HICX raises $30M to give companies visibility into their supply chain

HICX, a supplier experience management platform designed to give companies visibility into their supply chain, has raised $30 million in a round of funding led by U.S. private equity firm Wavecrest Growth Partners and Canada's Espresso Capital. The funding constituted a mixture of $22 million equity and $8 million in debt.

Founded in 2004, London-based HICX serves a SaaS-based low-code platform that gives companies a single channel for onboarding new suppliers, replete with tools for capturing all the information that the various departments and systems within a company need. This also includes integrations with enterprise resource planning (ERP), purchase-to-pay (P2P) and supply chain management (SCM) systems, and serves to ensure that all stakeholders are working from the same information.

HICX also includes a dedicated compliance management toolset that ensures suppliers are compliant with all the tax, business, trade, diversity or sustainability stipulations that a company has.

Supplier compliance management. Image Credits: HICX

Today's announcement represents HICX's first substantial external funding in its 18-year history, with a spokesperson telling TechCrunch that it was entirely bootstrapped since its inception until 2018, when it received a small "friends and family round" investment amounting to around $1 million. It has also amassed a fairly impressive roster of customers, including Unilever, Lenovo and BAE Systems.

The problem

Businesses from across the industrial spectrum often have to demonstrate -- to their board or regulatory bodies, for example -- that they comply with company policies and all the laws of the land. While it's easy enough to provide internally generated data to demonstrate compliance, the more suppliers a company has the more difficult it gets to show that a business is adhering to a strict procurement regimen that considers compliance externally, way down into the supply chain.

For example, a bank might want to demonstrate that it's only investing in climate-friendly companies, or a global consumer brand may want to show that it's only doing business with suppliers with net-zero carbon emissions. So-called "scope 3 emissions" -- emissions in a company's supply chain which it doesn't directly control -- are difficult to track. And sustainable supplier procurement isn't purely about tracking carbon emissions, either, it's about how the products are produced and delivered, what the life cycle is and much more.

Throw into the mix the dozens or hundreds of suppliers that a company might have in its supply chain, and you start to understand how difficult it is to get a full picture of what's going on. And that, essentially, is where HICX enters the fray, with a platform that serves as a single source-of-truth for supplier data.

But it's worth noting that supplier-management tools such as HICX aren't just about arming companies with data and insights on their supply chain, it's also designed to ensure that suppliers enjoy working with a company by making their lives easier through a more modern, user-friendly platform.

"At the most basic level, companies deliver value to customers through the combined effort of their internal teams and suppliers," HICX CEO and co-founder Costas Xyloyiannis said in a statement. "Companies often under-invest in the supplier experience, in making it easy for suppliers to deliver their best work. However, we've seen a significant shift recently, and many of the world's leading brands are investing in technology to address this and to become 'customer of choice' for as many of their suppliers as possible."