Over 20% of the $2.1 trillion accounts receivable debt in the US is delinquent, and 1 in 2 small businesses in the US consider accounts receivable management to be the most challenging aspect of their cash management activities. With backing from top industry CEOs and having just raised a Series A financing round, co-founders Ismail Colak and Jean-Marc Freuler are launching Funding Gates (www.fundinggates.com): a new one-stop-shop accounts receivable management platform for small businesses. By automating the screening, monitoring and collection processes around trade credit transactions, their technology enables small businesses to make confident credit decisions and collect their receivables in an easier, quicker and effective way.
NEW YORK, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Mr. Freuler and Mr. Colak are launching an innovative platform, Funding Gates (www.fundinggates.com), which solves a common problem that currently hurts millions of small businesses across the country. The founders are democratizing to the small business segment the effective tools that Fortune 1000 companies currently use to manage their delinquent accounts. Through an easy-to-use and automated accounts receivable management platform, small businesses will not only become more efficient, but will also achieve thousands of dollars in savings.
“Small businesses lack the technology and resources to manage their receivables seamlessly and without hassles,” says Mr. Colak. “When approached by customers asking to make purchases on credit, small businesses pull expensive credit reports from credit bureaus, paying between $20 and $150 per report. If an account is late, calling the customers or sending them reminder letters takes hours, decreases productivity and increases costs. Some business owners decide to engage a lawyer, which in turn can cost them hundreds to thousands of dollars more in legal fees. The last resort is to send the account to a collections agency, which not only can cost 30-50% on the collected amount, but almost always damages the client relationship irreparably.”
According to Mr. Freuler, this costly and inefficient process can be vastly improved: “waiting too long to take action on a late invoice dramatically reduces the likelihood of recovering that payment. Small businesses are not as experienced in managing receivables as, say, a Fortune 1000 credit department. By empowering small businesses with the same effective credit tools currently available only to large companies, we are providing one of the most effective ways for small businesses in America to increase cash flow and manage working capital.”
The Funding Gates platform gives small businesses transparent control of their customer accounts throughout all stages of a credit sale. Once users upload their list of customers and invoices into the system, they can effectively and easily monitor their entire customer portfolio for red flags and be automatically notified of credit updates on a real time basis. For delinquent accounts, small businesses can send payment reminder letters, offer payment installment plans, or start the collections process, all with simple clicks.
“We’re targeting industries and businesses that experience a high delinquency rate, such as construction, buildings supplies, hardware, wholesale distribution, doctors, lawyers, accountants, recruiters, and consultants. Small businesses with less than 100 employees that generate $2-50 million in sales will benefit the most from the Funding Gates platform. Technology has not trickled down to these businesses because existing services are too expensive or they don’t have the patience to deal with very complex systems, which are meant for Fortune 1000 companies.
“It’s time that this industry innovates,” says Mr. Freuler. “The industry is still dominated by 6,000-7,000 old-fashioned agencies that have operated with little-to-no-innovation over the last decade. The cost of collecting delinquent accounts is therefore unreasonably high, thus allowing them to charge such ridiculously high fees. By refreshing the industry through technology and automation, and empowering small businesses to manage their accounts through an intuitive, affordable, and up-to-date platform, we will make life a lot easier and profitable for small business owners.”
The founders are currently conducting private beta tests of the Funding Gates platform with select businesses. The founders plan a public, nationwide launch of the platform shortly after the successful completion of their tests in the next few months.
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