Singapore’s ApexPeak acquires Dubai tech startup Cashnomix
By Digital News Asia February 2, 2015
- Cloud platform that eases short-term cash for small businesses
- Gives Singapore company a foothold in the Middle East
SINGAPORE-headquartered non-bank capital provider ApexPeak said it has acquired tech start-up Cashnomix, which has a cloud-based platform – currently in beta – that enables small businesses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ease short-term cash by receiving early payment on invoices.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Cashnomix was founded in the Dubai Silicon Oasis, a free trade zone that offers incentives and benefits to companies operating within the tech park.
The 100% acquisition will provide the alternative finance firm ApexPeak a footprint in the Middle East and will complement its presence in other emerging markets, such as South-East Asia and Africa, the company said in a statement.
Cashnomix recently completed a prototype credit scoring algorithm for invoices, as well as growing a deal book in the UAE worth US$1.2 million in small business receivable purchases, ApexPeak added.
‘Everybody thinks the Middle East is flush with cash. While it is true to some degree, that cash does not readily reach small businesses,” said Cashnomix founder and chief executive officer Sujith Kurup.
“The process for small businesses to get short-term finance is difficult and, furthermore, the cost of borrowing from traditional lenders is very high, between 18-30% per annum,” he added.
Sujith was formerly the operations director of Aztec Money, an online global marketplace that provides export trade financing as an alternative to traditional bank loans, lines of credit, and invoice factoring.
He decided to headquarter in Dubai, as the UAE is a fast growing market where short-term capital is impeded, according to the ApexPeak statement.
Today, small enterprises in the UAE comprise 94% of the total number of companies and 90% of the total workforce.
‘The Cashnomix risk model solves a dilemma that has troubled the UAE for years. Credit data on companies are sparse, so making an underwriting decision is labour-intensive,” said Sujith.
“The algorithm we have built collects signals from a large variety of sources to determine a score and a confidence index for each invoice,” he added.
With the acquisition, Sujith will assume the role of managing director of Middle East operations, and roll out ApexPeak’s suite of working capital products in the Dubai market first, before exploring growth in other parts of the UAE.
Cashnomix claims its platform enables small businesses to get cash immediately by discounting invoices due for payment in 60 or 90 days. The platform facilitates selective and confidential invoice discounting for small business owners on a 'true-sale’ basis.
Several alternative finance companies have implemented automated credit scores; for instance, Lenddo, LendUp, Moven and Kabbage derive a score from social media, such as from Facebook.
“The credit scoring application has far reaching consequences for South-East Asia and Africa,” said ApexPeak chief executive officer Gakim Solomons.
“The result is faster underwriting. Today, we can provide SMEs (small and medium enterprises with an answer in five days. Tomorrow, we will be able to approve transactions in a fraction of the time,” he added.
ApexPeak said it eases companies’ cash-flow problems by buying e-invoices before they fall due. Founded in 2012, the firm provides in excess of US$1.3 billion trade finance to businesses located in 25 countries worldwide.
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