Afternoon Coffee: AI-powered AppZen raises $50 million; Beeline and TalentNet hook up; Uber Freight HQ settles in Chicago

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AI-based finance solution provider AppZen has raised $50 million from investors, and TechCrunch reports a jump in valuation.

“We understand from sources that this funding has been raised at a $500 million valuation, which is a huge hike,” TechCrunch reports. “For some context, the company in October of last year raised a $35 million round … that put it at a post-money valuation of $175 million.”

This latest round of $50 million was led by Coatue Management, which was impressed by AppZen’s ability to analyze 100% of spend and its use of artificial intelligence.

“We were struck by their AI expertise and finance transformation vision, not to mention the company’s clear and rapid execution in the market,” said Thomas Laffont, senior managing director for Coatue Management, in a press release.

Spend Matters analyst Nick Heinzmann said AppZen’s approach is on track, especially as AI fuels competition in this market.

“Applying AI’s natural language processing to expense auditing is a no-brainer, and AppZen’s large roster of impressive clients proves the approach is working,” Heinzmann said. “But beyond expenses, there are plenty of other documents — from POs to invoices and even contracts and other ancillary text artifacts like emails — that all become relevant in audit and spend management activities. This is where AppZen will need to focus, as it recently did with its invoice auditing product, and where it will encounter the most competition from other enterprise IT players, some of whom are already offering or working on their own AI-based and risk and fraud analytics in the same domain.”

Bunker launches enterprise solution

Bunker Technologies, Inc., an insurtech company that provides “instant business insurance” solutions and compliance monitoring for businesses and independent workers, announced its launch of Bunker Enterprise. “A full-service compliance suite designed for the on-demand economy,” Bunker Enterprise is designed to support workforce management practitioners in organizations that engage independent workers.

Co-Founder & CEO of Bunker, Chad Nitschke, was quoted as saying: “Whether you’re a gig economy platform, a Fortune 500 company leveraging contingent workers, or a general contractor managing subcontractors - Bunker Enterprise ensures that your independent workforce is instantly insured and 100% compliant.”

The announcement states that Bunker Enterprise is “the first software to combine Smart COI [certificate of insurance] screening, compliance verification, instant insurance and ongoing monitoring into a single platform, providing a holistic compliance solution for agile businesses.” According to the announcement, “Bunker customers have improved contract compliance by 40%, and found their average time to compliance reduced from 8 days to less than 24 hours.”

Spend Matters has been covering Bunker since 2017 and recently reported on Bunker’s partnership with Aon.

LevaData, Resilinc paddling through risky waters together

Navigating the waters of supply chain risk, that is — for the good of procurement practitioners.

LevaData, which delivers applied AI to strategic sourcing and procurement through its solutions, and Resilinc, provider of supply chain risk monitoring and mitigation solutions, "will co-develop innovative solutions that integrate Resilinc’s EventWatch AI risk monitoring and supply chain visibility data with LevaData’s Cognitive Sourcing platform to increase the visibility, agility and performance of global manufacturers," according to today's release.

Beeline and TalentNet dive into talent pools

Beeline, the world's largest independent provider of solutions for sourcing and managing contingent labor, announced its partnership with TalentNet, a talent acquisition and curation platform that leverages clients' brands to build private talent pools of readily available workers. According to the press release, “the partnership allows Beeline to complement its best-in-class direct sourcing solutions with the leading private talent pool solution in the market.”

Doug Leeby, Beeline's CEO, was quoted as saying: "By integrating our direct sourcing solution with TalentNet's talent acquisition and curation platform, Beeline can offer customers a seamless and unified user experience, from requisition to financial settlement and reporting.

“Users will access their talent pools using our vendor management system just as they do today with one login, one user interface, and peace of mind from our robust enterprise-grade security,” he continued. “Meanwhile, job seekers will benefit from the convenience and candidate-focused experience TalentNet offers."

Spend Matters has covered the direct sourcing solution category, including Beeline, TalentNet and others, for several years.  Both Beeline and TalentNet are included in the Spend Matters SolutionMap for enterprise technology solutions used to direct-source workforce and services (previously labeled Independent Contract Workers, the SolutionMap category is being renamed Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services in the upcoming Q3 2019 SolutionMap release on Tuesday, Sept. 17).

Uber Freight HQ in Chicago

Uber Freight’s new HQ is in Chicago after the company signed a 10-year lease agreement in the Chicago River district. Uber will also add “thousands” of employees in the region. Most will be part of Uber Freight, according to VentureBeat. This will take its present Chicago workforce over 1,000. All this will require an investment of $200 million collectively.

Everbridge's new Critical Event Management for Supply Chain

Everbridge, a provider of critical event management and enterprise safety software applications, took the wraps off Critical Event Management for Supply Chain at Global Security Exchange (GSX 2019) in Chicago. The new solution leverages Everbridge’s Visual Command Center to enable security and operations professionals to partner with other business leaders and support resiliency by combining Everbridge’s risk intelligence, visualization and alerting capabilities to assess supply chain risk events and mitigate or eliminate their potential impact.

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