Cork-based Keelvar raises €23m in Series B funding round

Latest move brings total amount to $43m

Cork-based Keelvar has raised $24 million (€23 million) in a Series B funding round that will help the company simplify procurement and further its growth in the US.

The round, which was led by 83North, brings to $43 million the total amount raised by the company.

Investors in its Series A round, which took place in 2020 and raised $18 million, also backed the company again, with Boston based VC Elephant, London-based Mosaic and Berlin VC Paua participating, and Celonis co-founder Bastian Nomichacher joining as a minority investor.

Founded in 2012, Keelvar has developed automation and optimisation software for use in enterprise procurement, using AI-enabled sourcing bots to automate buying processes and help customers make supply chain decisions quickly.

Keelvar’s technology could be a useful weapon for companies seeking to counter disruptions to their supply chains, with Covid-19 among the factors making supply chains more complex in recent years.

A spin-out of University College Cork, the company has seen rapid growth in recent months, with its headcount increasing 200 per cent since the start of 2021, and a rise of 113 per cent in annual recurring revenue last year.

Founder Alan Holland is a former lecturer in AI at UCC's computer science department.

“Procurement is broken. Costs are out of control, capacity is scarce and disruptions are everywhere. This dynamic makes it incredibly difficult for buyers and suppliers to remain agile, manage risk and strike deals,” said Mr Holland, Keelvar’s chief executive.

“We see an immense opportunity to alleviate economic and supply chain bottlenecks by making the sourcing process easier, faster and more intelligent. Our technology fundamentally changes what’s possible by offering a new approach to intelligent automation and optimisation.”

The company plans to use the investment to drive further growth in the US, with increasing demand for intelligent sourcing solutions in the market. It is also planning new solutions for large enterprise and mid-market businesses, with a vision of making sourcing automation frictionless, no-code and available to all. Among its clients are Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Samsung and Tesco.

"Enterprises were blindsided when the pandemic shut down the global supply chain. As issues persist and show no sign of relenting, c-suites are finally recognising that intelligent automation is a must-have," said Philip Chopin, partner at 83North.

“Keelvar’s unique automation and optimisation solutions empower procurement teams by helping them easily define their needs and react faster to market changes. The company’s blue-chip customer list and incredible retention and satisfaction rates are a powerful testament to their technology, team and vision.”