It was perhaps not until the COVID-19 pandemic hit the planet that most of us had ever heard or uttered the phrase “supply chain.” But in a global economy that had become drunk and lazy on “just in time ordering” and similar, the threat to supply chains of things like, oh, food, from that pesky virus has become real and visceral. That’s why automation of “the supply chain” has become such a huge issue. So it’s not a huge surprise that startups aimed at tackling this are suddenly thrust into the limelight.
Step forward, Cork, Ireland-based Keelvar, strategic sourcing software company, which today announces that it has raised $18 million in Series A funding led by Elephant Ventures and Mosaic Ventures, with participation from Paua Ventures, enabling the company to further expand into enterprise markets.
The investment will support Keelvar’s expansion plans for Europe and the U.S., amid the rapidly growing need for supply chain automation solutions, which has been further accelerated by the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Keelvar provides large enterprises with “Advanced Sourcing Optimization” software and “Intelligent Sourcing Automation” that uses AI to fully automate tactical buying processes.
It competes with Coupa and Jaggaer in terms of all three offering sophisticated e-sourcing software. Keelvar says its key competitive advantage is that it provides intelligent bots to autopilot the sourcing projects, thus making the whole process easier, faster and cheaper.
It also currently manages more than $90 billion in spend annually for enterprises in all major industries. Customers include Siemens, Coca-Cola, Novartis, BMW and Samsung.
With COVID-19 disrupting supply chains globally, Keelvar expects the demand for automation to further increase.
In a statement, Alan Holland, CEO of Keelvar, said: “The Future of Work in procurement is changing quickly, with COVID19 acting as a catalyst. We have witnessed an escalation in demand from enterprises seeking intelligent systems to automate complex processes as teams became overburdened with disrupted supply chains. Keelvar has proven that Sourcing Bots can relieve that burden enormously. Now it’s time to hit the accelerator and scale-up.”
Speaking about the investment, Peter Fallon, partner at Elephant noted: “Keelvar’s sourcing optimization and automation software delivers meaningful ROI to enterprise sourcing and procurement organizations globally. We are excited to partner with Alan Holland and the team at Keelvar as the company continues to emerge as a leader in this market.”
Private sector companies alone spend trillions annually buying from third-party suppliers. External sourcing is usually the largest expense category and on average it is 43% of total costs (Bain & Company). The global procurement software market is currently growing at a CAGR of 9.1%, and expected to reach $7.3 billion by 2022 (IDC).
Speaking about the funding, Toby Coppel, co-founder, and partner at Mosaic Ventures said: “Keelvar is a brilliant example of machine learning in action, giving superpower to procurement teams in every large enterprise. With COVID-19 pushing businesses to embrace these new technologies, we’re excited to partner with Keelvar on the next phase of growth.”