Deals | Softbank China Venture Capital Invests in Travel & Expense Management SaaS Cloud Helios

The company claimed that it is serving companies including DiDi Chuxing, Ctrip,JD.com, and Ele.me.

Image credit to Visual China.
  • The company claimed that it had added 119 more major clients to its customer pool in 2017, including DiDi Chuxing, Ctrip, e-commerce website JD.com and food delivery startup Ele.me.

  • Cloud Helios leverages on the existing sales channels of its parent company Hand.

  • Cloud Helios processed 300,000 reimbursement documents in total in the last 19 months.


The SaaS-based travel & expense management platform Cloud Helios (汇联易) has recently nabbed a 50 million yuan (approx. USD7.89 million) Series B round from the investors include Softbank China Venture Capital, Blue Lake Capital (蓝湖资本) and Z Capital (众麟资本).

Cloud Helios, a SaaS platform which delivers an effortless experience to travel & expense management, was initially a startup project hatched within the listed IT consulting firm Hand (汉得信息) before it spun off the company in August 2016. In September 2016, it raised a 30 million yuan Series A round from the investors including Blue Lake Capital, Softbank China Venture Capital, and Hand.

With a specific focus on relieving the boss, finance team and employees (claimant) of all the hassle of traditional reimbursement procedure, Cloud Helios is designed with all necessary modules concerning expense reimbursement baked into it, including expense budget, expense control, expense reimbursement, invoice review, integration of existing accounting system and management of such business activities as travel, accommodation and business entertainment.

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn.

The reimbursement procedure of Cloud Helios goes like this:

  • The employees (claimant) fill out the reimbursement spreadsheet and then submit the request for the approval of a higher-level supervisor.
  • After the request is approved, the employees will then be asked to attach relevant receipts or invoices for the review of the finance team.
  • The finance team proceeds to make payment when everything is verified.

A notification will be sent to employees’ cell phones as soon as the payment is received. At the same time, an expense reimbursement report will be generated automatically for each item reimbursed. With the integrated solution, the boss of a company gets to track all expenses of the company and their usage.

To take the solution a step further, the company also plugged into its platform the suppliers which provide services that are essential for business travel and entertainment, including dining, accommodation and traveling. It has, for example, embedded into its platform the API interface for the enterprise version of the ride-hailing app DiDi Chuxing and integrated into its platform the online travel and ticketing platform Ctrip.

Additionally, the expense incurred can be billed directly from either the company account or employees’ personal accounts. Either way, the employees get to reimburse their expenses directly online as per the receipts or invoices issued by suppliers, instead of going through all the agony of traditional paper flow. So, companies would benefit a lot in terms of efficiency by moving their existing suppliers online. That said, there are cases that the solution will fail to apply. In this case, employees have no choice but to go through the all the paper flow.

Softbank China Venture Capital Invests in Travel & Expense Management SaaS Cloud Helios.
Image credit to Visual China.

On top of that, Cloud Helios claims that it has negotiated favorable prices from several large hotel groups in China, prices that are even lower than those offered by OTAs (Online Travel Agency).

Cloud Helios targets predominantly clients with high purchasing power. Its parent Hand is a listed company on the growth enterprise market (GEM). Having been providing ERP customized solutions to big companies for long, Hand has so far garnered 2,000-3,000 major clients. The fact that Cloud Helios shares basically all sales channels with its parent Hand may give it a leg up on those competitors, said ZHANG Changzheng, CEO of Cloud Helios.

According to the team, its solution is provided on a SaaS basis for an annual subscription fee. In addition to reimbursement solutions, the company also offers solutions to integrate enterprises’ existing accounting and OA systems, with, of course, extra charges.

The company claimed that it had added 119 more major clients to its customer pool in 2017, including DiDi Chuxing, Ctrip, e-commerce website JD.com and food delivery startup Ele.me. The company has, in the last 19 months, processed 300,000 reimbursement documents in total, among which the value of air tickets tallies up to more than 200 million yuan.

Writer: XU Ning