Posted on December 20, 2019 by staff

FinTech to ramp up in 2020 after successful launch


The CEO of a Manchester-based FinTech is ramping up for growth in 2020 after a successful soft launch.

Nicola Weedall launched invoice payment platform Autopaid in 2017 and has successfully paid out and recovered nearly £250,000 in the first six months

The entrepreneur said she’s spent the last two years “testing, testing and testing the technology and the processes” to the point she now plans to scale up the number of customers from five to 100.

“The important thing about lending money is getting it back,” she told BusinessCloud. “That’s why I’ve not tried to rush Autopaid. You need to test your product, your perimeters and everything that you’re building. It’s a really tricky business to build and automate and the best way of doing that is to keep testing it.”

Autopaid has lent £250,000 with circa 100 transactions to its initial five customers and been repaid in an average time of 27 days.

“We’ve got zero bad debt, no disputed invoices and everything is 100 per cent verified prior to funding,” explained Weedall.

She said they deliberately only worked with five customers because everything has been checked manually as they build their customer base and migrate over to an automated model.

“By manually checking we were able to identify two potential frauds,” said Weedall. “In both cases it was people trying to get money without a bone fide transaction being in place. Needless to say we didn’t pay out.

“We know that 50,000 businesses close their doors each year because of late payments so there’s a massive need for an invoice payment platform like Autopaid.

“The magic number for us is 100. Once we get to 100 customers and demonstrate our technology works then the sky’s the limit.”

Weedall said she’s taken lessons from the failure of another North West FinTech – DueCourse – which went into administration in 2017 after a multi-million pound fundraise.

DueCourse was a software platform that allowed SMEs to get paid within hours after sending an invoice rather than waiting up to 90 days – unlocking money tied up in unpaid invoices.

In 2016 the Manchester-based start-up raised £6.25m in funding and was backed by founders and investors in Zoopla, LoveFilm, TransferWise and LinkedIn.

Weedall joined DueCourse a few months before the business went into administration and said the big problem was that a third of their clients didn’t inform them when their outstanding invoice had been paid – effectively meaning they were paid twice.

She said: “DueCourse was a great product that was designed by great people but there is more to getting money out the door. The best way to describe it is that the product worked fantastically well, the customers were coming onboard and everybody loved it. The important thing about lending money is getting it back and that’s where the buck stops with DueCourse. It was an important lesson.”