Cedric Bru, Taulia’s CEO, is no stranger to the world of trade financing and supplier connectivity, having previously worked at one of the pioneers in the sector, Syncada, whose invoicing, payment and finance roots date back nearly 20 years. He joined Taulia three years ago to head up the commercial side of the business and is now running the organization.
Just before Taulia Connect, Cedric shared with me a number of thoughts on topics ranging from Taulia’s position in the market today to the future of trade financing beyond the current world of e-invoicing, dynamic discounting and supply chain finance. We’ll feature this interview in multiple installments throughout the week, in addition to live coverage from Taulia Connect.
Jason: How do you describe Taulia today? Are you a P2P/e-invoicing/network provider or a fintech provider?
Cedric: The way I describe Taulia is that we are the financial supply chain company. There is some nuance to this. We are not just e-invoicing or the financial supply chain alone. It’s the intersection.
The direction of the company is around working capital and payments, which is precisely where the most innovation is right now within our business and the sector. But there is no doubt connectivity remains core to the business, and the integration with ERP and accounts payable (A/P) systems within large companies continues to be high priority (not to mention integration into supplier systems)!
Jason: How important do systems integration and supplier integration remain for Taulia as a differentiator?
Cedric: We continue to think about new ways to integrate with different systems and customer environments ranging from Lawson to PeopleSoft to SAP to Workday — and countless others. Granted, we got our start with tightly coupled integration into SAP environments, and the way we do it today still remains unique. We continue to invest in this area.
But integration requirements are now so much broader — including supplier-focused integration. We want to make integration more seamless for suppliers while acknowledging that all suppliers are not the same. Some require integration directly into their financial or ERP systems. Others are small (e.g., customers they work with once or twice a year). In short, we continue to support and innovative around multiple integration methods.
Jason: In terms of innovation, you’ve hinted at where Taulia is investing outside of the core solution components today. But what are the most important areas in your view?
Cedric: I break these new investments into three areas.
The first is working capital management and helping suppliers get paid earlier. The primary trigger is the approved invoice today, but we are working on additional models that could expand the market for financing materially, including farther upstream in the transaction lifecycle.
The second area is downstream, after the financing trigger: payments. So far, payments have been loosely coupled with the Taulia model, but they will increasingly become an integral extension of it, albeit in a flexible manner. Watch this space!
The third area is something are things we’re looking at for the future and is more early stage. This includes emerging transactional infrastructure built off of the blockchain architecture. One way or another, blockchain will play a strategic role in financial services, and we want to be ahead of the curve.
Stay tuned as our interview with Cedric and live coverage of Taulia Connect continues.