The startup launched back in 2015 with a mission to simplify invoice management through collaboration (and a dash of AI). Interestingly, Stampli said it was uninterested at the time in providing a payments product alongside its collaborative suite, focusing instead on the process of procure to pay.
This latest announcement marks a shift in the company’s thinking. Cofounder and CEO Eyal Feldman explained that conversations with customers revealed just how frustrated many organizations are with the current B2B payments landscape.
Organizations have several options: cut and mail their own paper checks, use ACH, or sign on with a payments provider to use ‘e-payments.’
Cutting and mailing checks is a pre-historic, time-intensive activity that doesn’t really belong in 2020, while ACH (which comes at a very low, flat cost) often groups multiple transactions into a single sum, making it difficult for accounting to reconcile individual line item purchases.
“Under the misleading banner of “e-payments,” [payments providers] offer AP departments a rebate and promise vendors faster payment,” explained Feldman in a blog post. “However, in order for vendors to get the payment, they must accept payments as virtual credit cards, which come with up to a 3.5% credit card fee per transaction.”
And many payments providers do not provide the data extracted from invoices and transactions back to the organization as a way to stay sticky.
Stampli’s customers illuminated these problems for the startup, which used to be payments agnostic. With the launch of Stampli Direct Pay, the company is still payments flexible, letting organizations work with their existing or different payments providers. But Stampli now offers an option that aims to resolve many of these industry issues.
Because Stampli’s core product already tracks all the contextual and relevant info for every transaction, that information is readily available during payment approval. Direct Pay also offers ACH as a payment option, but separates individual transactions out for easy reconciliation. And for customers who want to stick with checks, Stampli Direct Pay offers a service that allows customers to approve digital checks which come directly from their bank account with their signature, with Stampli handling printing, stamping, and mailing.
Stampli also offers a vendor payment portal that extracts the needed data for each vendor and lets the customer own that data, which can be downloaded and taken to another payment provider.
The company has spent the last four years solving an entirely different problem.
Usually, teams purchase products or services and those invoices end up in the finance department with little to no context, setting off a game of duck duck goose within the organization as accountants try to get the information and approvals they need to pay out that vendor.
Stampli, which has raised $32 million to date, built out a collaborative platform that allows non-accountants to participate in the invoice management process in a way that’s straightforward and simple. Each invoice becomes a communications hub, allowing folks across various departments fill in the blanks and. answer questions about the purchase. Stampli also uses machine learning to recognize patterns around allocating costs, managing approval workflows, and the data that needs to be extracted from invoices.
Each invoice is turned into its own communications hub, allowing people across departments to fill in the blanks and answer questions so that payments are handled as efficiently as possible. Moreover, Stampli uses machine learning to recognize patterns around how the organization allocates cost, manages approval workflows and what data is extracted from invoices.
With the launch of Direct Pay, Stampli is poised to take on a variety of new competitors with an obvious differentiator. The company has processed more than $13 billion in invoices annually.
The team has also grown to more than 100 employees. Fifty-six percent of the company’s US workforce is non-white and 33 percent of the executive leadership team is female, according to Feldman.
This post first appeared here: https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/20/stampli-an-invoice-management-software-startup-launches-a-payments-product/