Afternoon Coffee: B2B fintech Tipalti raises $150 million, tops $2 billion valuation; Services sector shows 4th month of growth; FedEx, Reliable Robotics partner for autonomous aircraft

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Tipalti, a B2B global payments automation specialist, announced a new $150 million funding round, bringing a valuation of more than $2 billion. Durable Capital Partners led the investment, according to a press release.

The new investment brings Tipalti’s total funding raised to date to around $280 million, Tipalti said. The company said it will use the funding to focus on its product roadmap, accelerate growth and extend its global presence to increase its position as a preferred solution for companies around the world. Tipalti will increase its developer, product management, customer operations, sales and business development headcounts to accelerate its growth, it said.

“The valuation the market is giving B2B payment companies is staggering,” said David Gustin, a contributing author at Spend Matters. “Square has a higher market capitalization than Goldman Sachs. Nuvei, a recently listed payment service provider in Canada for social and online gaming, has a market cap at $2 billion. The market believes in e-commerce and marketplaces, and is rewarding companies who help solve pain points. The explosive rise of marketplaces ranging from media content, real estate, creative content, to business assistance has created a global contractor and vendor base that both need to be paid in a compliant and efficient manner. That’s Tipalti’s sweet spot.”

See how Tipalti ranks in Spend Matters' latest SolutionMap Fall 2020 update for AP Automation, and SolutionMap Insider subscribers can see Tipalti’s capabilities results compared to other vendors in our Fall 2020 Provider Scoring Summary: Accounts Payable (AP) Automation.

Services economy shows strength, ISM says

Amid the coronavirus disruption, economic activity in the services sector continued to grow in September, according to the latest Services ISM Report on Business numbers released Monday. The services PMI — formerly known as the Non-Manufacturing NMI — was 57.8% last month, according to the report.

The September number was 0.9% percentage points higher than the August rate of 56.9%. September’s reading represents growth in the services sector, because any number above 50 counts as growth. The number represents the fourth straight month of growth after a contraction in April and May because of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Respondents' comments remain mostly optimistic about business conditions and the economy, which correlates directly to those businesses that are operating. There continues to be capacity and logistics issues, as business volumes have increased," Anthony Nieves, the chair of the ISM Services Business Survey Committee, said in a press release.

FedEx partners with Reliable Robotics to produce autonomous delivery aircraft

FedEx announced last week that it is working with Reliable Robotics to pilot an autonomous single-engine aircraft for cargo delivery, according to Supply Chain Dive.

The work is part of an effort to automate aspects of supply chains. FedEx has partnered with Wing Aviation to test drone deliveries and autonomous same-day delivery robots within the last couple of years, according to the article. Rural areas are especially lucrative as regulatory hurdles are easier to overcome with less infrastructure and fewer people. Reliable Robotics completed test flights of two remote-piloted aircraft models last month. However, FedEx does not have plans to replace its current aircraft fleet, just add to it, the article said.

“This initiative deals with smaller turboprop airplanes and in this case the single-engine C208, which we are looking at putting in very remote and uninhabited areas as part of our network," FedEx CEO Fred Smith said.

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