Katana, an Estonian start-up that has built manufacturing-specific enterprise resource preparation (ERP) software for SMBs, has actually raised $11 million in Series A funding.
Leading the round is European equity capital firm Atomico, with involvement from angel financiers Ott Kaukver (Checkout.com CTO), Sten Tamkivi (CPO Topia, previously Skype), Sergei Anikin (CTO, Pipedrive) and Kairi Pauskar (former TransferWise HR Designer). Previous backer 42Cap also followed on, bringing the total investment raised by the company to date to $16 million.
Founded in 2017 by Kristjan Vilosius (CEO), Priit Kaasik (engineering lead) and Hannes Kert (CCO), Katana positions itself as the “entrepreneur manufacturer’s ace in the hole” with a plug-and-play ERP for small to medium-sized makers. The idea is to wean companies off existing old-fashioned tools such as spreadsheets and legacy software to manage inventory and production. The startup is also playing into macro patterns, such as the advent of online marketplaces and D2C e-commerce, that are resulting in a surge of independent makers, covering cosmetics to home decoration, electronics to apparel, and food and drinks.
“We are seeing a worldwide renaissance of small production driven by the increase of e-commerce tools and customer need for bespoke items produced in your area,” says Vilosius. “Just walk around any huge city from London to San Francisco, and you’ll see workshops all around you. Someone’s making natural cosmetics here; over there, someone is making electrical bikes. These companies are run by enthusiastic entrepreneurs offering through conventional channels, but also selling through direct-to-consumer channels, e-commerce stores and marketplaces, and so on. This is a huge boom of makers wishing to develop items and sell them internationally, and it is not a trend that will vanish tomorrow”.
The issue, nevertheless, is that little and medium-sized producers do not have the right software application to support workflows needed to offer through multiple channels– and this is where Katana is available in. The plug-and-play software claims an exceptional UX created particularly to power store manufacturing, including performance supporting the workflows of modern makers, i.e. stock control and optimization, and buying materials, managing bill-of-materials, tracking costs and more. It likewise uses an API and integrations with popular e-commerce sales channels and accounting tools such as Shopify, Amazon, WooCommerce, QuickBooks, Xero and others.
“We have actually constructed the world’s a lot of self on-board-able production ERP, which’s a very important differentiation between us and competitors,” explains Vilosius. “Application is so basic that over half of Katana’s users self-onboard. It takes less than a week usually to get Katana up and running, compared to months for rivals”.
As an example of how a company may utilize Katana, picture a shop producer using Shopify as their main sales channel. When set up, Katana draws in orders from Shopify and knows whether or not the item is available so it can be delivered instantly. If it’s not available, Katana displays if the essential raw materials required to make remain in stock and by when the product could be ended up. “We deal with the whole procedure from getting the raw products in the warehouse to preparing manufacturing activities, delivering and performing when the item is done,” says Vilosius.