Finance

Corporate card startup Ramp just made its first-ever acquisition, and its CEO is on the hunt for more deals in B2B payments and travel tech

  • Ramp, the corporate card startup, just raised $300 million at a $3.9 billion valuation.
  • Investors included Founders Fund, which led the round, Stripe, D1 Capital Partners, and Coatue.
  • Ramp also acquired Buyer, its first acquisition since launching in February 2020.

Fundraising has never been an issue for corporate-card startup Ramp. It’s previously raised three rounds since launching in February 2020.

On Tuesday the fintech announced yet another round — $300 million Series C at a $3.9 billion valuation. But that wasn’t the only news. The fintech is also ready to put its cash to work, announcing its first-ever acquisition: negotiation-as-a-service startup Buyer.

Ramp is one of New York’s fastest growing startups, attaining unicorn status in April this year. It’s raised $620 million to-date, with $470 million in equity and the rest in debt financing. It counts over 2,000 businesses as customers, including Better, DoNotPay, and Douglas Elliman.

The startup’s latest round includes involvement from several high-profile investors.

Founders Fund, which led Ramp’s seed and Series A rounds, took point on the Series C. Redpoint Ventures, D1 Capital Partners, Coatue, and Stripe (which co-led Ramp’s Series B) also participated in the round, among several others.

Ramp is expanding beyond its corporate-card roots

A big part of Ramp’s pitch is its ability to help companies save money, and software has become a major cost for businesses.

That led to its acquisition of Buyer, a negotiation-as-a-service startup based in Canada that helps customers get lower rates from software providers.

Buyer’s service helps companies navigate the increasingly opaque software-as-a-service market, Ramp co-founder and CEO Eric Glyman told Insider.

“Five or 10 years ago, people would have their prices clearly marked, and that’s just been done away with,” Glyman said. “I think customers are frustrated.”

Buyer embeds within companies’ procurement teams. It estimates it can save customers’ 27% on SaaS contracts, on average. Buyer uses several negotiation techniques to get lower rates on software contracts. It’s strategic with timing, for example, negotiating contracts around month- or quarter-end, when sales teams on the other side are more eager to close deals.

It also uses data from its customer base as leverage, a method that grows more powerful the more customers Buyer has.

Buyer’s team of about 10 people joined Ramp’s product organization earlier in the summer when the deal closed.

Though more M&A is likely, Ramp is still building

Ramp will continue to look out for M&A opportunities, Glyman said, especially in areas like B2B payments, accounting automation, and travel.

Specifically, Ramp is looking to add features like travel expense management and procurement, areas that smaller companies that use Ramp typically don’t have staffing for.

But Ramp is also building out its own products with the fresh funding, including a new bill payment feature meant to replace services like Bill.com. It’s all an effort to automate the accounting process, a time-consuming and costly part of running a business.

It’s a similar path to rival Brex, which raised four times from June 2018 to June 2019. Brex raised its Series D in April at a $7.4 billion valuation.

Hiring, too, is a focus for Ramp. It more than doubled its headcount since the start of the year, from 65 to 150 employees. It’s one of many NYC-based fintechs eyeing Wall Street as a talent pool. Ramp has hired several execs from financial firms like Goldman Sachs, as well as tech giants Stripe and Uber.

And the speed of its fundraising efforts has helped Ramp’s recruiting efforts, Glyman said.

“There are a lot fewer companies that get to a valuation level like this,” Glyman said. “So for certain executive hires, it sends a strong signal and opens up a new pool.”

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