Finnish fintech startup Zervant, which provides online invoicing software for small business and entrepreneurs across Europe, has raised €6 million in funding. The round was led by Tesi, with participation from Northzone, NFT Ventures, and Conor Venture Partners.
Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Espoo, Finland, Zervant offers simple invoicing software targeting micro enterprises in Europe, typically companies with less than 10 employees. The idea is to wean them off creating invoices manually using Word or Excel, which can be quite time consuming (depending on volume) and certainly error prone.
However, more interestingly, the startup is making a big bet on electronic invoicing to coincide with upcoming European Union (EU) leglisation. The EU has issued a mandate on electronic invoicing, which comes into force this year in bid to make e-invoices — that is, invoices delivered in a standard electronic format — the dominant form of invoicing by 2020.
Having offered an e-invoicing feature to its Finland customers over the last five years, Zervant reckons it is well-positioned and says that users will be able to send electronic invoices at the click of a button, “thus ensuring they adhere to all future legal requirements”.
“We help entrepreneurs get paid (in the most favourable way) for their work by offering them great invoicing software that also is compliant with the the upcoming e-invoicing standards in EU,” co-founder and CEO Mattias Hansson tells me. “There will be a massive shift towards electronic invoicing in the next 2-3 years and we are well positioned for that”.
In addition, Hanssons hints at new products related to invoicing being launched by Zervant, including a form of invoice financing. “[A] significant group of micro enterprises are suffering from invoice payments times of several months, they suffer from a lack of working capital. We aim to bring complementary services as part of our invoicing software that will speed up the cash flow for our customers,” he says.
To that end, Zervant says it software is used by 20,000 business customers across seven countries, with 85 percent of current growth coming from France, Germany and the U.K.
The startup operates a freemium model where the basic software is free but users can choose to pay for a subscription with premium invoice delivery (delivering paper and/or electronic invoices) as well as premium support. “We might add more premium services in the future to widen our revenue portfolio,” adds the Zervant CEO.