Melio, a B2B payments company helping small businesses digitally manage their supplier payments, has raised $144m to reach more small businesses across the US as they shift to digital solutions to help manage the economic effects of Covid-19.
Small businesses typically use a variety of different tools to manage supplier payments, with almost half of B2B payments carried out with paper checks. Melio’s digital accounts payable and receivable dashboard provides a single, integrated tool that allows small businesses to transfer and receive payments in a faster, easier way, giving oversight and control over cash flow, reducing or eliminating late payment costs, and giving businesses back valuable time.
“At a time when small businesses need the most flexibility, they have the least,” said Matan Bar, Melio Co-Founder and CEO, who previously led Consumer P2P Payments at PayPal. “Our mission is to keep small businesses in business. We do this by allowing small businesses to manage payments remotely, paying when and how they want, giving them more control and helping businesses manage cash flow . Business payments shouldn’t be more complicated than paying a friend with your phone.”
Melio’s fundraising enables it to accelerate growth and reach more customers. It will also support the company’s plans to provide B2B payment capabilities to third parties, mirroring the development the tech industry has seen with B2C payments. Recently, the company partnered with Intuit Quickbooks, one of the leading fintech platforms for small businesses, to power one of its bill pay solutions.
“We are living in unprecedented times. Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, yet they are under intense pressure in the current environment. They require as much flexibility and control over their cash flow as possible to persevere. Melio provides the tools to achieve both and will play a critical role with small businesses and vendors to continually adapt, develop, and persist,” said Ken Chenault, former Chairman and CEO, American Express and now Chairman and Managing Director, General Catalyst.
Small businesses are crucial to the health of the US economy, accounting for 44% of all economic activity and employing roughly half the workforce, but COVID-19 has exacerbated existing pain points for small businesses, including the inability to pay using paper checks and coping with financial volatility. Before launching, Melio set up their own bookkeeping firm in New York to serve small businesses directly – an experience which has informed its understanding of their unique challenges.
Freight forwarding company ‘shifl’ now processes payments faster and saves $7500 a month in payments fees and courier charges: “Melio has made it super easy for shifl to facilitate payments with every shipment that we manage. We are paying many different fees on behalf of our customers for each shipment, but we have been able to expedite our payments 2-3 times than before, and most importantly, we eliminated the costly inefficiencies that were traditionally involved in the industry,” said shifl Founder and CEO Shabsie Levy.
Melio was founded by CEO Matan Bar, CTO Ilan Atias and COO Ziv Paz. It allows businesses to pay their bills for free using a bank transfer or debit cards at melio.com.
Businesses can also use a credit card for a minimal 2.9% tax-deductible fee, even if suppliers don’t accept cards. Suppliers can receive a paper check or bank transfer and don’t need to sign up.
Melio raised $80m in Series C in August 2020, on top of the $48m raised in Series B in March 2020 and the $16m in Seed and Series A, bringing total fundraising to $144m.
B2B payments volumes is estimated be $25tn per year in the US (Mastercard).
The US Chamber of Commerce’s July 2020 Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll found that 45% of US small businesses are not comfortable with their cash flow.
Some 42% of US B2B payments are still carried out with paper checks, according to the Association for Financial Professionals.
Melio is part of the American Express ‘Stand for Small’ initiative, a coalition of more than 40 companies that have come together to provide meaningful support to small businesses as they navigate the impacts of COVID-19.
‘shifl’ is a freight forwarding company. shifl’s customers, mostly importers, can navigate shipments online, track each touchpoint live, and pay for it all with a credit card without any credit card processing fees. A wide range of businesses make use of Melio, including retail, food and beverage services, construction, health services, and many professional services.
Quotes from Investors:
“Melio is firmly on the side of every small business owner in the US,” said Adam Fisher, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners and Melio board member. “By smoothing out the volatility businesses are experiencing during this challenging period, Melio is helping businesses stay in the black and avoid predatory loans.”
“I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I’ve never seen growth like Melio. They understand the needs of small businesses – needs that no-one else is properly addressing. Before launching, Melio set up their own bookkeeping firm in New York to get under the skin of small businesses. It is a substantial market and Melio can be a giant”, said Michael Eisenberg, co-founder and Partner at Aleph and Melio board member.
“Melio sits at the convergence of two powerful trends; the digitisation of both payments and small businesses, both of which have been accelerated by COVID-19. Melio designed a product that is unique in its simplicity and ease of use”, said Philippe Botteri, Partner at Accel and Melio board member.