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Fintech Ramp acquires another AI-powered startup

Spend management startup Ramp has acquired AI-powered startup Venue as it expands its procurement offering.

Venue was founded in 2022 by TK Kong, Young Kim, and Kevin Chan, and its aim was to “simplify how businesses review, approve, and manage the cost of vendors in use across their company.”

The startup raised $1.2 million in funding from investors such as Sequoia Capital, Exponent Founders Capital and Basecase Capital. Ramp actually acquired the company last August but only announced it today. Kong was tapped to serve as Ramp's head of procurement after the buy.

"We waited to announce the close of the acquisition until today’s meaningful set of procurement and vendor management launches because we wanted customers to be able to experience the value of the team’s hard work on the same day they read about the news," Ramp CEO and co-founder Eric Glyman told TechCrunch via email.

The procurement team has over a dozen people including Venue’s three co-founders, Glyman said.

The acquisition makes sense considering that last summer, Ramp announced that it was entering the procurement space as it focused more on “complex” enterprises. Plus, it believes that back-end business processes like procurement are “ripe for practical automation and AI implementations.”

"Our plans are to grow this segment and serve more businesses with simple software that transforms a clunky, slow, and painful process into an efficient and organized one," Glyman said. "This way, we’re enabling customers to put money movement at the center of their decision-making and helping them build stronger, more sustainable businesses for the long-term."

Today, Ramp claims to power over $10 billion in accounts payable spend each year, a 10x increase in just over two years, execs say. Its self-proclaimed goal is to become “a one-stop-shop for all financial operations.”

"Eliminating the inefficiencies across the entire financial tech stack is a prime use case for AI to handle the busy work of work," the company said. "The product updates announced today go to show how AI and automation will upend back-end business processes and make it easier and more frictionless to operate and work at a modern business."

In the past few years, Ramp has been on what might look like a buying spree. In August of 2021, Ramp purchased Buyer, a “negotiation-as-a-service” platform that claimed to save its clients money on big-ticket purchases such as annual software contracts. Then last year, Ramp acquired Cohere.io, a startup that built an AI-powered customer support tool.

Glyman said the integration with Cohere was move "ahead of expectations." The Cohere and Applied AI team at Ramp already launched products under Ramp Intelligence, Ramp’s Teams Integration and a dozen internal use cases that have made customer experience, account management, and sales teams meaningfully more productive.

"One such feature launched today that we’re particularly excited about is called Seat Intelligence, which tracks actual software usage — against the number of seats businesses are getting billed for — to ensure businesses are getting their money’s worth from SaaS contracts," Glyman said. "It’s been very well received from test and design partners that we’ve worked with up to this point, so we’re excited to roll it out more broadly."

Meanwhile, in August of 2022, Ramp confirmed it had raised $300 million in a funding round co-led by existing backer Thrive Capital and new investor Sands Capital at a post-money valuation of $5.8 billion. At the time, it said it had passed $300 million in annualized revenue.

Jan. 30 - the story was edited to add additional comments from Eric Glyman.