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As spend management space heats up, Brex and Rho turn to AI startups to help power new products on August 2, 2023 at 12:00 am

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The competition in the spend management space continues to intensify.

Brex and Rho today each announced AI-powered/enabled accounts payables offerings.

Their announcements coincidentally came out the same day competitor Ramp announced it had expanded into procurement — further evidence that the companies in the space are clamoring to not only meet customer demand but presumably attempt to outdo each other in terms of what they can offer their customers to help control spend.

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Specifically, Brex today revealed Payables, its AI-enabled Accounts Payable (AP) offering, while Rho announced new AI-powered Accounts Payable automation capabilities. Brex’s offering is live today while Rho said its new capabilities will be live later this month.

Via email, Brex co-CEO and co-founder Henrique Dubugras told TechCrunch that launching the new product had been “in the works” since the startup started building Empower, its spend management platform, over a year ago.

He noted that while Brex has used artificial intelligence for years in various capacities such as customer support and underwriting, what is new now is that it partnered with “multiple” machine learning companies such as Scale AI and Photon “to drive the highest accuracy of information extracted from invoices.”

Prior to this launch, Dubugras said that Brex offered a lighter version of bill pay that gave customers the ability to send scheduled and recurring payments. Now, he said they will “have even more advanced spend controls with multi-level approvals.” 

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For its part, Rho said it is offering AI-powered invoice and bill processing to its clients. Specifically, invoices sent to a designated AP inbox will “undergo automatic digitization” powered by generative AI technology.

In a statement, the company said the process “transforms the invoice into a bill and creates a corresponding liability in the client’s integrated ERP system. Clients can then authorize bill payments through Rho one by one or in bulk, with liabilities automatically marked as paid in the ERP.”

Rho CEO Everett Cook told TechCrunch via email that the new capabilities had been in the works for nearly a year, building on the company’s initial accounts payable release in 2021. Rho has partnered with OpenAI — a portfolio company of Rho investor DFJ Growth.

With the new product, he claims, customers will be able to “configure one-click workflows that help finance teams process thousands of payables in seconds.”

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“Our position on generative AI is that it is only useful if it is grounded in tangible business value,” said Rishav Chopra, SVP of product & design at Rho. 

Large opportunity

Besides wanting to better compete, both Brex and Rho expect their new offerings to increase revenue for their respective companies. 

Dubugras said the new payables product should increase the percentage of customers’ spend processed via Brex.

As a result, some of that spend will be on their Brex card, one way in which Brex earns revenue,” he told TechCrunch. “Plus, using a Brex business account for bill pay, another way in which Brex earns revenue, allows customers to send payments faster, eliminating ACH delays while also earning passive yield.”

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Brex claims that it is unique relative to other companies in the market in that it is “the only player” with its own business account that can earn revenue in this way, allowing the company to offer payables for free. (TechCrunch has not independently verified this claim.)

Meanwhile, Rho’s Cook believes that while the “timing is pretty coincidental” with Brex’s announcement, he supposes each of their customers were telling them “the same things” — that “they’re fed up with their legacy AP providers and want a modern solution that’s directly integrated with the rest of their finance stack.”

Legacy providers include the likes of Bill.com and Concur.

Dubugras believes there is a lot of competition in the space for a very good reason, telling TechCrunch: “The spend management space is very dynamic and that is because the opportunity is so large across SaaS and payments. Beyond the noise there is still a lot of differentiation between the players.”

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Rho’s Chopra also believes that the current macro environment has led to increased pressures on the part of CFOs and finance teams “to move faster than ever and operate leaner.” This in turn has — for obvious reasons — created more demand for spend management products.

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​ The competition in the spend management space continues to intensify. Brex and Rho today each announced AI-powered/enabled accounts payables offerings. Their announcements coincidentally came out the same day competitor Ramp announced it had expanded into procurement — further evidence that the companies in the space are clamoring to not only meet customer demand but presumably 

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House of Lords to Host Nigerian Innovators

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Clean Cyclers, alongside Sustainability Unscripted and other sustainability partners, is gearing up to host the 3rd Edition of the Global Sustainability Summit in the United Kingdom. Scheduled for March 28 – 29, 2024, at the prestigious House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, the summit aims to raise awareness, promote collaboration across disciplines, tackle global challenges with local solutions, and advocate for social equity.

Canon Otto, the organizer and founder of Clean Cyclers, emphasized the summit’s commitment to inclusivity, prioritizing climate action, environmental stewardship, and identifying policy pathways for sustainable development. Under the theme “Advancing Sustainability, a Journey Towards a Greener Future,” the summit will gather leading visionaries, experts, innovators, and change-makers from global corporations, organizations, and government agencies to brainstorm strategies for adopting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainability Businessman Otton Canon

The summit will feature panel sessions addressing urgent topics such as climate action, circular economy, renewable energy revolution, sustainable cities, biodiversity conservation, green finance, sustainable agriculture, and climate justice. Additionally, it will recognize and celebrate companies, governments, organizations, and individuals demonstrating commitment to sustainability through practical initiatives and the realization of short-term objectives and long-term goals.

In a statement, the organizers highlighted the broad spectrum of sustainability practices, policies, and innovations aimed at mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity, protecting natural resources, and promoting social equity. The theme “Advancing Sustainability” underscores the need for a shift from short-term exploitative approaches to long-term regenerative ones, reflecting humanity’s ability to learn, adapt, and innovate.

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The summit aims to foster knowledge exchange, collaboration, and actionable solutions over two days of physical gathering at the House of Parliament in London. Participants will explore diverse perspectives, share knowledge, and work together to shape strategies that drive meaningful change and accelerate progress towards a sustainable future.

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From Entertainment to Innovation: Nigerian Trailblazers at House of Lords

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From Entertainment to Innovation: Nigerian Trailblazers at House of Lords, March 28th, 2024, explores the transformative journey of these visionary individuals in global innovation. Join us as we celebrate their remarkable achievements and discuss the future of sustainable innovation on the world stage.

In a remarkable journey from the world of entertainment to the forefront of innovation, Nigerian visionaries are making waves on the global stage, transcending boundaries and redefining what it means to be a leader in sustainability. At the heart of this movement lies the upcoming 3rd Edition of the Global Sustainability Summit, set to take place at the historic House of Lords, Palace of Westminster, United Kingdom, on March 28th, 2024.

Hosted by Clean Cyclers in collaboration with Sustainability Unscripted and other esteemed partners, this summit represents a pivotal moment in the advancement of sustainability as a global practice. With the theme ‘Advancing Sustainability: A Journey Towards A Greener Future’, the event serves as a platform for leading experts, innovators, and change-makers to come together and strategize on the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

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From addressing urgent issues such as Climate Action and Circular Economy to exploring innovative solutions in Renewable Energy Revolution and Sustainable Cities, the summit aims to foster collaboration and drive meaningful change on a global scale. It will feature panel sessions where pressing topics like Biodiversity Conservation, Green Finance, Sustainable Agriculture, and Climate Justice will be deliberated upon by thought leaders from various sectors.

Lord Simon Wooley, Hosue of Lords, Baron Woolley of Woodford and Businessman Otto Canon

Central to this movement is Mr. Canon Otto, whose transformative journey from the glitz of Nigerian reality television to the helm of sustainability leadership exemplifies the power of purpose-driven action. As the visionary force behind Clean Cyclers, Mr. Otto has dedicated himself to championing causes that shape the future of our planet. His collaboration with Sustainability Unscripted underscores the importance of partnership in driving substantive change and amplifying impact.

Reflecting on the significance of the summit, Mr. Otto emphasizes the urgency and potential of embracing sustainability as a guiding principle in all aspects of human endeavors. He envisions the event as a catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and actionable solutions that will accelerate progress towards a sustainable future for generations to come.

As the world looks towards a greener and more equitable future, the Global Sustainability Summit stands as a beacon of hope and possibility. It is a testament to the power of collective action and the transformative potential of visionary leadership. Join us as we embark on this journey towards a brighter tomorrow, led by Nigerian trailblazers who are shaping the world of tomorrow, today.

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Niremia Collective closes inaugural fund with $22.5M focused on well-being technology on February 2, 2024 at 1:59 pm

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Niremia Collective intends to provide capital and management resources to high-growth well-being startups as well as incubate new businesses.

© 2024 TechCrunch. All rights reserved. For personal use only.

​ [[{“value”:”Niremia Collective intends to provide capital and management resources to high-growth well-being startups as well as incubate new businesses.
© 2024 TechCrunch. All rights reserved. For personal use only.”}]] 

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