Coupa acquires InvoiceSmash to bring clarity to invoicing

As organizational processes become ever more complex, finance departments are looking for solutions to help make their lives more efficient.

Coupa Software is a vendor selling a cloud-based spend management platform. What that means is that customers can gain both visibility and workflow management over the full lifecycle of their spending. Within large enterprises, that is not an insignificant task to perform.

If we look at the lifecycle of invoicing, organizations not only have to deal with the actual invoice receipt, authorization, and payment, but all the peripheral tasks. There's procurement, sourcing, specialist travel and expense management - all of these things get even more complicated within large and diverse organizations where employees are being given more autonomy over their roles.

Coupa was founded to leverage this increasing complexity and has seen success with over 500 customers in over 40 countries. Some of those customers are big names, including Sanofi, Salesforce.com, BNP Paribas North America, NEC, Royal Bank of Canada, Swiss Re, and Highmark Health. Coupa goes to prospects not only with the value proposition of increasing efficiency, but also with a promise that customers should be able to realize a return on their investment in the software with a few short months.

Coupa and its competitors are trying to achieve two objectives that are somewhat counter-intuitive. On the one hand, they're trying to ease the not-insignificant lag that exists within invoicing and payment processes. Essentially, Coupa is trying to help organizations acquire the resources they need as quickly as possible and then pay for those resources efficiently. On the other hand, however, organizations increasingly work in an environment where regulatory compliance is critical, therefore Coupa and its ilk need to ensure that the processes they automate cover the requirements of regulations.

Coupa is building out its solution, and to help it with that task it is today announcing that it is acquiring InvoiceSmash, an Australian vendor involved with accounts payable and e-invoicing. The key functionality that InvoiceSmash brings to Coupa is its so-called closed-loop learning capabilities. What this means is that, once applied to the Coupa offering, InvoiceSmash will instantly convert emailed invoices from suppliers into the digital format required for the buyer's accounts payable process. Think of it as a modern take on EDI and you've pretty much got the picture.

As well as the data interchange aspects, InvocieSmash can also detect supplier invoice format changes, remember those changes, and create learned templates so that the system grows smarter after a new supplier invoice format appears.

"When we created InvoiceSmash we set out to transform how buyers handled their suppliers' invoices," InvoiceSmash founder Mark Burch said. "Core to our business model was the idea of allowing buyers and suppliers to do e-invoicing without needing system and process changes. By allowing our customers to use their existing invoicing processes we are able to achieve greater e-invoicing adoption rates."

Terms of the deal were not announced, but given that Coupa has raised close to $170 million dollars over seven funding rounds (including $80 million only a month ago), there would appear to be no real shortage of cash with which to have sealed the deal.

In terms of a timescale for integration, Coupa expects the additional capabilities from the InvoiceSmash technology to be made available to select customers by the end of 2015. As part of the acquisition, the InvoiceSmash team will also be joining Coupa.

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