Katana, an Estonian startup that has developed manufacturing-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for SMEs, has raised $ 11 million in Series A funding.
European venture capital firm Atomico, with the participation of angel investors Ott Kaukver (CTO of Checkout.com), Sten Tamkivi (CPO Topia, formerly Skype), Sergei Anikin (CTO, Pipedrive) and Kairi Pauskar (former architect of TransferWise HR). Former backer 42Cap also followed suit, bringing the total investment raised by the company to $ 16 million to date.
Founded in 2017 by Kristjan Vilosius (CEO), Priit Kaasik (Engineering Manager) and Hannes Kert (CCO), Katana is positioned as “the secret weapon of the entrepreneurial manufacturer” with a plug-and-play ERP for small businesses. and medium-sized enterprises. The idea is to wean businesses off existing obsolete tools like spreadsheets and legacy software to manage inventory and production. The startup is also playing on macro-trends, such as the advent of online marketplaces and D2C e-commerce, which is resulting in an explosion of independent manufacturers, ranging from cosmetics to home decor, electronics to clothing, and food and drink.
“We are witnessing a global renaissance of small manufacturing, driven by the rise of e-commerce tools and consumer demand for tailor-made products made locally,” Vilosius says. “Walk around any big city, from London to San Francisco, and you’ll see workshops all around you. Someone is making organic cosmetics here; there someone makes electric bicycles. These businesses are run by passionate entrepreneurs who sell through traditional channels, but also sell through direct-to-consumer channels, e-commerce stores and marketplaces, etc. This is a massive boom of manufacturers looking to create products and sell them globally. is not a trend that will disappear tomorrow ”.
The problem, however, is that small and medium-sized manufacturers don’t have the right software to support the workflows needed to sell through multiple channels – and that’s where Katana comes in. The plug-in software -and-play claims superior UX design specifically to power in-store manufacturing, including features that support modern manufacturer workflows, namely inventory control and optimization, material purchasing, management of the nomenclature, cost tracking, etc. It also offers API and integrations with popular e-commerce sales channels and accounting tools like Shopify, Amazon, WooCommerce, QuickBooks, Xero, and others.
“We have built the most autonomous manufacturing ERP in the world, and this is a very important differentiator between us and our competitors,” explains Vilosius. “The implementation is so simple that more than half of Katana users have integrated themselves. On average, it takes less than a week for Katana to be operational, compared to months for the competitors ”.
As an example of how a business could use Katana, imagine a store maker using Shopify as their primary sales channel. Once set up, Katana picks up orders from Shopify and knows if the product is available or not so that it can be shipped immediately. If not available, Katana displays whether the raw materials needed for manufacturing are in stock and when the product could be finished. “We take care of the whole process, from receiving the raw materials in the warehouse to planning the manufacturing activities, execution and shipping after the product is finished,” Vilosius explains.
Statement from Ben Blume, Partner of Atomico, who joins the Katana Board of Directors: “Atomico has always believed in the strength of engineering and products made in Estonian, and getting to know the Katana team, we saw a familiar model: a relentless product – a focused team with the incredible ability to build and think from their customers’ point of view, and an unwavering belief that a new generation of manufacturers with big ideas shouldn’t having to settle for less than world-class technology to back them up.