Invapay is a ‘simple way to do business without the hassle of setting up long tail, ad-hoc and SME suppliers’. PaymentEye met up with Invapay’s CEO, Sid Vasili, here’s what he had to say:
Tell us about yourself
I’ve been in the finance transformation business for the last 35 years. Essentially, I’ve managed the design and delivery of Global Corporate’s strategies and the optimisation of operational services from a Finance and Procurement perspective. I formed a business in 1976 which focused on process optimisation which was acquired in 2005, the business was about all the automation strategies for financial shared service sectors.
How was Invapay founded?
In the past 35 years we’ve looked at more transformation strategies and process optimisation programmes than most people have had hot dinners. We discovered one huge, recurring issue – this is what we have come to call The Long Tail of Indirect Spend, and its near-neighbour, One-time-only Suppliers.
We developed a platform that was designed specifically to manage this non-contract operational spend, and to cut that Long Tail off at its root. This has allowed Corporate Buyers to reach out into the marketplace and to connect with and collaborate with non-contracted Suppliers, managing the entire Purchase and Pay process from beginning to end.
It works like this – once a transaction is agreed between the Buyer and Supplier, the goods and services are delivered and receipted, the platform then automatically pays the vendor within three days using an accelerated payments process. The objective is to maximise cash management/minimise costs to the Buyer and provide positive cash flow to the supplier community, therefore securitising the supply chain. It’s big-picture stuff when you consider the impact of negative cash flow to SME Suppliers, who are the engine room of growth for the UK economy. The whole economy benefits when we feed positive cash flow into the Supply chain – remember that SMEs employ 9 out of 10 jobs in both the UK and Europe.
Tell us about your platforms as a solution provider
Ours is a globalised platform, so it’s multi-currency, multi-tax and multi-language, which allows the buying organisation to have multiple payment options which they can dynamically select dependent on their cash position at any one time during the business cycle.
The platform will manage Working Capital early settlement discounts, payments using corporate cards (Visa/MasterCard/AMEX/JCB/China Union Pay/ Diners/Discover and many others), the buyer can also select a third-party supply chain finance partner to provide cash flow leverage to their supplier community.
Who are your major competitors?
In this particular area of the market we are considered unique. We partner with major financial institutions that have relationships with large buying organisations. We work as a team to help the buying organisations support their cash management optimisation strategies as well process efficiencies. Our platform is automated and removes a significant number of non-valued added manual processes out of the finance of the procurement departments, with the objective of meeting or exceeding cash management optimisation, process optimisation ,compliance, audit and cost reductions targets.
What was 2012 like for Invapay?
We are seeing positive growth. We have some very large buying organisations that are utilising our platform for their procurement and payments. We are strategic partners with Financial Institutions who have confidence in our ability to deliver our solutions across the globe.
What would you say are currently the hottest trends in payments?
The banks have several traditional processes that they have to revise. This is not least because Basel 111 and SEPA is coming around the corner, which impacts their agility to meet the market demands. I’m not sure that all the banks are totally prepared at present, the cost and time required to develop new services on legacy systems has a significant impact on them, and they have to deliver up in time. We are SEPA capable through our Banking partner Coutts, who keep us fully aware of what’s coming around the legislation corner.
We are seeing a lot of activity in the mobile payments space as well which is very interesting for us as we have developments in mPOS with our partners, and will be launching into that particular market soon.
The challenge as always has been which solution does the buying organisation/consumer choose as the most positive methodology of settling any commitments with a bank or partner?
There are differing views on whether this will be the year of the mobile wallet. What is yours?
Consumer confidence is there if you look at the younger generation – say below the age of 35 – who are more accepting of new methods of payment. I believe that it’s generational led, but when we look at mobile payment offers in the marketplace, there are a number of confusing offers, and they’re not particularly well regulated. Invapay is a FCA regulated business and from a systems security perspective, I am not convinced that all of the new players have paid sufficient attention or are mature enough to offer regulated safe and secure solutions to the market.
There are many offers in the market which have not got a fully rounded value proposition. I believe that Visa, MasterCard and AMEX are using their strong, secure infrastructure to facilitate change. Yet with so many new players coming into the marketplace, we all have to be mindful of the partners we select going forward.
What is Invapay strategic plan going forward?
Our strategy going forward is to build on our current platform capability which is very strong, secure and very flexible. The roadmap is to develop additional features and functions that we believe our customers will benefit from. We will also be selective with our partners going forward with a total focus on the Global B2B space where we have the greatest leverage in terms of our experience and capability. There may be a time when will be driven towards the consumer end of the marketplace.
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