Two has grown from 8 to 70 people the past year. In this photo you can see part of the Oslo team. Anders Dovran, Andreas Mjelde, Ivar Lyngedal, Jessica Åberg, Andrea B. Kvam
Founded in 2020, Two is working relentlessly to simplify online trade between businesses. By making it safe and easy to offer invoicing as a payment method, we’re essentially boosting online B2B sales, co-founder and CEO Andreas Mjelde explained.
"Our goal is to become the world’s leading B2B payment solution in five years. It’s ambitious, but definitely achievable".
Back in 2012, Mjelde co-founded Linio in Mexico City. The company, which has become one of the largest online marketplaces in Latin America, operates in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Argentina, with more than 1200 employees across the continent. With Linio, Mjelde discovered why b-commerce* needed fixing. Linio’s B2B trade was increasing steadily, but the company wasn’t able to harness its full market potential.
"At checkout, we realized that businesses often contacted customer support for advice on payment. Most businesses prefer to pay on invoice with payment terms. However, like most e-commerce platforms, we only accepted cards" Mjelde said.
The need for a new B2B payment solution
The B2B customer journey is typically longer and more complex than B2C customer journeys. Referrals and local knowledge are key to building trust. With the rise of global e-commerce, you no longer know your customers in the same way. However, both buyers and sellers still expect a streamlined shopping experience.
- At Linio, B2B transactions could take up to a week to process, with credit reports, accounting figures, and copies of passports going in both directions. The time required to complete this process led to lost opportunities. Potential buyers ended up not buying, Mjelde said.
Mjelde embarked on a new business journey in 2020 after returning to Norway from Mexico. He realized the 2 in B2B was missing. Following some initial market research, he discovered the challenges he experienced with Linio were a global problem. In a broader socio-economic perspective, payments on invoice terms issued by the seller seriously constrain operating liquidity available to businesses, leading to countries missing out on economic growth.
- Both in terms of transitioning business sales to b-commerce, and fuelling economic growth, the need for a new B2B online payment solution became apparent. That’s why we founded Two, he explained.
Backed by leading venture capitalist firms
In only a year and a half since its inception, Two is growing rapidly in sales and headcount. 60 ambitious employees, including Harvard graduates and former McKinsey consultants, are currently shaping the future of B2B payments. 39 work in the company’s main talent hubs in Oslo and London, with the rest worldwide.
Building a business during a pandemic means remote-first, Mjelde said.
-We’re all ambitious and forward-thinking, but diverse in terms of professional backgrounds. We had our first physical meetup in London last fall, and it was great to see everyone in person. Despite starting up during a pandemic, we’ve become a tightly knit unit, he said.
The impressive growth has been backed by leading venture capitalist firms, including London-based leading seed investors LocalGlobe, Berlin-based Visionaries Club, and California-based Sequoia. The latter has invested in companies like Apple, Oracle, Google, and more recently, Airbnb, Klarna and Stripe.
Two was Sequoia’s first Norwegian investment, and their first seed investment in Europe.
- Our international investors had experienced that their portfolio companies struggled with receiving payments from large customers. They quickly realized that we could potentially solve this problem, Mjelde said.
Easy to use, easy to integrate
While other players in the market focus on developing solutions for either checkout, credit reporting or working capital management, Two are developing a holistic solution to minimize hassle for B2B online payments. Finding the sweet spot between specific features for certain segments, and the required flexibility for all kinds of businesses, is a top priority, Mjelde said.
- Simple but flexible is at the core of our thinking. Two is easy to use and integrate, but also enables merchants to take advantage of features that serve specific b-commerce needs. Our aim is to build a consumer-grade payment experience for businesses, he said.
The market potential is huge. B2B commerce is almost three times the size of B2C commerce, and the next five years present Two with an unprecedented opportunity.
- Based on the size of the market alone, we could potentially build a business that is larger than PayPal, Mjelde concluded.
*Online trade between businesses
Want to see how Two can help you increase your B2B e-commerce sales? Book a 30 minute demo with us today!✌️