When I first met Soldo’s founder, Carlo Gualandri, I knew almost nothing about his business. But what I did know well was the time and challenge involved in managing the expenses of a growing company. Two hours later, the reception we were attending wound down and I realised I hadn’t managed to talk to anyone else — having traded the stories of my challenges with what Carlo was building to solve them. And within a few weeks of that conversation we had invested in Soldo, co-leading its $61 million Series B — at the time, the biggest ever round for a spend management startup and our largest first investment in a fintech business.
As a founder, Carlo radiates not only conviction but complete competence. As an entrepreneur with multiple companies already behind him, his experience and clarity of vision for the future of spend management clearly set him apart. Coupled with this, Carlo is a natural leader, who has brought together a truly first-class team with significant experience and execution capabilities, and heralds from the likes of Box, Xero and Visa. Since their Series B they’ve moved the dial across every area of Soldo’s business, which has resulted in a phenomenal four-fold growth in spend volume across the platform.
We’re delighted to see their success recognised through their impressive $180 million Series C, which is the largest to date for a European company in the spend management sector. Through our participation in the round, our backing of Soldo now totals more than $50 million and makes it one of our top-five largest investments.
We feel our confidence is justified by Soldo’s success to date and laser focus on tackling one of the world’s biggest markets: how and what companies spend. It’s an addressable market estimated to be worth $170 billion in Europe alone. With a platform that helps businesses to automate their processes for authorising and tracking spend, Soldo allows its customers to claw back the significant time their finance teams currently commit to doing these tasks manually, as well as the 2% of turnover it is estimated to cost them as a result of poor spending controls.
Soldo’s platform, which integrates with all core ERP, finance and HR systems, allows companies to allocate budgets, control user authorisations, track transactions in real time and access customised reporting and analytics. Notably, and unlike its competitors, Soldo has built its own banking tech stack, giving it full control over pricing and unit economics, and enabling it to deliver the leading gross margin in the industry.
As a single, end-to-end platform, it immediately simplifies the confusion of separate budgets, corporate credit cards, manual expense reports and trackers that are the messy reality of spend management for too many SMBs. I talk from first-hand experience, when I say how transformational Soldo has been for our business and finance team. And while its primary market is smaller companies, it is also sufficiently feature rich for large enterprise customers too. As such, Soldo currently serves more than 26,000 customers across 30 countries, including Mercedes Benz, Gymshark, GetYourGuide and Farmdrop.
Our investment in Soldo’s Series C round also reflects our commitment to supporting our companies and founders through multiple stages of growth, as we have done with fintech winners including iZettle and Tink. Soldo unquestionably meets our definition of a company that can continue to lead and grow a category it has already helped to define. And it aligns with our focus on innovators who are building the future of work, and companies that are helping SMBs to evolve beyond clunky, manual systems that erode productivity.
We’re also excited to welcome some world leading investors into the round, their participation is a testament to the strength of Soldo’s platform and offering, and include lead investor Temasek, whose fintech credentials include Visa, PayPal and Adyen, as well as Advent and our existing co-investors Accel and Battery. It’s also notable that Citi Ventures is joining as a strategic partner. As I wrote only last week, our experience is that strategic investors have an important role to play once a company has reached product-market fit and is ready to take advantage of the partnerships and routes to scale that an industry leader can offer. With Soldo having successfully expanded beyond its core markets of Italy and the UK over the last few years, to include a strong footprint across Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, we believe it has conclusively reached that inflection point. This new funding will accelerate Soldo’s international expansion further as well as product development.
Having worked with Soldo’s team for the last two years and sat on their board, I’m in no doubt that it is a company with the people, technology and market opportunity to be a global success story. Its accomplishments to date are a testament to Carlo and the first-rate team he has built around him. With a brilliant roster of new investors joining the journey, we can’t wait to see where it goes next from here.