Insight Partners leads $34M round in Singapore-based fintech Spenmo

Spenmo originated as an expense management platform before realizing that expenses “are just a tiny sliver” of a company’s payables, founder and CEO Mohandass Kalaichelvan told TechCrunch. Financial teams also need to manage vendor payments, supplier payments, payroll and reconcile bank accounts, often in different countries, resulting in an overwhelming amount of work. Spenmo was created to centralize SMBs’ accounts payable workflows. The Singapore-based company announced today it has raised a $34 million Series A led by Insight Partners, the New York-based investment firm known for its ScaleUp program.

Spenmo says this is one of the largest Series A rounds ever raised by a Singaporean startup. It included participation from Lee Fixel’s investment firm Addition, Salesforce Ventures, Alpha JWC, Global Founders’ Capital, Broadhaven, Operator Partners and Commerce Ventures, along with angels like Plaid co-founder William Hockey, Grab Financial Group senior managing director Reuben Lai and head of Stripe Indonesia Ongki Kurniawan.

A Y Combinator alum, Spenmo was launched last year and has now raised a total of $36 million.

“We stopped branding ourselves as expense management and focused on building a payables experience because we want to be at the heart of everything a company pays out,” Kalaichelvan told TechCrunch. “Right now companies don’t have that one source of truth. They use a tool for expense management, which is a silo, something else for vendor payments, something else for payroll and all these bank accounts they have to manage. We quickly realized that gave us an opportunity to bring all of these things into one place and reduce the silos that teams have to manage.”

Since one of Spenmo’s products is corporate cards, it is often compared to Brex or Aspire. But Kalaichelvan said the company has no desire to build a neobank. Instead, its aim is to help businesses manage the bank accounts they already have. Spenmo also doesn’t want to replace accounting software and, in fact, it integrates with solutions like Xero and QuickBooks.

About 80% of Spenmo’s customers perform cross-border payments and have multiple bank accounts across Southeast Asia. If a company has 500 invoices and bank accounts in Singapore and Indonesia, Spenmo helps its finance team manage which ones to send payments from.

“One thing we found about Southeast Asia is that cross-border is super important. Your workforce is remote, so very early on you have to send salaries abroad,” said Kalaichelvan. “Secondly, your supply chain is international as well, so there’s a lot of cross-border trades and services you want to account for.” Spenmo can integrate with FX wallets in addition to bank accounts, so its clients can find the best rates.

Along with Singapore, Spenmo is also currently focused on Vietnam and Indonesia because both of those countries have growing numbers of small- to medium-sized businesses, and a lot of payment gateways, making managing payables even more complicated.

Spenmo’s clients typically process about 500 to 9,000 payables a month. “That space is good for us because we don’t want to be anchored around things like the total dollar amount of payables,” Kalaichelvan said. “If it’s just one invoice for a million dollars, someone can do that on their own. But if the million dollars is 1,000 different freelancer payments and they need to manually extract all that data to schedule payments, Spenmo will be immensely useful for them.”

Insight Partners principal Rebecca Liu-Doyle, who is joining Spenmo’s board, said in a statement that the firm is “thrilled to partner with Spenmo as the company builds its category-leading finance workflow software. Corporate spend management and payments remain ripe for disruption, especially in the Southeast Asian market.”