Founders: Paul Verić & Matt Peacock
What products, services, solutions or technology have you developed?
IPromise is a SaaS (Software as a Service) product designed to solve the broken invoice payment system.
Invoice payment is where a service provider does the work and invoices the client for payment after the project has been completed. The payment process is slow (generally 4+ weeks after project completion), payment is unfairly controlled by the Client and always unsecured which is why there is a systemic problem with overdue and non-payments, bad debt, cashflow and ongoing financial woes for the Supplier.
IPromise is an innovative app that provides a quoting system that safely secures Client payment in our BNZ Trust Account before work starts. The Supplier gets paid within hours of them successfully completing the project. We have integrated KYC, Xero, a leading payment provider, instant messaging, post transaction reviews (like Trademe and Uber) all in an end to end payment solution that is automated and controlled by the Supplier and their Client.
If you operate in the service industry, IPromise is built to improve and secure your business’s cash flow. Whether you work in Professional Services, Construction, Consulting, Manufacturing, or any other service-based industry.
WHAT KEY CUSTOMER PROBLEMS OR CUSTOMER “WANTS” DOES YOUR SOLUTION SOLVE?
The problem of overdue and non-payment of invoices is widely known, accepted and reported on regularly in the media and various business and government reports (not just in NZ but around the World).
Not getting paid for work legitimately completed causes Suppliers tremendous stress, anxiety, cash flow issues, additional costs, lost productivity and in many cases businesses collapse.
Currently this payment problem is being addressed by placing additional burden and responsibility on the Supplier via unsecured overdrafts, invoicing financing, invoice factoring, debt recovery agencies, debt purchasing and automated invoice reminders. None of these methods solve the root cause of the problem – securing the Client Payment. In fact all of the above methods still do not determine if the Client can even afford to pay or that they will eventually pay – yet the Supplier incurs even more cost to implement them.
It is also widely known that Clients regularly lose money through paying unsecured deposits for work never completed as agreed. Recent reports by Xero show some staggering statistics that most people are not aware of that clearly show that the current invoice payment process is inefficient, unfair and completely un-secured for small businesses.
- Currently there is over $7.4 billion in overdue payments
- 20+ million hours spent chasing late payments per annum
- 79% report having overdue invoices
- 42% of Clients have insufficient funds to pay their invoices
- 4 months of the year is spent in negative cash flow
IPromise is a fair and secure solution to the current invoice payments problem. It’s quite simple, if someone doesn’t have the money to pay for a Supplier to do the work then they shouldn’t book the job. IPromise solves the problem of insufficient funds because the Client has to have the money to transfer into the secure BNZ Trust Account where it is held until successful project, or stage, completion. The Supplier is automatically paid within hours of successful job completion and there is no need for them to create and send an invoice or receipt as this is automated. IPromise disrupts the current time consuming, failing invoice payment process and promotes a fairer, faster and secure payment process. For a Supplier the key benefits are:
- Payment within hours of successful project completion
- No chasing unpaid invoices
- Significantly reduced payment administration time, up to 80%
- Safe and secure for you and your Client
- Easily manage deposits, project stages and variations
IPromise has valuable benefits for Clients that use it because the system encourages Suppliers to be more detailed with their quotes, there is a rating and reviewing process after project completion, which promotes accountability, and Clients no longer have unsecured deposits or payments. With IPromise Suppliers are always paid within hours of successful job completion and Client payments are only released when they are satisfied with the project. For a Client the key benefits are:
- Client stays in control of the projects and payments
- No more unsecured deposits or payments for unseen work or materials
- Motivated Suppliers can see the secured payment
- Transparent and documented variation process
Who and where are your target customers?
Our initial target customers are any Small Businesses who provide a service and invoice after that service has been provided. We are delighted to already be making an impact on NZ based businesses, and plan to expand to other markets including Australia, USA, and the UK. Late payments, non-payment, unsecured payments are a global problem that (in our opinion) has not been adequately solved for Suppliers or Clients anywhere in the world, and our solution addresses this issue.
How and when did you first come up with the idea for your business?
Matt Peacock is a respected Civil Engineer and has gained intimate knowledge of the construction industry through his 20+ years practising engineering (including being a Director of his own engineering firm for 17+ years). He has also invented and commercialised his own engineering products that are sold in the construction industry.
About 2.5 years ago Matt approached Paul Verić (an old school and surf life saving friend) with an idea he had borne out of his own frustrations and those of the 100’s of Suppliers and Clients he has interacted with that work in the invoice payment system. He has experienced (first-hand) the hours and hours of wasted administration time spent in the slow, unfair and unsecured invoice payment system and he has personally lost 10’s of thousands of dollars as a result of the non-payment of his invoices.
2.5 years later, (after meeting almost every day), IPromise has evolved and was launched in September 2022. Paul and Matt are natural problem solvers, optimists and determined to live their lives to the max, being the best they can be, not just in business, but in sport and their commitment to their families and community.
Matt and Paul are determined to resolve the archaic payment landscape that simply isn’t working, for not only engineers, but the rest of businesses who invoice and patiently wait for payment.
We have always been community minded stemming from our surf life saving days. We regularly coach and volunteer within our local community. So donating the interest profit from the BNZ Trust Account to charity each quarter is a way for us to continue our philanthropy. Our first charity of choice was Starship Hospital who received $1,102.76 from IPromise.
What are KEY things about your business that you are proud of?
- Compiling a stellar team. Our founding team of staff and contractors/partners is first class. Every day we feel lucky to have a supportive team of amazing people on the inside and outside helping us to disrupt the problem of late payments. Particular mention to our CTO Simon Spurdle who has had an immense contribution to IPromise – we simply couldn’t have done it without him.
- Getting to the start line. Launching a startup is challenging and requires you to be both bold and vulnerable at the same time. However, without question it has been the most exciting and rewarding project we have embarked on in our lives.
- Bringing together multiple systems including payment, quoting, project management, communication, accounting, security and verification technologies into one new innovative end-to-end technological system that is predominately automated has been such a challenge but something we are immensely proud of.
- Finally, we are proud of our relationship with the BNZ Bank. To have a top tier bank as a trusted partner, holding our secure Trust Account is a fantastic privilege. The BNZ has gone above and beyond in all areas and the rigour (that you would expect) that has pushed us to improve and deliver, and provides essential credibility for us as we begin to establish ourselves in the market.
How do you market your business and what advice do you have for others around marketing?
We found an incredible company called Virtual Marketers who filled a gap in our collective skill sets seamlessly and professionally. They have researched, developed and implemented an amazing marketing strategy for us that is exceeding our expectations.
Like with all areas of your startup if you don’t have the skills don’t bluff it, upskill or get the skills you need. Don’t be proud and think you can do it all yourselves… you can’t. No one can.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in building your business so far?
Bringing together multiple systems including payment, quoting, project management, communication, accounting, security and verification technologies into one new end-to-end technological system has been such a challenge but one we have enjoyed meeting head on.
The next challenge is re-educating the market to understand the benefits of a re-engineered payment process. IPromise will change not only how businesses think about payments in the service industry but most importantly change their lives for the better by enabling fast, fair and secure payments.
What is the biggest entrepreneur lesson you would like to share with other Kiwis thinking of starting their own business?
Get the right cofounder! Without a shred of doubt having cofounders with different but complementary skill sets is so important, but equally having an unwavering common purpose and belief in the company has been integral to our journey and success to date. We are lucky our combination gelled from day one, we are lucky we are equally committed to IPromise and we are lucky we have had so much fun along the way.
Story created in partnership with Venture Taranaki.