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Sunday, 20 December 2009

E-invoicing Integrated With SME Finance Platform

Alternative trade finance for small businesses is beginning to snowball - at least in the US. Early this month, the Receivables Exchange announced its integration with the Ariba Network, a leading provider of spend management services.

The press release says the integration will enable SMEs "to seamlessly transfer their invoices from the Ariba Network to the Exchange’s proprietary trading platform for auction. Leveraging a cash optimizer tool embedded in the latest release of the Ariba Network, suppliers can calculate their cash needs as compared to their eligible outstanding invoices and select the invoices they want to sell to help them optimize their working capital management and improve their cash flow."

This is virtually the same model Zopa and various collaborators took to potential UK clients and partners in 2008. Marketing was the only (major!) hurdle, and we were in talks with someone very big and friendly to support it. But, as is often the way with these types of services, there were simply too many interim integration steps competing against higher core priorities for the service to go into development.

Full credit to the Receivables Exchange for getting this launched - although I still think they need a bigger brand name that is already well-known to all SME's if they are going to get real traction against the established sources of trade finance. I wish them luck.

Maybe it's a signal that Zopa and its partners should dust off their plans...

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