Exclusive! Mark Hoffman takes over as CEO at Oxygen Finance

Mark Hoffman, who became the US Chairman of Oxygen Finance a year ago, on a part time basis, has upped his involvement with the firm and is taking over as Chief Executive of the business, we’ve learnt. Not only that, but Hoffman has become a significant shareholder, has got his UK visa sorted out, and is going to be based in London, where the firm are currently headquartered.

David Brown (left) and Mark Hoffman of Oxygen Finance

Hoffman was one of the founders of Sybase back in the 1980s, then of Commerce One, the early eProcurement market leaders, in the nineties. That track record and credibility, coming from being intimately involved in building two billion-dollar software businesses, has made him highly respected, up there with the very best in the software industry and the procurement technology world specifically.

I spoke to him on the phone a while back, but met him for the first time just a few weeks ago. I was struck by his lack of ego and his listening skills – he’s about as far away from your likely mental image of a Silicon Valley software hot-shot as you can get. He’s not a youngster, and his style is quiet and unassuming, but when he does say something, it’s clearly worth hearing.

This is a major vote of confidence in the firm, who provide an innovative supply chain finance solution (see here for previous coverage). David Brown, the founder of Oxygen, remains very much involved and will focus on development and strategy, but is handing over that top general management role to Hoffman.

Oxygen are at a critical point in their development now, and they will hope that Hoffman can make sure that they can transition from “interesting start up” to “viable business”. They have won a number of customers now, so there is beginning got have real evidence of how their solution works in practice. Just last week, they went public with some information and initial results from their first public sector venture, an initiative with Oldham Borough Council.

“Oldham Council pilot set to generate £2m from a £73m spend over four years, nationwide that could mean councils creating approx £1.5bn...Following a successful pilot scheme at Oldham Borough Council, where the local authority is earning £2m purely by paying companies quicker and more efficiently, Oxygen now want to create millions of pounds in income for other authorities in the UK.... the Early Payment Programme enables buyers (in this case local authorities)to pay suppliers (mainly SMEs) more quickly in exchange for a cash rebate..”

We haven’t done any triangulation of this, but there’s no doubt the public sector is an area of promise for e-invoicing, supply chain finance (SCF) and dynamic discounting. (Indeed, I met a significant public sector organisation last week who will be making interesting announcements in this space before too long).  But it’s important that public organisations – and private for that matter – look carefully at the different solutions on offer, and understand the difference between bank-driven SCF solutions and the innovative options coming out from Oxygen, OB10, Basware, Tradeshift and others.

So good luck to Hoffman, and we hope to feature a more detailed interview with him shortly.

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