Q: Did you bootstrap it or did you raise outside money?
A: I've been bootstrapping this so far with personal savings of $50,000 to $100,000.
Q: What's the biz do?
A: We streamline design and delivery of early payment offers to a client's supplier network in exchange for discounts on approved invoices. Our cloud-based platform is free for suppliers. They get access to an easy-to-use portal where they see the status of their invoice and can access early-payment options.
Q: Value proposition?
A: A lot of companies have cash sitting around earning low interest and suppliers have invoices outstanding which can be leveraged to borrow funds. We make it easy for clients to pay suppliers earlier [than the typical 30 days], using excess cash in exchange for discounts. The discounts represent great returns and their suppliers get cash without hidden fees or paperwork associated with banks or third-party commercial financial firms.
Q: The biz model?
A: We make money from the buyers. We don't charge any fees in excess of the returns they will make. We get paid a fraction of the discount fee a buyer gets from an early-payment offer.
Q: Your customers?
A: We're piloting with Yards Brewing Co. and are in discussions with a regional health-care provider.
Q: Your competitors? And what differentiates you?
A: There are four or five other players, but the main differentiator is that our platform has a simple userface to give them information they need at a glance. Suppliers get invoice approval notices and available early-payment offers via email, which they can accept directly from their inbox.
Q: Biggest challenge?
A: With any B2B business, it's getting that first pilot.
Q: How big a biz is this?
A: We have five on the team, two paid, two interns with Wharton fellowships to work with us and an unpaid adviser.
Q: What's next?
A: We plan on raising money, probably in October, from angel investors. We'd use it to build out the team and develop additional tools for our platform.
On Twitter: @MHinkelman