What happened in the Procurement Tech sector in 2019?

This article summarises the high profile job moves of the year, along with mergers and acquisitions and key developments in the sector. 

The following section is taken from our most recent Procurement and Spend Management Report, the Autumn 2019 edition.

The last few months have seen some significant moves in the UK spend management market, particularly in sales leadership. It’s been all change at Basware where Country Manager Louis Fernandes left the business in the summer whilst Stephen Cleminson, their UK Alliances Director, also moved on, joining Ivalua in a similar role covering the UK and Nordics.

In early October news emerged that Basware had appointed Justin Sadler-Smith, previously of IBM Emptoris and most recently UK Sales Director at SAP Ariba, as their new Country Manager. SAP moved swiftly to cover Justin with the internal appointment of Fieldglass UK Sales Director Stephan Beeusaert to cover both Ariba and Fieldglass, which is consistent with their plan to integrate the two businesses alongside Concur into the “Intelligent Spend Group” as announced at Ariba Live in Barcelona back in June.

Outside of the UK, Basware has also lost two respected senior leaders in their overseas businesses with US General Manager Eric Wilson joining GEP in July and Senior VP Ilari Nurmi leaving their European team, and the sector in general, when he joined DevOps business Eficode in August as CEO.

The other big news in the UK is that Ivalua recruited former Tradeshift Sales Director Ian Thompson to lead the growth of their business across the UK and Nordics. They’ve also added Stephen Carter, formerly of Basware.

Jaggaer made a key appointment to lead their eInvoicing compliance capability across Europe when they hired Ken Clarke from Open Text. They now appear to have fully integrated their acquisition of BravoSolutions (first announced in November 2017) into the business judging by their recent activity in Europe.

Simon Thompson, a respected member of the sales team at Ivalua and previously Proactis, has joined SAP Ariba in another move which, as those previously mentioned demonstrate, the software vendors almost always favour hiring people from competitors in the sector who understand how to articulate the value proposition to procurement and finance leaders. More on that later as we look at the key areas of demand in the market.

On the corporate front, Coupa’s impressive growth continued as they announced record quarterly revenues of $95.1 million, up 54% year-over-year.

Rob Bernshteyn, chairman and chief executive officer at Coupa told investors: “These results demonstrate our continued momentum in delivering measurable and repeatable value to our customers. By extending our leadership standing in Business Spend Management (BSM), we feel well-positioned on our path to $1 billion in revenue.”

However, Ivalua can claim to be the fastest-growing privately held company in the market following its move to “unicorn” status (defined as start-ups reaching $1 billion in valuation) after it attracted $60m in funding from a new PE investor in May.

The majority shareholding still sits with the management and founder/CEO David Khuat-Duy, who was quoted at the time of the investment as follows: “This additional capital will allow us to deliver ever more value to our customers and secure future growth.” He also said the investment will fuel product innovation, global business growth and, possibly, strategic acquisitions.

Back to Jaggaer. In mid-October the always excellent Spend Matters reported the appointment of a new CEO as follows: “Jaggaer today announced that it has a new CEO, effective immediately and that it created the new position of chief operations officer. Jim Bureau becomes the CEO after being Jaggaer’s executive vice president. The new COO for the North Carolina-based spend management software provider will be Vic Chynoweth, the current CFO, Jaggaer said.”

Bureau will succeed Robert Bonavito as chief executive. Bonavito will be available as an adviser to the board, Chairman Euan Menzies said in a press release. Menzies said Bureau was vital to Jaggaer’s sales and marketing efforts, as well as “formulating a company culture that supports our current and future goals.”

“During the next several months, Jim, Vic and I will be working together with the rest of the leadership team, to redefine our vision and strategy to capitalize on the exciting opportunities ahead,” Menzies said.

Elsewhere AI-based finance solution provider AppZen, now a regular presence at Procurement (and Shared Services) events like eWorld and SAP Ariba Live, announced $50 million of PE funding from investors who were “impressed by their ability to analyze 100% of spend and its use of artificial intelligence.” We expect to see more of them in the UK market in 2020. 

Back in May this year, we reported the following developments in our Spring 2019 edition of the Insider report.

Coupa continued their growth by acquisition in October last year when they bought Aquiire, who are described as ‘the Leader in Real-Time Supplier Catalog Search’. This was followed up recently when they announced their intention to acquire contract lifecycle management (CLM) leader Exari in mid-April.

With 14 acquisitions in total now, it will be interesting to see how Coupa integrates all this different technology into a unified platform.

The other big news from the past few months was that the proposed acquisition of Basware by Tradeshift, which first came to light in November 2018, was officially terminated at the end of February with this announcement: “Tradeshift has recently informed Basware that it will be unable to proceed given conditions in the capital markets.”

Despite the negotiation of a ‘standstill agreement’ between the two companies until November 2019, several people have speculated to us that they think this deal could still be revived. For now, both parties will press ahead with their growth plans independently.

The other notable deal in the sector, which was also announced in February, was the acquisition of Determine (formally Iasta, B-pack etc.) by procurement and financial process automation solutions provider, Corcentric.

Following some disappointing results last year, Determine was widely known to be ‘in play’ with speculation across the market focusing on who would buy the business rather than whether they would be bought. With a relatively small presence in Europe, it will be interesting to see what their plans are for growth in the region.

There are more details and analysis on all these deals from the excellent Spend Matters website.

Here’s another summary of what happened earlier in the year from our Spring 2019 report.

In terms of high profile moves, these have been relatively few and far between in the last couple of quarters. Dean Pathak, formerly of SAP Ariba, has joined fast-growing finance automation business Rimilia as Chief Revenue Officer joining CEO and former SAP Head of Cloud, Kevin Kimber.

Ragnar Lorentzen, formerly of the Procurement Leaders organisation, has joined supplier master data specialist HICX Solutions.

Lance Younger, high profile former Partner of Deloitte’s digital procurement practice left in January to join Inverto, a subsidiary of The Boston Consulting Group.

Dan Quinn, formerly the leader of the Bravo Solutions Emirates business Tejari, left the company following the Jaggaer acquisition last year. He has recently joined Tradeshift to lead their business in the region.

Another former senior leader of BravoSolutions is Hannele Palge-Rossi who recently joined Risk Methods as their Nordic Region Executive. Hannele was previously leader of BravoSolutions’ Nordics operation. Now Jaggaer, of course, moved to strengthen their local team by appointing Hannu Tikkanen, formerly of Basware in Finland, as their Nordics Sales Director.

At the middle management and experienced SMEs level, several key players continue to be active in the hiring market, particularly SAP Ariba building on their growth with more recruitment into sales, delivery and implementation teams across EMEA. Ivalua remain active in the UK in particular, as were Tradeshift in the latter part of 2018.

Smaller best of breed organisations are typically seeking to strengthen their sales capability but competition for proven performers with knowledge of technology value propositions for procurement is intense with several attractive roles open in the sector at the time of writing. 



Edbury Daley launches new recruitment research

Specialist spend management recruitment consultancy Edbury Daley has launched some new research into why companies are finding it difficult to attract the talent they need in the procurement technology world, a market which has some acute skills shortages.

Our whole message to the market is built around being able to solve this specific problem for our clients in the procurement technology world. It’s also a subject that is clearly a problem for many organisations.

So with your help, we want to research the subject in more detail to help everyone better understand the issues.

Please take no more than two minutes to answer our questions and be in with the chance to win a £200 Amazon voucher.

Here’s a link to the survey