Afternoon Coffee: VNDLY raises $8.5M; Tradeshift gets creative on stimulus; Upwork grows in Q1; SIG Summit starts online next week

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VNDLY, a provider of workforce management systems, announced that it has received $8.5 million in Series B-1 funding. The round of funding is led by the Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group, with Madrona’s Steve Singh joining the VNDLY board, according to a press release. This brings VNDLY’s total external funding to $57.7 million, the release said. The latest investment will be used to continue VNDLY's global expansion and product development, the provider said.

"We're honored that Madrona sees VNDLY in the same light as the other technology greats they stand behind," VNDLY CEO Shashank Saxena said in the press release. "We know this will be a major driver for us as we move to the next level in our industry.”

Tradeshift looks to expand financial solution for small suppliers

Tradeshift, a payments and P2P provider, is working on a coronavirus-related financial pilot project to fund small business, the website Ledger Insights reports. The provider is partnering on a program in Denmark and is in talks with other governments to expand the financial model. Tradeshift is working with the Danish Export Credit Agency to create a solution to assist financing for exporters and suppliers during the coronavirus crisis. The process would allow for an exporter’s suppliers to be paid immediately for invoices by the bank, and the large firm would pay the bank on the normal due date. The initiative is targeting the top 250 buyers in Denmark for immediate payment to their suppliers.

During the crisis, many large export companies have slowed or been unable to pay suppliers, as well as some insurers threatening to withdraw trade finance cover without a government backstop.

Upwork grows in first quarter 2020

Upwork, the online freelancer marketplace and managed solution provider, has announced its first quarter 2020 financial results. The report comes amid the coronavirus crisis, when many wonder if the current working conditions (in particular, working from home) and organizations' needs will lead to a greater use of remote contingent workers.

Upwork's Q1 2020 gross services volume (GSV) grew to $559.5 million, a 15% increase year-over-year from 2019. Revenue for Q1 2020 grew to $83.2 million, a 21% increase over Q1 2019. At the same time, operating expenses grew by 30%, and marketing expenses rose by 50%.

Upwork has been investing heavily in sales and marketing over the past year. The company launched several programs, including a remote work resource center, accelerated payments for top freelancers and a new product called Direct Contracts.

Annual investor guidance was withdrawn for the full-year and Q2 2020 revenue outlook was presented at $79 million to $81 million, but noted that investors should not expect a positive EBIDTA in 2020.

In an analyst call about the financial results, Upwork CEO Hayden Brown stated: “We have seen unprecedented influxes of new talent to our platform and are streamlining our talent onboarding experience to better identify the most qualified professionals possessing the most in-demand skills to fast-track them to open opportunities.”

To read more about the potential for innovative contingent workforce technology in mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, follow our series: “Coronavirus affects the world of work — How can businesses cope with the COVID-19 outbreak? and Coronavirus affects the world of work: Facing the next phase of the crisis.

Register for SIG Summit

The online SIG Procurement Technology Summit will start Monday, running from May 11-15, 2020. It will bring together hundreds of procurement executives and will include live Q&A, solution demos and on-demand access for each session.

Featured speakers include Santosh Nair, GEP's Vice President for Technology; Chris Haydon, President of SAP Procurement Solutions; and Shawn Henry, CrowdStrike's Services Division President and Chief Security Officer.

The event is free for SIG members, and non-members can sign up to attend. Register here.

Analyst video highlights VNDLY on new ‘50/50’ lists

Spend Matters’ analysts chose 2020's top procurement technology vendors for the “50 Providers to Know” and the “50 Providers to Watch” lists that were recently published, and our analysts also have done videos about some of the providers that will attend the digital SIG Procurement Technology Summit, which begins May 11. The videos are out now, and Afternoon Coffee will feature one of them each day.

VNDLY, a contingent workforce solution provider:

Analyst Andrew Karpie, our Research Director for Contingent Workforce and Services issues, says: “While the company is clearly competing with VMS players, it has gone to market with the leading edge native cloud technology platform that weaves together AI and data analytics in its core, as well as API openness at its periphery.” See our full VNDLY video here.

The 50/50 lists are part of Spend Matters Almanac, a directory of more than 500 providers that offers deep insights on the players in the procurement technology market.

China's exports briefly rebound

China’s exports briefly rebounded in April, rising 3.5% year-over-year, the Associated Press reports. Total exports were a little over $200 billion. This marks a turn from the 13% contraction the country faced in the first quarter of the year due to disruptions from the coronavirus crisis. The rebound likely comes from China allowing some factories and other businesses to reopen following the worst of the pandemic.

However, experts do not think this good fortune will last, the report said. Imports fell almost 14% year-over-year. Additionally, many Chinese factories are struggling to get back to full speed, and export markets in the U.S. and Europe remain closed while consumers in those regions remain locked down to contain the virus.

Spend Matters PRO offer extended for May

Now through May, a Spend Matters' special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off. The discount applies to PRO subscription content from our analysts and other services. — Learn more

Read all of Spend Matters’ coronavirus coverage here.

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