A new company is looking to do for business-to-business sales of hardware, which a growing number of businesses are doing in the consumer space, by making it easier for businesses to pay for equipment in installments through rentals and subscriptions.
While companies like Klarna And the Payment confirmed Payment services that help consumers buy goods without having to pay for everything up front, a Berlin-based startup Toby Released from stealth last december With $4.5 million in funding to do something similar to B2B transactions. At the time, Topi was somewhat ambiguous about its actual product, but the company today announced its first product in partnership with a German electronics retailer. Gravisand unveiled $45 million in new equity and debt financing.
Hardware as a Service
At its most basic level, Topi sells a hardware-as-a-service business model, allowing merchants to rent out their equipment such as smartphones, printers, computer monitors, coffee machines, robotic arms, or whatever industry-specific machinery they specialize in. While it’s true that many merchants already offer financing options that allow businesses to make their payments correlatively, this is not directly integrated into the payment process – and that, effectively, is what Topi brings to the table.
The problem, after all, is that companies can spend thousands of dollars up front on physical goods essential to their operations, leaving them with limited capital for other purchases of commercial importance. Moreover, the products they buy may become obsolete or obsolete within a few years.
Along with, as companies across the industrial spectrum tighten their financial constraints due to economic pressures, merchants will be looking for new ways to encourage their customers to keep spending money, even if it means on slightly different terms.
Topi essentially combines the various components a seller might need to offer hardware subscriptions, including insurance, logistics, and refinancing providers, so that merchants can easily create rentals in their existing online channels using Topi’s APIs. For example, an electronics retailer may offer a MacBook Air worth 1,000 euros for a monthly fee of 26.25 euros payable over three years with a full warranty included, after which the customer can decide to upgrade to the latest model of MacBook, or return the device, Or pay the rest of the balance to fully own the laptop. In the future, Topi will also offer Klarna-style installment payment options to customers who know in advance that they eventually want to own the product.
It’s worth noting that Topi also supports upfront purchases, so a customer can decide to rent an iPhone at checkout for two years, while buying a laptop outright. Topi is offered as a modular platform, so merchants can pick and choose the items they want – they can pick up only monthly bills and credit checks, to the full shebang including refinancing and insurance partners.
Additionally, while the Topi branding is prominent when coming up with the inaugural product, the company said it plans to offer a white-label version that allows companies to include their own logo.
Access to the property
A quick peek through the realm of consumer technology reveals a steady transition from ownership to access. This is evident in areas like music, where streaming services from the likes of Spotify and Apple Music are subscribed to Now beat physical formatting or download sales. And what is called circular economy driving demand Rental of consumer electronics It includes smart phoneseven Car subscription services.
There is evidence of this shift elsewhere in the B2B space as well, with its headquarters in Munich Clarks We specialize in renting construction equipment. So there is clearly a move away from ownership, something that Topi co-founder Charlotte Balois said other traders should be aware of if they are going to stay ahead of the curve.
“If traditional retailers want to stay competitive and not lose their customers to these retailers, they will need to start offering subscriptions as a payment option,” Baloa told TechCrunch.
Pallua previously worked as Apple’s director of strategy and business development in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she led a team tasked with exploring the feasibility of device subscriptions — Apple hasn’t launched such a service yet, but Reports keep coming up The Cupertino company is still looking to boost its recurring revenue through these subscriptions. Baloa met co-founder Estelle Merle while studying at Harvard Business School in Boston, and the duo cemented their friendship in Silicon Valley where Merle worked briefly at Tesla during her MBA before landing in German mobility startup Via.
A year after their founding, Pallua and Merle are now ready to launch their business in partnership with Gravis, an Apple authorized distributor with 40 physical outlets in Germany in addition to its online store. Gravis was a key partner with Topi iterating their product during its beta phase.
“We are excited that our business customers can now easily subscribe to their IT equipment in real time at the point of transaction, without the tedious processes and bureaucratic paperwork,” Jan Sperlich, managing director of Gravis, said in a statement. “In our pilot phase, about half of our customers who rented devices through Topi returned for additional products.”
But arguably most important of all is that Topi doesn’t just focus on improving access to devices or helping companies’ cash flow – they see sustainability as a primary selling point behind their product.
“In light of climate change, sustainability is becoming increasingly important for businesses,” Baloa said. “Used appliances should be given a second shelf life or properly recycled – a drawer full of old appliances should not be there.”
Topi’s funding round generated $15 million in equity and $30 million in debt, with backers including Index Ventures, Creandum, TriplePoint Capital and undisclosed angel investors.