When it comes to managing inventory, a common challenge that many businesses face is finding the right balance between having enough stock to meet customer demand while avoiding the costs associated with excess inventory; a balance [email protected] hopes to deliver.
This latest Behind the Idea feature sits down with Alessandro Zamboni, founder and CEO of the London-based fintech [email protected] to explore just how the platform is helping businesses turn their stock into much-needed funds capable of powering new growth.
Businesses all over the world are currently facing a challenging climate, where having a healthy inventory is crucial for the functionality of a business. However, locked capital in the form of excess inventory can prevent businesses from realising the true value of their funds. As a solution to this problem, this company’s inventory monetisation service can be considered appropriate.
Here, Zamboni details the journey of bringing the fintech to fruition, the challenges it has sought to overcome and how it is promising new heights for its users:
Zamboni, tell us more about [email protected] and its offering
[email protected] is a London-based inventory servicer, utilising its fintech platform, which helps businesses to grow by providing access to funding to monetise their inventory.
Our approach allows businesses to alleviate the cost of unsold inventory in warehouses or in transit, by offering a commercial solution that doesn’t incur debt.
Lenders offering traditional inventory financing options often heavily discount the value of inventory, and they typically impose multiple covenants or link the financing to an overriding receivables facility. As a result, businesses may find it difficult to generate cash flow until they sell their goods to the end buyer.
Businesses of any size, operating in any sector that deals with goods having a long shelf life or that mature in value over time, can benefit from [email protected] This includes a diverse range of businesses, such as whisky distillers, cheese makers, aircraft manufacturers and car parts producers.
What problem is [email protected] trying to solve?
The problem [email protected] solves is common across every business that retains physical goods.
Historically, inventory has been an unattractive asset to fund for financial institutions. Many perceive it as a high-risk option and vulnerable to fraud because it is difficult to monitor stock accurately and effectively.
[email protected] is providing a means for businesses globally to improve their capital positions by providing access to funding based exclusively on the value of their eligible inventory. In turn, businesses can deploy these funds to facilitate growth.
[email protected] combines three elements to solve a longstanding problem for businesses and enables them to unlock capital held in unsold inventory.
Firstly, our monitoring technology gives financial institutions and other funders greater risk transparency and as a result, they can provide funding at a more competitive level. Afterwards, we utilise accounting and legal practices that enable reporting the purchase of the inventory as a true sale on the business’s balance sheet. This ensures that the business does not incur debt.
Finally, [email protected] aligns the investment appetite of funders with client companies looking to monetise their warehouse goods, to enable monetisation transactions.
Our team has an understanding of this market issue and a drive to solve this common, but complex, problem efficiently, which has resulted in a straightforward inventory solution.
Since launch, how has the company evolved?
When we launched on the London Stock Exchange in 2020, the world looked very different. For supply chains and inventory-heavy businesses, 2021 changed everything, it was a year of global crisis and disruption.
The rebuilding of supply chains resulted in the decades-old ‘just in time’ approach giving way to ‘just in case’. This created a need for businesses to find alternative solutions to manage the increased cost demands and impact on cash flow associated with retaining greater levels of inventory.
Monetising this inventory and alleviating the increased cost holds an obvious and growing appeal which makes our proposition all the more relevant.
What has been the biggest challenge or most ‘tricky moment’ to overcome?
[email protected] offers a cost-effective solution for businesses and an alternative to traditional financing, allowing businesses to avoid incurring debt. For corporates, it is not overstating to say that it had appeared too good to be true.
There was, understandably, scepticism until they saw the process in action. Those doubts have now been removed.
Potential funders are now available for [email protected] with an appetite to monetise the inventory of businesses in the UK and Italy; with new geographies expected to be added in the future.
Our pipeline of corporates is strong, and with clear proof of concept in our initial target markets, we are now ready to realise our business’s potential.
What are your biggest achievements or ‘proudest moment’ so far?
The importance of completing our first inventory monetisation last year cannot be overstated. The time and effort invested into our technology, processes and procedures and ensuring we have the right talent onboard were enormous.
Making our first transaction a reality is evidence of this incredible investment in our people and our company coming to fruition.
The monetisation of €1.6million of inventory with funding from the VeChain Foundation enabled us to put the platform and our systems to the test. The fact that this monetisation occurred with funds from a non-fungible token (NFT) issuance is a testament to the agility of this marketplace.
It also opened a new source of funding, cryptocurrencies, alongside focusing on our more traditional markets.
[email protected] was founded to help businesses grow by providing access to its platform in order to facilitate the funding to monetise their inventories. We are now doing this in Italy and over time will add more and more countries and clients.
How would you describe the culture of [email protected]?
[email protected] is a multicultural company, with employees based in locations across the globe. Different cultures bring a variety of strengths and breadth of thought, which has been invaluable as the company has grown and developed.
We have been really fortunate to have hired a cohort of high-calibre team members across the business who not only believe in [email protected]’s vision but work tirelessly to help solve an age-old problem.
We very much look forward to continuing our growth journey and expect to expand our headcount to reflect the broadening needs of the business as more and more revenue streams come online.
Finally, what’s in store for the future?
[email protected] has a healthy and growing pipeline of monetisations to complete and corporates to support. We hope that these will convert in due course and allow us to continue growing our reach across Italy, Europe and the UK before expanding into new markets, such as the UAE and the US.
We want every business which grapples with the problem of holding unsold inventory to view us as a cost-effective solution that can improve their working capital. For our funding partners, we want to minimise the guesswork, so that they can confidently invest in inventory: an untapped real asset class.