Apron has raised £12.3 million in Series A funding to slash the time small businesses spend processing invoices.
The round was led by Index Ventures, who were joined by Bessemer Venture Partners and Visionaries Club.
Founded by Revolut product leader Bogdan Uzbekov and soft-launched just six months ago, Apron is already processing millions of pounds of transactions every month, working with hundreds of client companies and thousands of payment recipients.
Users have come to expect seamless payment experiences yet when they start their own business, the tools they have can be manual and messy.
The pain is particularly marked when it comes to paying suppliers, Apron says. Companies need to sort invoices, get approvals, reconcile and maintain their books, and keep accountants in the loop. This typically involves a flurry of emails and logins across multiple apps and services, wasting hours of everyone’s time each week.
The average UK small business owner spends 5 hours a week paying invoices, and £1.5 trillion flows through this process every year in the UK alone.
Apron redesigns how payments flow through a network of users, and puts those needs at the centre of the product. Rather than replacing accounting software, it connects to software that businesses and accountants are already using, claiming to compress hours-long tasks into a matter of minutes.
It allows for the paying of multiple suppliers at once, covering 150+ countries and 30+ currencies, at the ‘real’ exchange rate with no hidden fees.
Payments and approvals sit side-by-side, making authorisations and amendments quick and painless, while the software automatically reconciles, keeping books up-to-date.
“What providers forget is that the people behind businesses are, well, people – and they want the same quality they’re familiar with in their consumer apps,” said CEO Uzbekov.
“Apron puts itself in the position of all these users – accountants, business owners and suppliers – and instead of trying to solve business payments from just one perspective, we create a town square where they can all come together to move money as smoothly as possible.
“We want to flip payments from being a blocker to being a booster: something that can be done quickly, securely and even give you a sense of joy and satisfaction.”
With the Series A funding, Apron will expand its 20-strong team, which includes talent from Meta, Revolut, Square and Yandex.
It has also launched Apron Hub, a new offering for larger accounting practices which allows them to add team members, assign tasks, see all pending actions on one page, and pre-configure approval chains for bills, across any number of clients.
Coming in early 2024, Apron Snap will allow accountants to automatically capture and categorise invoices from all their clients, and feed these into their bookkeeping software.
Uzbekov is originally from Ukraine and studied Physics and Maths in Moscow and at Imperial in London.
He joined Revolut in 2017 and was part of the early team responsible for expanding outside of the UK, ultimately leading the creation of Revolut Bank in Europe.