London and Lisboa-based trade collaboration platform Nook (not to be confused with the e-reader of the same name) has raised $1.1 million in a pre-seed round. The startup now joins Mondu, TIS, Briqpay, and Hokodo in the B2B payments sector, and seeks to help further digitise the outdated process of PDF invoices, emails, and often error-prone manual data entry. The startup plans to use the funding to expand the product and engineering teams, and begin to target SMEs and accountants with sales and marketing activities.
While the B2C sector has advanced by leaps and bounds in as many years, the B2B sector, well … yeah, email and PDFs it is. And while the expression, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” certainly comes to mind, co-founder Henry Arnold has witnessed firsthand just how broken the system has become.
After consulting for a business that had fallen victim to invoice fraud, Henry and co-founder Joe Lines got to thinking about the entire B2B process and just how and why incidents like this happen.
“We realised that the majority of B2B payments rely on a PDF invoice and email, which is insecure and costly. Our vision is to create a trade network that ultimately replaces the need for businesses to exchange PDF documents,” comments Lines.
Nook already integrates with Xero, Quickbooks, and Sage, automatically extracts invoices and provides integrated approval and payment, and links seamlessly with business’ existing bank accounts. While Nook can extract invoice data from PDFs, the company’s bigger plan is to create a network of Nook customers, thereby unlocking the platform’s full potential, i.e. sharing invoices and orders directly. It’s this direct connection that helps drive faster payments, debt chasing, and enforcement of payment terms.
“Today, over 50% of UK SMEs have already adopted cloud accounting solutions. It’s time that we have a secure and effortless approach for those solutions to talk to each other,” says Lines.
Nook’s pre-seed round was led by Speedinvest and TriplePoint, and saw participation from Ascension, Notion, and angel investors including fintech founders, Michael Kent, Charlie Delingpole, and Emre Baran.
“Business payments haven’t kept pace with the way the world works today, making them needlessly cumbersome and time-consuming,” says Olga Shikhantsova, Principal with the Speedinvest Fintech investment team. “The team at Nook have created an elegant solution to the problem, and we’re looking forward to supporting them as they bring it into the world.”