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Ex Better.com CFO’s AI startup closes $10.8M from Amex, ex PayPal execs/investors

Glean AI
Image credits: Glean AI

Glean AI, an all-in-one spend management solution for small and mid-market companies, announced that it has raised $10.8M in Seed finance round from Contour Venture Partners, AmEx Ventures, Infinity Ventures, B Capital, and Portage. Further, several other prominent venture funds and angel investors also participated. 

How will the funding be used?

The funds will enable Glean to accelerate its growth and industry-leading spend intelligence technology.

“Today we’re excited to share details on Glean AI, the first truly strategic accounts payable (AP) platform that helps companies save money through deep insights and automation,” said Howard Katzenberg, Founder, and CEO of Glean AI. “Since adding our first customer in June 2021, we’ve helped businesses understand, optimize, and uncover savings insights on over $500M in vendor spend by using machine learning that analyzes deal terms, line item data, redundant offerings, and negotiation opportunities. We’re just getting started and excited to partner with our amazing set of investors to accelerate our mission of powering Finance teams to spend intelligently.”  

Poor cash flow management

While the consumer payments space has been disrupted by Paypal and Venmo, the B2B space has remained painfully antiquated, with 80% of invoices still being paid for by paper checks.

According to recent research, 82% of small business failures are due to poor cash flow mismanagement. 

It happens due to the traditional accounts payable solutions which do not provide critical information that can help finance teams monitor and optimise their companies’ spending and better manage cash flow.   

On top of that, a New York-based company adds that an estimated 14% of invoices contain billing errors, and 11% of vendor spend could be reduced with greater scrutiny of invoices and billing relationships. 

This translates into $130B wasted annually, just for small and medium-sized businesses alone.

As software spending proliferates and more expenses are charged to credit cards (that don’t have formal review/approval processes), this problem is likely to worsen.

How does Glean AI solve?

Founded by Howard Katzenberg, Glean AI is an Intelligent AP (Account Payable) platform that combines smart automation with spend intelligence. Prior to Glean AI, Katzenberg served as the CFO at both Better.com and OnDeck.

The company’s solution analyses line-item data and uses algorithms to understand the cost, value, purchasing trends, and opportunities for savings. Further, it also helps companies pay invoices faster and cut out significant manual work. 

As a result, Glean AI’s customers estimate they can save over 10% on their annual vendor spend. 

Goldman Sachs report found the net result of new B2B solutions like Glean AI will be $1.5 trillion in productivity for global small businesses and a $1 trillion revenue opportunity (total addressable market, or TAM) in non-bank payment and software products.

Investor

Contour Venture Partners is a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in the enterprise SaaS, B2B SaaS, and financial services sectors.

“Accounts payable is a $40B market opportunity, yet current leading solutions have not evolved beyond mostly just processing payments. Glean AI is positioned to disrupt this important area by building in the intelligence that saves customers significant time and money while also helping Finance teams to make more strategic and informed decisions. Howard has seen this hole in the market firsthand as CFO of multiple companies. As a result, the Glean AI team is building precisely what finance teams need, which has driven early success and adoption,” added Matt Gorin, Managing Partner, and Co-Founder, Contour Venture Partners.

“One of the largest pain points for the businesses we work with is that there hasn’t been a way to understand and control spending that happens outside of expense cards. We invested in Glean because they make it easy for businesses to dig into their invoiced spend and uncover potentially wasteful spend in a way that has not been possible before,” said Margaret Lim, Managing Director, American Express Ventures. 

“Adopting Glean was a game-changer for us,” said Elisa Rodriguez, Sr. Manager of FP&A for Orum, a current Glean customer. “Right off the bat, we were able to identify opportunities for savings without spending hours in spreadsheets crunching numbers. Our entire leadership team was blown away by the impact. We have caught several billing issues that would not have been uncovered but for Glean.” 

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