While working as head of treasury at Braintree, Boris de Souza once found to be $ 90 million “missing” for more than two weeks due to poor infrastructure provision.
“It was my first week at work and I got an email from a customer telling me ‘I think you cut us $ 90 million,’ ‘he recalls. “I looked and they were right. I found out that the system was faulty, I fixed it and wire the money. But to my surprise it took 2 ½ weeks to find out they were missing $ 90 million.
De Souza, who was also the founding engineer of digital banking at Chime and the production manager of Slack, said all business space payments have “really not developed” over the past few years.
“Most commercial payments are still heavily made through paper checks and incomprehensible ACH payments,” he said.
To help settle that problem, he left Braintree 2019 and teamed up with former Chime software engineer. Zhuo Huang to be found Awakened, The Oakland-based startup that is secretly emerging today with a total investment of $ 4 million. The reorganization raised $ 1 million in the first seed cycle led by SignalFire in 2020 and recently closed with a $ 3 million seed fund led by Graycroft and SignalFire. Extraordinary businesses and others are investing in the final round.
Many B2B payment technologies are built on top of B2C technology, such as Stripe, which is designed to handle customer card transactions, according to de Souza. But Streamlined is different, he claims, in that it has the “custom built” B2B transaction infrastructure “from the ground up.”
Many businesses today still offer paper checks and ACH, mostly for registration and compliance. Meanwhile, payment cycles are still “confusing and prone to errors,” he said. In this way, according to de Souza, the company’s accounting department may waste time searching for payments, and then even more time trying to recover personal invoices.
Streamlined’s goal is straightforward: to give businesses the ability to accept payments to their business customers “as they wish and when they want,” whether by paper check, ACH or credit card.
“We make it possible for us to accept payments, regardless of how the payment is made,” de Souza told TechCrunch, “and then give the recipient electronically and the time they decide.” This, he said, could also help businesses and their customers comply and modernize.
The company also emphasized that its infrastructure was designed to allow for quick trade-offs and to “greatly facilitate” reconciliation, which he believed was one of the main types. of the company.
“While Streamlined is really against itself,” he told TechCrunch, “we have to focus on this reconciliation problem.”
Previously, the company was working with fast-growing e-commerce companies, which have grown exponentially in number and size since the start of the COVID-19 disaster, which now handles “tens of thousands” of merchants’ money. every day. It targets businesses with $ 10 million to $ 100 million in GMV, and “strong desire to measure quantities,” de Souza said. But the company’s long-term goal is to “pay B2B for every size and simple complexity.”
“Unlike retail, B2B business is relationship-based, and every relationship is different,” de Souza added. “The way a buyer prefers to pay, or at the time of that payment, comes in the way defined by the relationship between the buyer and the seller, this is the main reason why B2B currencies are fragmented, very complex and still so. “We are facing this challenge with a deep understanding of both buyers and sellers.”
Simplified, he said, it can be compatible with Quickbooks and Shopify and customers can create invoices that have been adjusted or directly with Shopify.
De Souza declined to share estimates of revenue growth, citing only some of its recent growth.has been strongly linked to the latest trends in e-commerce and click for more sentences“It makes money by charging an administrative fee for each payment.
The company plans to use its new capital to increase its workforce by 10 people, especially its engineering team. It is open to hiring people with no experience in the payment industry.
“I think it’s important for people with no payment background to consider the position, and it’s interesting, because you are bringing a new mirror to a problem that people have been eyeing for years,” de Souza said.
SignalFire co-founder and CTO Ilya Kirnos believes the growth of B2B e-commerce has created a need for better payment and reconciliation tools. Brick-and-mortar retailers who were forced to switch their online business when COVID hit had a lot of options when setting up an e-commerce store, he pointed out.
“There are so many advanced tools for B2C e-commerce, whether it is Shopify, Stripe, etc. Kir, ”Kirnos told TechCrunch. But B2B trading is very different – many parties are involved in the transaction, you have to join the invoice, most payments are still paid by check or ACH, not credit card. “There is no direct way to do this today as a merchant online, and this is a structured difference.”
Graycroft partners John Elton agree that “B2B payment client is here.”
“It’s not just about payments – it’s the whole business experience of dealing with payments,” he said. “The current situation is mostly manual, paper-based. closed existing finance and accounts. applications. ”