Chargebee raises $55 million to help businesses move to subscriptions

Chargebee, which helps businesses set up and manage their billing, subscription, revenue operations and compliance, said on Tuesday it has raised $55 million in a new financing round as it looks to accelerate its expansion in global markets.

The new financing round, a Series F, for the San Francisco and Chennai-based firm, was led by Insight Partners, with existing investors Steadview Capital and Tiger Global participating. The nine-year-old startup, which kickstarted its journey in India, has raised $105 million to date.

For businesses, setting up and managing a subscription service is a complex process. How do you manage the billing when your customers are on a free trial or want to change their subscription plan, for instance? This is where Chargebee comes into the picture.

Chargebee allows individuals, small businesses and enterprises to automate subscriptions, billing, invoicing, payments and revenue recognition processes. It supports dozens of popular payment gateways, including Stripe, Braintree, WorldPay and PayPal, and its global tax management coverage also helps businesses to expand to new markets. MakeSpace, an on-demand storage company, used Chargebee’s services to scale from four markets to 31 in one year, for instance.

The startup offers its services through a range of pricing schemes, including those that vary based on usage, and it is able to renew billing cycles based on sign-up dates or other specific parameters. It also can selectively route payments and currencies to predefined rules. On the back end, Chargebee customers get a visual organizational chart of their customers and can easily define payment and invoicing responsibilities.

The startup told TechCrunch that businesses across the globe are moving to adopt a subscription model, which has made its platform more crucial than ever. More than 2,500 businesses, including Freshworks, Calendly, Linux Academy, Fujitsu, Okta, and Envoy are clients of Chargebee. (The startup had about 1,800 clients last year.)

Additionally, several businesses and individuals have signed up to the platform in recent months as they navigate the global pandemic. Some of these customers include individuals like teachers and small coffee chains. Pret a Manger, a coffee and sandwich super chain, went live with Chargebee after its physical stores were hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

AJ Malhotra, vice president at Insight Partners, said there’s a global movement underway where businesses from cars to coffee pods are launching and scaling with a subscription-first model.

The adoption of a subscription model has become popular in recent years as businesses from a range of categories, including e-commerce and media, look to better monetize their services.

“We believe that a steady SaaS-i-fication of the market is already underway, with traditional businesses replicating the best practices of SaaS pricing and business models even outside the realm of software. Subscription businesses today have to be ready at all times to identify and leverage market opportunities rapidly,” said Krish Subramanian, co-founder and CEO of Chargebee, in a statement.

What’s more, the startup provides its subscription invoicing service to customers at no charge until they reach $50,000 in revenue — something it plans to broaden in coming days. Chargebee says it processes more than $3 billion in revenue each year.

Chargebee, which also has offices in Amsterdam, Salt Lake City and Sydney, and customers in more than 160 countries, plans to use the fresh capital to further grow its footprint in international markets, an executive told TechCrunch.