Investors are going crazy for financial tech companies, and on Tuesday Bill.com became the latest company to benefit from the feeding frenzy.
The Palo Alto, Calif. startup announced $US100 million in new funding, in a round led by JPMorgan Chase — the largest bank in the US — and Temasek, a private holding company owned by the government of Singapore.
With the latest funding, Bill.com now has a private market valuation of $US742.8 million, according to PitchBook’s estimates, putting Bill.com among the upper ranks of richly valued startups.
The eleven-year old startup, which is seeking to replace paper checks, has raised $US200 million in total funding. And it is creeping closer to the so-called “unicorn” club of startups that have a $US1 billion or more valuation, including fintech companies such as Stripe and Robinhood.
The last public estimates for Bill.com’s valuation was $US164 million, from a 2013 round of funding — though the company has raised several rounds of funding at undisclosed valuations since then.
A complex task
Bill.com founder Rene Lacerte says that JP Morgan was the perfect investor for his company’s current phase.
“For me it’s about having partners that buy into the strategy and execution that I have,” Lacerte told Business Insider in an interview on Tuesday.
Bill.com has 100,000 customers and claims that over 1% of all US businesses have used its service to either pay or to get paid, with $US50 billion in payments processed annually.
Among its offerings, Bill.com enables customers to send and receive electronic payments and invoices, store those documents electronically, and sync that information with accounting software. Banks can integrate its software into their digital banking interfaces for business customers to use, while other businesses can use the software directly to manage their payments.
“Consumer payments are simple. Business payments are complex. If you think about all the bills coming and going for a business, there’s just a lot more information,” Lacerte said. “All of that complexity means that banks would have to build something around customer ease of use and experience, and that’s not necessarily a core function of a bank.”
Lacerte said Bill.com will use its latest round of funding to add more partnerships, like the integration it has with QuickBooks that lets customers move their financial data between the two programs without entering anything manually. He also plans to add new features, such as machine learning for data entry, and international payments.
Fintech is on fire
It’s been a record year for investments in financial technology companies, according to CB Insights. There were 251 venture capitalist investments in the space in the second quarter of 2017 alone. Data is not yet available for the third quarter.
Though many financial tech companies are out to disrupt the longstanding financial institutions, banks have also found a happy home in the fintech space.
American Express, Bank of America, and Silicon Valley Bank are also investors in Bill.com.
JPMorgan Chase, which announced in September that it will integrate Bill.com’s payment technology into its online banking, also has an internal directive
to invest in and “build relationships” with fintech companies in order to move the product offerings forward.
“We utilise strategic investments in fintech companies to accelerate innovation and digital transformation across JPMorgan Chase,” Ana Capella, managing director and head of strategic investments, told Business Insider. “Key drivers for these investments include enhancing the customer experience with new and better products, improving control, compliance, and operational efficiency and protecting the bank’s assets.”
JPMorgan Chase has made over a dozen investments in this space in the last five years, including in the payment companies LevelUp and GoPago.
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