Afternoon Coffee: Beeline and IQNavigator to Merge, EcoVadis Secures €30 Million in New Funding

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Big news shook the contingent workforce and services procurement world Tuesday: Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR, which owns IQNavigator, has acquired Beeline from Adecco. GTCR will merge Beeline and IQNavigator into a single firm, a combination that will make it approximately the same size as competitor SAP Fieldglass in headcount and similar to slightly larger in contingent workforce volume.

“The combination of the two providers creates a VMS powerhouse, both by services procurement network volume and revenue, making GTCR — as well as Adecco and the management of both organizations — the owner of the largest independent services procurement technology provider by a significant margin,” Jason Busch and Andrew Karpie wrote in a joint research brief published Tuesday. In particular, the deal expands Beeline’s customer base for its recent investments in the growing, high-potential independent worker/freelancer market.

Stay tuned to Spend Matters PRO later today to learn more about customer, prospect and partner (MSP) recommendations following the merger.

EcoVadis Finds First Institutional Funding

EcoVadis, a provider of environmental, social and ethical performance ratings for global supply chains, announced earlier Wednesday it had raised €30 Million from Partech Ventures. The investment “will be used to accelerate worldwide adoption of EcoVadis' supplier corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings, to advance the reliability and value delivered in its ratings, and to further invest in the core technologies of its platform, through in-house R&D and partnerships with best-of-breed tech start-ups,” the company said in a press release.

"As a transatlantic investment fund, Partech is the ideal partner as we scale," said Frédéric Trinel, co-CEO of EcoVadis. “This pivotal investment will empower our team to accelerate R&D and enhance our proprietary technology with the latest innovations in machine learning and natural language processing while broadening our expertise in CSR analysis to foster environmental, social and ethical performance improvement at a global scale."

Palm Oil and Violence

EcoVadis’ funding news certainly comes at a pivotal time for global supply chains. The need for greater procurement and supply chain scrutiny of sourcing sustainability and ethics is major news. One prominent example, as a recent article from the New Yorker’s news desk details, is the palm oil industry, which environmental and human-rights activists are increasingly scrutinizing due to the violent costs of the product’s boom.

Consumer Expectations

Improving sustainability and CSR performance is also increasingly expected of manufacturers by consumers, a recent Trade Extensions report says. Consumers put their trust in manufacturers and retailers to look after suppliers and are prepared to pay more to shop at retailers who treat their suppliers better, the provider said in a press release.

Look out for more coverage on supplier management, supply chain sustainability and providers that complement these efforts on Spend Matters in the coming months.

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