Tungsten gets a banking licence and GE as a customer

Whilst the news about NHS Shared Business Services (see here) was not great for Tungsten, the firm had much more positive developments to report last week, as their banking licence for FIBI Bank UK was finally approved by the Prudential Regulation Authority last Thursday.

"FIBI (UK) employs 25 people in its Aldgate headquarters in London. Its existing operations serving Israeli clients will be wound down as it makes the transition to its new role in invoice credit and changes its name to Tungsten Bank".

This puts in place another key piece in the jigsaw that Tungsten is assembling around e-invoicing (the OB10 platform and business, acquired late last year when Tungsten was created and floated on AIM), supported by spend analytics (provided through Cloudbuy technology) and of course the bank, which will offer supply chain finance to e-invoicing customers.

It’s taken a while and Edi Truell, founder and CEO, said this in the Times, talking about the process for Tungsten’s authorisation as a bank:

“I’ve had easier negotiations...  One time, seven people interviewed me for three hours. I promised not to do any crystal meth in the car park.”

I like a CEO with a sense of humour!  (The reference is to the disgraced drug-taking head of the Co-op Bank, Paul Flowers, in case you didn’t spot it). The UK authorised Tungsten Bank will start to offer supply chain finance immediately - invoice discounting services are being provided to selected US customers as of last week.

And there was more good news for Truell and the firm last week as GE, the giant US industrial and services firm, announced that they have awarded Tungsten a contract to roll out global e-invoicing. With potential invoice volumes of over 16 million a year, this is potentially a huge deal for Tungsten.

As we’ve said before, the potential for Tungsten is huge in both the e-invoicing business and in the supply chain finance aspect of the offering. But there is competition – offering different commercial models, as in the case of Tradeshift, with their free to suppliers proposition, or Crossflow Payments with both a free platform and a different approach to sources of finance compared to Tungsten.  So buyers looking to implement or extend e-invoicing, or to implement supply chain finance, need to look carefully at the different options and assess just what they want to achieve.

But the FIBI deal is very positive, and we suspect Tungsten will emerge as one of the winners from this developing sector over the next few years.

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