topi raises $4.5m to introduce innovative B2B payment solutions as business trade shifts online
Index Ventures and Creandum co-lead the pre-seed round of the Berlin-based company founded by former employees of Apple and Goldman Sachs
Berlin, 14 December 2021 – topi has raised a $4.5 million pre-seed round co-led by Index Ventures and Creandum. Founded by Estelle Merle and Charlotte Pallua, the company aims to become a global enabler of fast and frictionless payments for business-to-business trade. Prominent angel investors that joined the round include Dominik Richter (Founder of HelloFresh), Max Tayenthal (Founder of mobile bank N26), Thijn Lamers (Founding Team Adyen), and Fabian Wesemann (Founder and CFO WeFox).
“topi has the potential to become the connective tissue that facilitates B2B payments worldwide,” says Jan Hammer, the General Partner at Index who led the investment and has backed companies like Robinhood, Adyen, and Wise. “B2B payments is the unsexy cousin of consumer payments – yet the opportunity is much bigger. The size of the market, the calibre of the topi team and the creative, unique solution they’ve come up with make this a hugely exciting investment for us.”
The market for business-to-business payments solutions stands at $120 trillion, and will be five times the size of the consumer payments market by 2028. Yet while consumers can now choose between a multitude of payment options, most payments for commercial trade remain manual and fragmented. “Companies make purchasing decisions almost on a daily basis. Yet there are no fully digital end-to-end processes in B2B sales and no customer-friendly financing offers. The result for many companies, especially SMEs, are suboptimal purchasing decisions, inefficient use of capital or lengthy bureaucratic processes,” says Charlotte Pallua, co-founder of topi. “Our company aims to provide business customers with the opportunity to use our technology and financing solutions to change just that.”
topi’s team brings an unusual mix of skills, expertise and ambition. The two co-founders met during their MBA at the Harvard Business School in Boston. Charlotte Pallua then went on to work for Apple in California, where she experienced the market need first hand. She led a global team working on financing programs, enabling customers to access Apple devices through different financing solutions. Estelle Merle spent four years at Goldman Sachs in London structuring financing and hedging strategies for corporate clients. Most recently she was in charge of European expansion of Via Transportation, a B2B SaaS mobility software company valued at over $3 billion. The founders are joined by CTO, Ernesto Jiménez, who led a 100-people engineering team at GoCardless and strong team members from Apple, Salesforce, McKinsey, Via, and Mozilla.
“To date, B2B payments is a largely underserved space, lacking innovation and a customer centric product vision. topi is enabling any business to optimise expenditures. We see topi’s solution to be relevant for almost any business out there. Their approach is completely unique and hugely promising.” says Simon Schmincke, General Partner at Creandum, who led the transaction for the fund and has previously backed companies like Klarna, N26, Trade Republic, and Taxfix.
“We see a clear shift towards the consumerization of enterprise and a great opportunity in providing digital solutions to SMEs. We want to bring our financing solutions to the B2B sales processes, to offer new payment options and thereby contribute our part to allow B2B trade to shift online and allow companies to drive customer retention.” Estelle Merle, co-founder of topi, commented. “We are very excited to embark on this new journey together with our team and want to build a fair and transparent fintech, where integrity, diversity, and a customer-first attitude are the core of our values.”
topi is a financial technology venture providing new payment solutions for the B2B market. The company was co-founded by Estelle Merle and Charlotte Pallua in 2021, headquartered in Berlin. topi is funded by Index Ventures and Creandum, as well as founders and early employees of N26, Adyen, Stripe, Sennder, Wefox, HelloFresh, Cloudflare, Personio, and Foodora, among others.