from their Qonto account and benefit from October’s expertise. This new offer marks a turning point for Qonto. It adds to our existing range of financial and accounting solutions a secure and efficient way to finance VSEs, SMEs, and the self-employed.” Alexandre Prot, CEO & Co-founder of Qonto declared.
“The integration of October technology in Qonto foreshadows what business credit will be in the future for every borrower: a simple and fast experience of a credit decision based on reliable data. The first loans granted through this partnership are the result of 6 years of R&D. We wanted to put credit at the fingertips of entrepreneurs, and we are doing it!” Olivier Goy, CEO of October, added.
Reinventing the Credit Experience
The loan application takes 10 minutes. Its automatic analysis is instantaneous – providing a smooth user experience. The API connection between the two fintechs allows a customer to submit a loan request in seconds with just a few clicks. After answering fewer than 5 questions, the customer receives an instant offer generated by an innovative scoring model based on the analysis of bank transactions and automated fraud detection. The funds, which are contributed by the community of more than 25,000 October lenders, are then made available in the customer’s Qonto account within four days.
Pierre-Antoine Errard, founder of Solarian, obtained an SGL of €22,500 to rebalance its cash flow and anticipate future expenses. He testifies:
“Applying for credit with October and Qonto was extremely quick and easy. With just one click, my information was transferred to October, who was able to make me an offer immediately. What was particularly pleasant was the transparency of the entire process. I knew what to expect at each stage, especially about the timing. It was very reassuring.”
Therese Torris, Ph.D., is a Senior Contributing Editor to Crowdfund Insider. She is an entrepreneur and consultant in eFinance and eCommerce based in Paris. She has covered crowdfunding and P2P lending since the early days when Zopa was created in the United Kingdom. She was a director of research and consulting at Gartner Group Europe, Senior VP at Forrester Research and Content VP at Twenga. She publishes a French personal finance blog, Le Blog Finance Pratique. Torris is also a graduate of INSEAD.