There are a lot of smiles at the Tradeshift offices this morning. And not just our offices in San Francisco – but our offices in Copenhagen, London, Suzhou and pretty soon…Tokyo. Today, with great pleasure, I announce Tradeshift is taking one giant step forward toward expanding our global footprint and our mission of connecting every business on the planet. We have formed a strategic partnership, and closed $75 million in growth funding with Singapore’s Scentan Ventures. It’s an announcement we’ve been very excited to make. In fact, going into the last weeks of finalizing the deal I vowed not to shave my beard until all was said and done. Perhaps the smiles in the office are due to the much needed clean shave I’m sporting today.
I’ve made several visits to Asia over the past year and it has been an incredible experience. One of great learning. What drives the markets and drives business is very different from one country to another. It didn’t take me long to understand why some companies, some very large, well-known companies for that matter, have tried and failed to establish themselves in the region. See, you cannot simply cut & paste a successful American business model and place it in another country. There is so much more to it than that. You have to understand the individual needs of each market, those participating in it and what they are looking to achieve.
With the time I’ve spent in both China and Japan I’ve learned these countries in particular are hungry for innovation and new ways to approach traditional business. What they are looking for is a better, new way to connect and support the supplier ecosystem. During one of my first visits to Dalian, China I was so impressed by the questions asked by journalists. They quickly understood the Tradeshift vision and the potential for applications development to support any number of business processes. And that is exactly what our product development teams will be focusing on in Suzhou and Tokyo – building applications that support these localized markets.
China is the largest global exporter in the world. The needs and struggles of small businesses trying to partner with larger domestic and international customers is deeply understood. In Japan, we find a thriving economy, the third largest in the world. Still, many feel now is the time to introduce new approaches to business traditions that have seen little change for decades. The Tradeshift platform is now positioned to help Asia achieve it’s goals.
It is in the DNA of our company to do things organically and on a global scale, from developing software to developing our business – In 2013 we established offices in Suzhou, China to build supplier centric applications for the platform.
We spent a lot of time determining who the best partner would be to move Tradeshift to the next level, not just with regard to our funding, but also our global expansion strategy. Scentan Ventures has a clear understanding of our vision, and is aligned with our ambition to connect every business on the planet on one shared, open platform. Couple this with Japan’s appetite for change and innovation, and their ranking as the world’s third largest economy, and the decision was made easy. We are excited to have Scentan Ventures by our side as we enter this next exciting chapter.