Coupa acquires BELLIN to add treasury management and boost payments capabilities

Coupa, the suite provider of business spend management solutions, has acquired BELLIN, a treasury management provider, in a deal that is part of effort by Coupa to build out bank connectivity for B2B payments, offer treasury depth of capabilities, and create accounts payable and procurement synergies. And it’s part of an industry trend to improve payments capabilities in source-to-pay and procure-to-pay solutions.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Coupa said in an interview that BELLIN, a two-decade-old German firm, has strengths that lie in control over cash and liquidity as well as forecasting. Coupa said customers want to see where their cash is at any one time, and that suppliers would like to know where payments are in the approval process — much like the convenience that consumers have with tracking packages to their home.

Acquisition details

Coupa said its goals for the new Coupa Treasury Management product will focus on three areas:

  • Enhanced B2B payments, which includes more bank connectivity options and deeper payment fraud tools
  • Reduced blind spots, meaning ways to identify market trends, real-time visibility into working capital management, better cash forecasting, support for supplier negotiations with earlier visibility into projected spend and better insight into contract risks that can affect cash flow
  • Improved cost containment, which includes intercompany netting to lower payment charges and for businesses to form an in-house bank

Coupa also said that BELLIN strengthens the Coupa Pay product, which facilitates payments with its network of partners like American Express, PayPal and Barclaycard. Coupa said its customers will gain money movement options, suggesting treasury departments will gain more timely and accurate access to spend transactions and working capital solutions.

Donna Wilczek, Coupa Senior Vice President of Product Strategy and Innovation, said that BELLIN’s products will be offered to Coupa customers and vice-versa, with Coupa products offered to BELLIN customers starting immediately. She said BELLIN and Coupa are already working as one team.

“BELLIN will extend our offerings and give our mutual customers control of both spend and liquidity,” she said. “Together, we will add advanced treasury capabilities, unify siloed processes and teams, and give customers even more value.”

Martin Bellin, whose title has shifted from BELLIN CEO to Senior Vice President of Coupa Treasury Management, said he’s “extremely happy that I can take my team into a global Coupa organization that follows the same principles and has the same long-term benefits for our clients.”

He said he appreciates how Coupa has approached the deal and integration of his company.

“They’re very German,” Bellin said, imparting high praise.

For individual businesses looking to streamline procurement and finance operations, the deal hints at closer relationships between business functions within both groups that historically have had limited interaction — like procurement and treasury. Martin Bellin said that the addition of technology like treasury management solutions will help change that perception of siloed functions across a business.

Since procurement and treasury have rarely collaborated closely to date, the issue was raised about how procurement will adopt this technology. Bellin expects that the benefits will be apparent via the technology.

“In five years’ time you won’t be asking that question,” he said.

Spend Matters’ David Gustin, who covers B2B payments providers and supply chain finance issues, also sees this transaction as a trend toward more internal collaboration.

“Coupa, with its acquisition of BELLIN, is certainly looking to help drive what the new co-operative world of Procurement-Treasury-AP-Finance will look like in 2021 and beyond. There are many potential synergies in the combined forces,” Gustin said. “With the focus of the corporate world increasingly on cash position, cash forecasting and surplus cash yield, the new solutions that the combined entity can bring offer the potential to transform Procurement-Treasury through technology.”

Busy year for Coupa

Coupa has acquired more than 10 companies in its history, and it is known for integrating those firms’ intellectual property and capabilities into market-ready offerings as part of its platform for business spend management (BSM). This year alone, Coupa has acquired the supplier diversity specialist ConnXus and Yapta, a travel and expense price optimization solutions provider.

Look for more Spend Matters coverage of the Coupa-BELLIN deal in an upcoming Nexus column, which focuses on M&A, private equity and corporate development happenings in the procurement technology sector.

For CPOs and CFOs, a Spend Matters PRO brief will provide an overview of the components of treasury management solutions and touchpoints with source-to-pay, procure-to-pay and AP systems.

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