Q&A with Alex Oritogun, Head of Business Development at Populous World
Since Alex joined the Populous World team in August, he has impressed us with his dedication to the task at hand, and his exceptional interpersonal skills with entrepreneurs and businesses that have on-boarded as invoice sellers.
The range of businesses that Alex has introduced onto the platform spreads across various sectors including educational institutions, investment banks, recruitment and wholesalers. When it comes to invoice financing, our services are not limited to just funding cash flow gaps, but also to gather a deeper insight into the challenges that SMEs face in the operations to grow and sustain their business.
Alex shares his insights with Lou Chan, over his experience from the last few months…
Alex, thank you for your time, how is your experience at Populous World going so far?
My time so far has been amazing, I always knew it was going to be a challenge in terms of adapting to the new technologies that we are using. I’ve always worked in traditional banking so my initial intrigue into Populous World and the blockchain was to see how we can merge both worlds. And so far, it’s working out great!
You spend a great deal of time engaging with clients and obtaining valuable insight into how their business operates. What have you discovered in terms of the challenges that SMEs face to sustain and grow?
Mainly, late payments from their customers, this really is a huge obstacle for SMEs and I have learnt that it really puts a strain on businesses and hinders their growth and sustainability objectives, as well as maintaining a healthy cash flow.
Another difficulty is finding a funder that will adapt to their business model is also a challenge for SMEs as a lot of businesses are locked into agreements with financiers that don’t understand their business and the constant obstacles they face. It’s a constant learning process for me also, once I know the challenges that SMEs face, the more we can improve our services and look into areas where we can help for future clients.
How has an injection of capital from Populous World helped the businesses that we have funded?
One of the biggest issues that businesses face is paying their staff and supplies to operate. We all know how hard it is to balance the books at the end of the month and pay for daily expenses and overheads. Most of our clients have responded with great feedback post-funding, expressing that the injection of cash flow has helped them to grow, bid for new contracts, explore new investment opportunities and take on new projects that they weren’t in a position to before. This makes me feel great knowing that we are making a positive contribution and a difference to such talented and innovative UK businesses.
Which businesses have impressed you so far?
We fund a business that produces honey. It’s an ethical beekeeping business that supports local bee farmers and promotes awareness about the wonders of this incredible insect. What I love about them is that they are full of passion and dedicated to their cause. They are very business savvy and have so many innovative ideas and a great mission statement for their company. They currently stock their honey in many premium grocery stores and local food markets. Every jar of honey that is sold helps to establish more beehives in the UK, in turn helping to reverse the decline of nature’s wonder, the honeybee. The combination of ethically creating a great product whilst supporting local farmers and nature being the love interest, is rather impressive to me.
What does Populous World offer that is different to other invoice financing providers?
Flexibility – we offer a truly bespoke service where you can actually pick and choose which invoices you finance. You can credit insure that invoice without having to get a full turnover cover. Moreover, you get the quality of care; we truly value our clients and want to see them succeed.
Speed – once we verify all checks, funds can reach businesses within 24 hours.
Why do you think that invoice financing is a great choice of funding for SMEs as opposed to traditional loan methods?
Invoice finance is the way forward, although some businesses are unaware of it. Perhaps the reason for this is the lack of education surrounding invoice finance. In comparison to traditional bank loans, invoice finance can release cash fast and provides flexibility and eliminates the pressure to do the full turnover financing. We in particular fund a lot of start-ups, whereas traditional banks tend not to.
At Populous World, there are no lengthy contracts or minimum invoice amount, and we can finance invoices on an ad hoc basis suited to the needs of the business.
What do you predict for the future of invoice financing?
I strongly believe that businesses that don’t utilise invoice financing will struggle to compete in the market place, especially if it’s a business that endures long payment cycles with their customers. As it stands today, more and more SMEs are aware of invoice finance. Statistics from UK Finance show that the industry is growing fast. In 2017, significant growth in funding has occurred amongst medium-sized and larger clients (those with annual turnovers of £10 million to £100 million). The number of clients in this category grew to 4,731 businesses, an increase of 12%, while the level of funding increasing by 20%.
For UK businesses, I think there will be a greater demand for invoice financing post Brexit, as there are a lack of incumbents that want to fund SMEs, due to the uncertainty of the economy. At Populous World we are well prepared and capitalised to fund SMEs whatever uncertainties Brexit will bring.
For more information on how to access the benefits of invoice financing for your business, contact [email protected]