In 2012, Billhop broke new ground in Sweden. Now, the company is ready to take on Europe
Billhop was launched in 2012 with the aim to make life easier for small businesses. Fast forward a few years and Billhop is now ready to step out into the rest of Europe.
With four years behind us, we’re reflecting on our journey with Billhop so far, as well as everything we have to look forward to. We’re talking about the Fintech year in 2011, Billhop’s organic growth, the new team, product development, and our European plans.
2011 – a good year for FinTech
2011 was an exciting year in many ways for Billhop. Sweden finally implemented a new payment service directive from the EU. Before this directive, it was difficult for small businesses to get the permit needed to be able to handle customers’ money
“2011 opened new doors with many opportunities for a FinTech company. In conjunction with the new directives, we were able to turn Billhop from an idea, into a reality. Everything was very new, and we were among the first in Sweden to submit an application to Finansinspektionen (the Swedish FSA) to start a business for payment services”, explains Erik Malm, CTO.
Billhop’s organic growth
Billhop has grown organically, and the first round of funding was made in 2013. Billhop is constantly working to introduce new features with the aim to facilitate payments further, both for SME’s as well as corporates.
During these years of rapid development, there was another round of financing. An important milestone was reached when several large established investors, including state owned Almi Invest, chose to become financiers in 2014.
“This year, we have completed our third round of financing, with an issue of SEK 18 million in new capital. It has enabled us to expand our organisation and has prepared us for international expansion”, explains Sebastian Andreescu, CEO.
A multi-dimensional product
Traditionally, consumer goods are purchased using credit cards. In contrast, we pay suppliers using invoices when buying materials or services.
“Billhop has succeeded in creating an innovative bridge between the card and invoicing infrastructures, and made it possible for companies and individuals to pay bills using their cards”, explains Sebastian Andreescu, CEO.
Billhop’s basic idea is a cost effective, simple and flexible liquidity solution. For companies with strained liquidity, both large and small, it is often cheaper and easier to pay invoices by credit card, compared to selling their invoices to a factoring company.
“Liquidity is often a concern amongst small business owners. Billhop offers a good solution to these liquidity problem, as businesses are able to pay their bills in advance using their credit cards. Other options are often administratively burdensome and more expensive”, explains Roozbeh Charli, COO.
“The goal is to become the entrepreneur’s best friend”.
-According to Erik Malm, CTO
A new concept that few know about
A challenge at Billhop has been that we are a new concept that few know about. That’s why Billhop is constantly working in all aspects to explain what the company wants to achieve, and why Billhop is a good option for companies struggling with liquidity.
“In the first stage, it was a challenge to get started and bring in customers. Now in the second stage, we are facing new challenges as we expand and launch our services in other countries. We have a few competitors in the US, one in Sweden, but none in the rest of Europe who offer the same type of service we do. Much of the work is about breaking new ground, and that’s also what’s fun about working at Billhop – we are experimenting the whole way”, explains Helen von Bahr, CMO.
According to Sebastian Andreescu, CEO, “Billhop has, since February, doubled the number of employees, and we are constantly working to strengthen our professional team, who are the backbone of the company. Several of our employees have backgrounds within the industry from companies such as Klarna and Nordnet, and who therefore understand what it takes to operate in a regulated industry that is simultaneously undergoing technological development.”
The next step – to build a European business
Billhop is now focusing on implementing a geographical expansion, and will, in the near future, become available in most European markets.
“Obviously, it is very tempting to become a more global company with a focus first on the European market. We understand that business owners not only have suppliers in their home countries, but also internationally. We see that there are not only opportunities in the UK, but also in Holland, Germany, France and Spain. However, it is also a challenge to become more international as both the maturity and the view of credit differs in different markets. Each country has its own model for managing cards and bills. However, we are still convinced that Billhop will become an increasingly attractive link in the chain of financial services”, explains Roozbeh Charli, COO.
What drives Billhop to continuously develop the service?
“We are breaking new ground – which is challenging, but which also brings great new opportunities for us to develop a service that takes care of the needs of companies”, explains Sebastian Andreescu, CEO.
Erik Malm, CTO continues – “Billhop takes established infrastructures and concepts, such as paying bills and using cards, and creates a new service by first looking at them from a different perspective, and then connecting the two. It allows us to present a product in a way that is both understandable and user-friendly. We are data and tech-driven, and we have always wanted to develop an innovative service that we can be proud of and would want to use ourselves”.
“Looking ahead, our goal is geographical expansion. At the same time, we want to have developed a platform with a functionality that can be utilized by both SMEs and larger companies”, explains Roozbeh Charli, COO.
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