At Investible, it’s not everyday that we come across a company building a product that has an instant application to the way we manage our own operations. However, the tangible value Cape could offer us, and thousands of other businesses—by streamlining expense and cashflow management processes—caught our attention immediately.
We are pleased to partner with Cape, and founder & CEO Ryan Edwards-Pritchard in its just-announced $3.1m pre-seed funding round. Participating in this raise is a strong investment collective including Mercury Capital’s principal partners Clark Perkins and Ben Hawter, Scalare Partners, LegalVision founder Lachlan McKnight and a group of angels including Stripe’s Tom Richardson.
Cape is a software company developing a next generation expense management platform that issues corporate cards designed to save businesses from wasteful purchasing and unnecessary time taken up on financial administration work. Among other key features, the platform aims to provide higher card limits, seamless accounting integration, instantaneous receipt matching and more.
Cape enables finance teams to stay in full control with configurable payment guardrails that are customised to a company’s expense policy. Ensuring employees are empowered with access to funds whilst every cent on every card is taken care of.
For employees, this reduces the back and forth of expense claims and means they won’t need to provide cash flow for their employer, which is a more common problem than you may think. Our backing of Cape and their vision is anchored in three key areas.
A fintech dream team
The founder and CEO, Ryan Edwards-Pritchard, as well as the core team, have proven their ability to envision and deliver open banking driven technology platforms. Ryan previously spearheaded growth, commercialisation and internationalisation for Funding Options, Europe’s largest digital marketplace for SME finance. Seeing the opportunity in APAC for a product like Cape, Ryan, alike a number of British fintech entrepreneurs, departed corporate life in the UK and moved to Australia in 2020 trading in his snowboard for a surfboard. In-between being head down on Cape, Ryan can be spotted jagging a few waves on Manly beach.
The broader team has a strong complimentary composition, with backgrounds spanning finance, risk, regulations, technology & product marketing, building award winning fintech’s and neobanks. This includes COO/CFO Tanya Ward (Former Executive at Pepper Money & Director at Westpac), CTO Julian Guppy (Former CTO of Capital On Tap), CRO Rahul Pakrashi (Former CRO at MarketFinance & Funding Circle), Chief Product & Marketing Officer Andrew Fanner (Former Marketing & Product Exec at leading UK challenger bank for small businesses Cashplus) and Creative Director John Penney.
Just last week, Cape announced the hiring of Lauren Crawford as the Head of Growth and Matthew Rowan as Customer Operations Manager, both experienced operators most recently with the global SaaS platform, Dext.
Made For Purpose
The Cape team are laser focused on creating a fully automated, end-to-end spend management platform, positioned at the nexus between cloud accounting & expense management software, and corporate card & business current accounts. The product is designed for the processes and functions of SMBs using the platform, with the intention to enable fast, real-time and informed expense management decision-making.
While currently in closed beta, prior to a hard launch in H2 CY2022, material resources and infrastructure requirements needed to bring a holistic card program as a Mastercard Principal Member to market have been achieved. The Cape team have adopted the opposite of a ‘stealth mode’ approach, posting frequently about their triumphs and failures on their journey to market. This includes the 10 attempts it took for the first successful transaction to be processed on a Cape card.
Blue sky in APAC
The open competitive landscape within APAC, paired with the high rates of spending by Australian small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), and natural adoption of debt products demonstrated the clear market potential for Cape. Digital expense management has not seen mass-adoption in the Australian or New Zealand market with businesses mostly relying upon traditional card distribution and receipt capturing, employee expense then rebate, or other non-productised, laborious, processes.
The strategy to address the market in APAC is substantiated by the success of international peers who have successfully disrupted the corporate card and spend management space – Ramp (now valued at $8.1bn) and Brex in the US, as well as Pleo and Spendesk in Europe are the standouts. The Cape team is intent on capturing it’s share of Australia’s +2 million SMEs, that account for B2B spend per annum of A$66 billion, while in parallel expanding from Australia to NZ and broader Southeast Asia.
The enormity of the task ahead is not lost on the Cape team, but if there’s a group to do it, we believe it’s them. We are confident that the product sophistication, the calibre of the leadership growing team (they’re hiring!), and the sparse competitive landscape in APAC is a winning combination.