One of the biggest problems of Hungarian SMEs may be solved with a single click
One of the biggest problems Hungarian small and medium sized enterprises may face is long payment deadlines. They often need to wait three months or even six for their invoices to be settled. The smart factoring solution offered by PénTech is to help them. Companies can receive financial resources in 24 hours, without any paper work, absolutely online. We talked with Benjamin Berényi, CEO of the startup.
What is the difference between traditional and smart factoring?
There a plenty of problems with traditional factoring companies: they are slow, circuitous, inflexible, expect long-term (at least half- or one-year) commitment and in many cases it is not transparent for the client at all, under what conditions and costs they can receive money, if they can receive at all. By contrast, we offer an online process, where debts can be immediately financed following a short registration and identification process, even if it is about a single invoice only.
What does it mean in practice?
After providing some of the company data and going through a short online identification process, the client can immediately upload their unpaid invoice and relating documents to the website of PénTech. Following this, our algorithm performs automated financial analyses relying on the data provided and the documents uploaded and based on the outcome, a personalized offer is made and a financial framework is established. In the next step, we make sure of the existence and compliance of the invoice uploaded and we also contact the customer of the invoice if needed. If the data are correct and the invoice exists, we pay the invoice amount to the seller. By the due date of the invoice, the original customer settles the invoice towards our financial partner, BÁV Faktor Zrt.
It is an important criteria that the invoice should not be overdue, since we are not engaged in debt collection, we only manage invoices approved by the customer and expected to be duly paid.
The remuneration of financing the invoices starts from 0.9% of the invoice value but depending on the deadline and the risk level, it usually ends up somewhere between 1 and 3%.
What are the algorithms for the financial analysis?
We develop the sophistication level of the algorithm in 3 steps. The first one is manual risk analysis supported by our IT professionals. This is what factoring companies and banks usually work with today. We took this knowledge and automated it. In our system the necessary checks are performed by a rule-based algorithm, serving as the basis of our offer. The third step is moving to AI (artificial intelligence), when unstructured data are also inegrated in the system. By this the process is much faster and more profitable.
Due to the solvency issues deriving from long payment deadlines a bunch of Hungarian SMEs have gone bankrupt. Was it also a motivation factor for you?
Indeed. More than 50% of Hungarian SMEs say that their operation became unfeasible because they faced solvency issues. In addition to enterprises going bankrupt, another issue is that they cannot grow in a sustainable way. In many cases they cannot undertake new projects and orders because they don’t have a sufficient working capital, they are waiting for their debts to be paid and until they are not paid, they cannot invest into new opportunities. By the way, this means for us a very positive sense of mission.
Our solution helps SMEs to finance their operation in a more efficient way and by this we help them grow.
What was the initial idea?
I used to work in the fintech segment of Berlin for some time, where invoice financing was a really hot topic. I saw that in the CEE region traditional factoring market is growing at an immense pace, while the product offered is basically not good. In Western Europe and in the US, more up-to-date solutions have already appeared, but in Hungary and the neighbouring countries there have been no solution, which would have provided financing in a fast and convenient way with absolute transparency, whenever it is required by the client.
What is the team like? What is your common philosophy?
We wouldn’t like to make the classic errors of random development, while we are not even aware of the real needs. We establish our processes so that they are serving already our first clients’ needs as much as possible. We appreciate each and every experience and feedback so that we can develop an ideal product. Our team has grown to 9 persons but we still pay much attention to that our developers have an insight into the knowledge gathered in the course of client interviews.
We offer a real solution to real people with real problems. We are not engaged in random development. We pay attention to the context instead.
When will the platform be launched?
We are entering the market with our public factoring service in Hungary in Q4 2019. We expect the most immense activity in construction, health and agricultural sector. Later on it is possible that we will provide silent factoring service, as well.
The next step is to open to export factoring and we also started to prepare for international expansion. Our aim is to become one of the most active and strongest market operators in the region.
PénTech applied for and got selected into the third incubation program of MKB Fintechlab at the end of 2018. In the framework of this, they received professional support, financial investment, as well as the opportunity of a partnership with MKB Bank.