Toronto-based data startup Tealbook has raised $18.2 million CAD ($14.4 million USD) in Series A financing as it looks to capitalize on pandemic-induced supply chain disruption.
The round was led by RTP Global. New investors include Reciprocal Ventures and S&P Global, while follow-on investors include BDC Capital, Grand Ventures, Refinery Ventures, Stand Up Ventures, and Workday Ventures.
“Everyone right now in procurement is looking for solutions to digitizing their function.” – Stephany Lapierre, founder of Tealbook
The Series A also involved debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank, and brings Tealbook’s total funding raised to date to approximately $30 million CAD ($22 million USD).
Tealbook’s procurement intelligence platform aims to improve supply chain data with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), giving buyers access to increased supplier information to help them make more informed decisions.
The startup, which has experienced significant growth in demand for its data products due to COVID-19, plans to use the new capital to invest in product development, data engineering, marketing and sales.
In an interview with BetaKit, Stephany Lapierre, Tealbook’s founder and CEO, said COVID-19 “disrupted” the procurement ecosystem and highlighted the need for quality supplier data. When the pandemic hit, buyers that were negatively impacted struggled to control or reduce their spending, while buyers that were positively impacted sought to ensure a steady supply from a strained supply chain.
“When COVID-19 happened, our team came up with the idea to provide supplier lists for any organization that was disrupted by COVID, because we have data on millions of companies, and we have a very powerful way to understand trends and similarities,” Lapierre, told BetaKit.
During the first few weeks of the pandemic, she said, 170 organizations sought Tealbook’s help, including Brooks Brothers, which was looking to source raw materials to make N-95 masks, and the Government of the United Kingdom, which wanted to identify ISO-certified personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturers located outside of China.
“I think this acceleration really fueled our growth and generated a lot of interest with investors,” said Lapierre.
In January 2020, Tealbook raised a $6.53 million CAD seed extension funding round. Following the company’s acceleration due to COVID-19, Tealbook decided to raise a Series A round two quarters ahead of schedule.
“We saw the opportunity,” said Lapierre. “We were ahead, we had best-in-class technology, we started building machine learning … four years ago, before procurement could even spell machine learning.”
Founded in 2015, Tealbook has two main cloud-based products: its supplier data foundation, which integrates with companies’ existing procurement software and technology stack, and its supplier data intelligence platform, which allows users to evaluate a global network of suppliers.
According to Lapierre, “Once an organization reaches thousands to hundreds of thousands of suppliers, data quickly becomes disparate across systems and people. That siloed data can lead to significant negative and costly consequences for businesses.”
Enter Tealbook, which the CEO claims can “unify and synchronize” supplier data “like never before.”
“There’s no shortage of companies seeking to accelerate digital transformation efforts,” said Julius Schwerin, partner at RTP Global. “However, enterprises with vast and siloed supplier networks are dealing with the increasingly daunting task of accessing accurate and comprehensive supplier information to drive growth and innovation. And the reality is that the best software in the world is effectively useless without good data.”
Initially, Lapierre said, most businesses were focused on staying afloat amid COVID-19 and the associated supply chain disruption it caused.
“Now that we’ve survived, let’s look at what we need to do so that it doesn’t happen again,” said Lapierre. “Everyone right now in procurement is looking for solutions to digitizing their function.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified Tealbook’s aim to improve supply chain operations by helping procurement professionals make data-driven decisions, increase their reach, and reduce the administrative burden on suppliers. The startup claims its AI and machine learning-based extractor has catalogued data from over 400 million websites and aggregated it on its platform.
The startup also boasts integrations with partner procurement software providers like Ivalua, Jaggaer, Beroe, and Noosh.
“Having companies like Ivalua and Jaggaer making themselves more competitive and being able to add value to their customers by having a partnership with us is a great validation of the story,” said Lapierre. “If software could solve for this, they wouldn’t be looking for a data platform to be able to enrich their software.”
“2021 will be about scaling,” said Lapierre. “We’ve learned so much, and now it’s about applying those learnings and pressing on the gas and building the operations to support it.”
The company, which employed 15 people when it closed its seed extension, now has 45 employees. Lapierre said Tealbook has already hired 12 data engineers since it closed the Series A in late December, and plans to hire 39 more people by the end of the year.
Image courtesy of Tealbook