Katana, An Estonian startup that built an enterprise resource planning (ERP) program for manufacturing for small and medium-sized businesses, and raised $ 11 million in Series A financing.
Leading the round is European venture capital firm Atomico, with the participation of angel investors Ott Kaukver (Checkout.com CTO), Sten Tamkivi (CPO Topia, formerly Skype), Sergei Anikin (CTO, Pipedrive) and KairiWise Pauskar (former HR engineer for transportation) ). The previous backer, 42Cap, also followed, bringing the company’s total investment so far to $ 16 million.
Founded in 2017 by Christian Velosius (CEO), Brett Kassick (Head of Engineering) and Hans Kurt (CCO), Katana establishes itself as the “Entrepreneur Factory’s Secret Weapon” with a plug-and-play ERP system for small manufacturers to Medium in size. The idea is to distance companies from existing legacy tools such as spreadsheets and outdated software for inventory and production management. The startup is also playing a role in holistic trends, such as the rise of online marketplaces and D2C e-commerce, which has led to an explosion of indie makers, ranging from cosmetics to home décor, and from electronics to clothing, food and beverages.
“We are witnessing a global renaissance in micro-manufacturing driven by the emergence of e-commerce tools and consumer demand for locally produced custom products,” says Velosius. “Just wander around any big city from London to San Francisco, and you’ll see workshops around you. Someone makes organic cosmetics here; someone makes electric bikes. These companies are run by passionate entrepreneurs who sell through traditional channels.” But also they sell through direct-to-consumer channels, e-commerce stores and marketplaces, etc. Not a trend that will disappear tomorrow. ”
The problem, however, is that small and medium-sized manufacturers do not have the appropriate software to support the workflow necessary to sell through multiple channels – this is where the katana comes in. Plug-and-play software claims to be a premium UX designer specifically to support boutique manufacturing, including functions that support modern manufacturers’ workflows, such as inventory control and optimization, material purchasing, bill of materials management, cost tracking and more. It also provides API and integrations with popular e-commerce sales channels and accounting tools like Shopify, Amazon, WooCommerce, QuickBooks, Xero, and more.
“We’ve built the world’s most capable enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and that’s a very important difference between us and the competitors,” says Velocius. The implementation is so simple that more than half of Katana’s users share themselves. It takes less than a week to run the katana on average, compared to months for competitors. “
As an example of how to use a katana company, imagine a boutique manufacturing company using Shopify as their main sales channel. Once configured, Katana pulls orders from Shopify and knows if the product is available or not so it can be shipped immediately. If not, Katana shows whether raw materials for manufacturing are available and when the product can be finished. “We handle the whole process from getting the raw materials in the warehouse to planning manufacturing activities, executing and shipping when the product is finished,” says Velosius.
Cue statement from Atomico partner, Ben Blume, who joined Katana’s board of directors: “Atomico has always believed in the power of engineering and built products in Estonia, and when we got to know Katana’s team, we saw a familiar pattern: A relentless product – a team focused on an incredible ability to build and think From their customers’ perspective, and an unwavering belief that a new generation of big-idea manufacturers should settle for nothing less than global technology to support them.