Afternoon Coffee: Scout RFP Raises $33 Million — with Workday, Salesforce’s Help; Online-only, Freelancer Bank N26 Raises $300 Million

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Scout RFP, whose platform focuses on sourcing and supplier engagement, raised $33 million in a Series C funding round from the typical venture capital partners — as well as some unlikely ones: Workday Ventures and Salesforce Ventures, the company announced this week.

To figure out more about this arrangement, Forbes looks at why other software providers would back Scout RFP.

Workday and Salesforce were familiar with Scout’s software, Scout RFP CEO Alex Yakubovich told Forbes. "We're very adjacent to what they do, but it's not in the core of what they do," he told Forbes, adding that other companies similar to Workday and Salesforce also wanted to join the round of funding.

In the announcement, Scout said it would join the Workday Software Partner program and will collaborate on go-to-market and product initiatives for joint customers, including integrating Scout’s strategic sourcing platform with Workday Procurement, part of the Workday Financial Management suite.

“Scout and Workday share a common commitment to deliver cutting-edge, cloud-based applications that are inherently faster to deploy and easier to use when it comes to the increasingly complex world of sourcing and supplier engagement,” said Mark Peek, managing director and co-head of Workday Ventures, in the announcement. “Together, we will further our focus on enabling customers to continually streamline and modernize operations across the entire source-to-settle business process.”

Where Freelancers Can Take It to the Bank

N26, a Berlin-based “online-only bank” recently became Europe’s most valuable fintech start-up, according to the Financial Times. The company announced a $300 million Series D Round last week, upon which basis the company’s valuation rose to $2.7 billion, around three times the valuation less than a year ago. N26 is backed by Peter Thiel and other investors, and it has raised a total of $512 million since its launch in 2013.

The Times also reported that N26 is “one of a wave of new digitally focused banks to spring up in the last few years, alongside rivals such as Monzo and Revolut,” among others. Online-only banks, such as N26, first emerged mostly in Europe as potential disruptors to traditional banks by targeting underserved banking segments with innovative, 100% digital/virtual, low-cost or no-fee financial services.

According to Forbes, “N26 has eclipsed Revolut’s meteoric $1.7 billion valuation,” has 2.3 million users across Europe and “now operates in five languages across 24 countries with 700 staff.”  After entering the UK market in 2018, N26 has confirmed its long-planned U.S. market entry in the first half of this year.

One of the key target markets of N26, and other online-only banks, is freelancers and micro-businesses. In 2017, the company launched N26 Business, its card-based, digital banking offering suitable for freelancers and micro-businesses. And, in 2018, it upped its game and introduced N26 Business Black, which the company says “is only available for freelancers and those who are self-employed.” For more on the online-only banking and freelancer phenomenon, see today’s article from Spend Matters: Freelancers and Fintech — Follow the Money.

Sears Not Liquidating Now

Sears has agreed to a $5.2 billion offer from Eddie Lampert, who ran Sears and is a billionaire hedge-fund manager, Reuters reports. The deal needs to be approved by the bankruptcy judge in the case, and a hearing could be set for this week, Reuters reports. The deal would keep about 400 Sears stores open, but the prospects for success remain uncertain.

May Stays in Power, Faces Brexit Jam

UK Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament on Wednesday, a day after her Brexit plan met a resounding defeat, the Associated Press reports. May has until Monday to come up with a Plan B for a Brexit deal.

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