Paris-based traveltech Okarito raises €2.1 million to manage post-COVID business trips for startups and SMEs

French traveltech Okarito, a digital platform for companies to organise and optimize their business trips while ensuring the well-being of their employees, has closed a fundraising round of €2.1 million, led by Axeleo Capital, and accompanied by Kima Ventures and various business angels including Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux (President of Notus  Technologies). The startup will use the funds to accelerate its business development and help more companies ensure safe travel for their employees.

Founded in January 2018, Okarito helps startups and SMEs simplify the management of their employees’ business travel. The startup provides a booking and administrative tracking platform that offers an intuitive booking experience. With 24/7 customer service based in Paris, the startup also accompanies its travellers throughout their journey. Okarito offers a comprehensive inventory of flights, hotels and trains with competitive options in terms of both choice and price, giving its customers around 30% savings compared to a traditional travel agency.

Since the launching in early 2019, the volume of bookings made on Okarito has increased by 30% each month. Brice Huet, co-founder and commercial director of Okarito explains: “Our customers have between 5 and 1000 employees, but all have in common the need to create new business opportunities and build social ties between their teams, which naturally leads them to travel. They all share the desire to end the cumbersome processes of expense notes, to simplify their accounting, while ensuring the well-being of their employees on the go. This fundraiser will allow us to continue to improve our platform, and accelerate commercially. We are extremely proud to work with Axeleo, Kima and Notus who are all experts in the development of solutions that solve real problems in companies.”

Okarito is already projecting itself as a booking platform for a post-Covid world. Remi  Duvoux, co-founder and CEO of Okarito expands: “Companies have been faced with the repatriation of their employees and time-consuming management of cancelled travel reimbursements, and they never want to face them again! In a post-covid world, they can no longer afford not to know where their collaborators are. With a lighter cost structure and proprietary platform, we can adapt very quickly and offer relevant services to our customers. We’ve never had as many new prospects as we have since lockdown.”

Okarito has already convinced more than 200 companies of its travel management platform, including startups Welcome to the Jungle, Prestashop, Mailjet, Payfit, ToucanToco, as well as more traditional SMEs like the Ayor Group or the So Press Group (SO FOOT, Society).

This first round of financing will be used to accelerate commercial development with SMEs in France, as well as to continue to improve the booking platform. The funds will also strengthen the team: the goal is to increase the number of employees by the end of the year, including in development, sales, marketing and customer support.

EU-Startups

Apple has acquired Fleetsmith, a startup that helps IT manage Apple devices remotely

At a time where IT has to help employees set up and manage devices remotely, a service that simplifies those processes could certainly come in handy. Apple recognized that, and acquired Fleetsmith today, a startup that helps companies do precisely that with Apple devices.

While Apple didn’t publicize the acquisition, it has confirmed the deal with TechCrunch, while Fleetsmith announced the deal in a company blog post. Neither company was sharing the purchase price.

The startup has built technology that takes advantage of the Apple’s Device Enrollment Program allowing IT departments to bring devices online as soon as the employee takes it out of the box and powers it up.

At the time of its $ 30 million Series B funding last year, CEO Zack Blum explained the company’s core value proposition: “From a customer perspective, they can ship devices directly to their employees. The employee unwraps it, connects to Wi-Fi and the device is enrolled automatically in Fleetsmith,” Blum explained at that time.

Over time, the company has layered on other useful pieces beyond automating device registration like updating devices automatically with OS and security updates, while letting IT see a dashboard of the status of all devices under management, all in a pretty slick interface.

While Apple will in all likelihood continue to work with Jamf, the leader in the Apple device management space, this acquisition gives the company a remote management option at a time where it’s essential with so many employees working from home.

Fleetsmith, which has raised over $ 40 million from investors like Menlo Ventures, Tiger Global Management, Upfront Ventures and Harrison Metal will continue to sell the product through the company website, according to the blog post.

The founders put a happy on the face on the deal, as founders tend to do. “We’re thrilled to join Apple. Our shared values of putting the customer at the center of everything we do without sacrificing privacy and security, means we can truly meet our mission, delivering Fleetsmith to businesses and institutions of all sizes, around the world,” they wrote.

Startups – TechCrunch

AngelList’s ‘Carta for India’ product helps startups manage cap table and employee grants for free

AngelList, a platform that helps startup founders discover and connect to angel investors and job seekers, on Wednesday branched out to a new category in India to further serve the ecosystem.

The startup platform said its new product, called EquityList, allows founders to easily manage their cap table, which as the name suggests, is a table that documents a firm’s percentages of ownership, value of equity in each round, and equity dilution.

AngelList’s new offering pits it against the talk-of-the-town Carta’s core service — though by limiting EquityList to India, AngelList is tapping a booming market that the Palo Alto-based startup is yet to explore.

By targeting India, AngelList is also ploughing through a field that is vast but doesn’t have as many challengers. Most startups in India currently rely on lawyers, papers, and Microsoft Excel to manage their cap tables.

EquityList also enables startup founders to manage equity they are granting to employees. The tool, which allows the grant letter to generate and deliver in a single-click, also enables startup employees to accept the grant, view its value, and make use of it, explained Sumukh Sridhara, who oversees product and engineering at AngelList India, in an interview.

“It’s actually cumbersome to keep track of the numbers in Excel,” said Rajan Bajaj, founder and chief executive of SlicePay, a Bangalore-based startup that offers payment cards with pre-approved credit lines for students, gig-workers, freelancers and startup employees.

“Equity of a startup is perhaps the fastest growing asset in the world and it makes sense to manage it with a digital ledger like your stock broking account,” he said.

Utsav Somani, who oversees AngelList’s India operations, said the platform is making EquityList available to startups at no charge. In an interview with TechCrunch, he said EquityList will help startups save countless hours and capital that currently goes into legal documentations.

“Several Indian startups have become unicorns over the years and many more are moving to join the list. But employees at these startups don’t really know what’s the worth of their paper stake, and what they can do about it,” he said. “Employees need to feel that they are valuable. In the U.S. and other markets with more mature startup ecosystems, employees are up to speed on these matters.”

During its pre-beta days, 20 startups ranging from pre-Seed to Series B used EquityList and the early reception was overwhelming, said AngelList, adding that startups using EquityList don’t share any data with the platform.

Misbah Ashraf, co-founder and chief executive of Marsplay, a New Delhi-based startup that operates a social app where influencers showcase beauty and apparel content to sell to consumers, agreed. “There is a lack of transparency everywhere with stock options and how ESOPs’ (Employee Stock Option Plans) value is changing,” he said.

Miten Sampat, chief strategy officer at Times Internet, said it was only logical that AngelList looked into this category, and that it was high time that more firms addressed these challenges. AngelList is also well-positioned to scale this in the market, he said.

A venture capitalist, who did not wish to be identified, said he wasn’t surprised that AngelList was making EquityList free. “They want to be the system of record, a standard for the market. They want startups, and other venture capitalist funds to use EquityList.”

Somani agrees. He said EquityList would enable AngelList, which launched in the nation a year and a half ago, to gain trust and credibility with startups and other players in the ecosystem.

Another venture capitalist who also spoke on the condition of anonymity as he did not wish to upset others said that while EquityList appears to be replicating ‘Carta for India’ and address real challenges but that India was not that big of a market — which would explain why Carta has no play here.

“India is a big and wide-open market,” said Somani, who launched his micro VC fund last month. He added that AngelList would eventually expand EquityList to other markets.

Times Internet’s Sampat said EquityList also paves way for AngelList to perhaps explore becoming a secondary private market for startups one day. Somani did not rule out the possibility, but said there are enough regulatory hurdles to work out first.

Startups – TechCrunch

How do startups manage VAT, Sales Tax, GST Compliance in Early Stages?

Hi All

Hope you're good!

Recently been looking at the various ways in which a startup will need to be tax compliant if selling internationally.

I understand that if you are a company with an app in the app stores then Google and Apple collect and remit VAT, Sales Tax and GST for the majority of territories, which aleviates some of the effort of compliance, although I'm assuming there is still some level of reporting still needed to be compliant, e.g. with VAT I'm assuming your quarterly filings would read as a reverse charge with Apple and/or Google.

However, if you are a web based company, SaaS company or a company whose business model does not rely on distribution via the respective app stores, then compliance with the relevant tax bodies in each territory is your responsibility in it's entirety.

How do startups particularly in the earlier stages manage this? Is there a particular tool or piece of software that is used? I have seen some such as Avalara, Taxify, Taxjar etc which claim to automate the necessary recording and filing of sales tax, VAT, GST across the territories which you sell to. Are these pieces of software commonly used or is this function typically fulfiled by an outsourced accountant/tax advisor in the earlier stages then brought in house when you have a more robust finance team?

Would be great to hear from anybody who has been through the process and can share their experience or generally anybody who has any insight into the matter.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Lili Raises $10M for its All-in-One Banking App for Freelancers to Manage Both Work and Personal Finance

With more than 60 million freelancers in the US and the belief that an increasing number of businesses will rely on freelance workers in the post-pandemic era, shares of Upwork rose a staggering 49.3% in May. Lili is the banking and financial services app that helps freelancers better manage their work and personal finances. work and personal accounts in one centralized platform, AlleyWatch caught up with serial entrepreneur Lilac Bar David to learn more about how Lili is playing a role in shaping the future of work, the company’s recent funding round, and how the app saves freelancers up to 60 hours and $ 1.7K per annum.
AlleyWatch

CRM/ERP for early stage startup to manage business

Our startup has been in business for a little over 18 months now, and we have received our first startup funding ($ 400k).

So far we’ve been managing everything in google drive but it’s becoming unmanageable. We have document everywhere and we’re at the point where we have quite a few supplier leads, we’re in discussions with suppliers, we are having meetings and setting tasks but there’s no easy way to manage it, and make sure things are getting done.

We are in the medtech/biotech space so typical software dev Agile platforms don’t exactly match what we want. Over the last few days I’ve been trying what I thought might be a good option – Bitrix24 – in depth. I like a lot of what it does, but some things are just annoying. For example, I’d like to be able to easily attach a quote to a contact (for example a supplier) so that everyone in the team can see it. For some reason I can only set up a “deal” in one direction (us being the supplier and the contact being the purchaser) – but we aren’t really at the sales point in the business yet.

Essential features: – contact management to keep track of our growing list of contacts – email integration (saving emails in the CRM so everyone in the team can see them) with GSuite – project management (even if it’s just simple tasks and Kanban) – Linking to Google Drive docs would be nice (many “cloud CRMs” have 5gb file allowances. We already pay for google drive… – relatively easy to use (some of our team members while scientifically talented aren’t entirely computer geniuses) a nice interface makes it a lot easier to sell to the team

Nice to haves: – some moderate accounting stuff (tracking sales for companies, making invoices, tracking costs?)

We don’t want to be spending a fortune on this, $ 400k sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t a huge amount in biotech. We will be going for Series A in 6-10 months, but we’d like to spend <$ 100/month total for 5 users.

Appreciate any insights anyone has. I’m trying to look around some of the CRMs and ERPs and they look like they’re either stuck in the early 2000’s or simply don’t give a demo!

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Advice and resources needed on how to manage being a CEO of a newly merged company

Hello fellow redditors,

My company got acquired by a much bigger company. Big company happened to acquire another company a few months before us.

Now I am being asked to be the CEO for the two companies (around thirty people projected to be 100 in a year).

I don't want to mention the industry as I am looking for feedback in terms of managing the merge, having a healthy culture, insuring the new team feel at home and such. I don't project any layoffs and will try to find a place for everyone as we are suppose to grow our team.

Have any of you had an experience and would like to give tips ? Do you know any resources/articles that help could help in managing this process?

Thanks!

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

How To Function From Home And Manage Your Family Life

Get everyone on game board. The number one key for time management systems in your own home job would be get everyone on take. While spending time employing your family is important, and still have be distraction if experience work to become to be achieved. It’s easier if are at an office abroad. When working from home, ensure everyone should know when you might be “off” and “on”.

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I’ve mentioned several benefits starting a home-based business from home, but are generally three basic some weaknesses. The most obvious disadvantage is right now there are no guarantees. Plus, you have to have to work very hard and that needs an associated with commitment. Running your business may require more hours than can be expected. As mentioned earlier, plus it really can need some money to start your line of work. Needing cash is a good quality reason to obtain started in times of record unemployment, but business enterprise will need cash, besides.