A new Auction Market – How Platform Black got their start

I spoke to Louise Beaumont, co-Founder of Platform Black, recently about what made her want to go out and create a market for invoices of all things.  Louise started Platform Black after her own personal pain realizing how important working capital is to a business.  She ran an IT consulting practice and worked with the big boys – CapGemini, Siemens, etc.  As her small business was growing and she began dealing with Blue Chip global clients, Louise faced what many small businesses face when growing, working capital problems when large clients pay in 90 days and she had to pay her sub contractors in 15 or 30 days. It is the classic cash flow crunch!

She had her own painful experience looking to get an invoice finance line through HSBC. That’s when she realized banks won’t solve YOUR problem but will enrich themselves.  How - with fees of course. There are the upfront fees, there are annual fees, there are fees for using the service, there are fees for not using the service, and there are fees to extend the service and finally fees to terminate the service.  Plus there are facility ceilings and debt concentration issues.  Louise basically couldn’t have too much of her business with any one customer.

Oh, and forget that the client  she needed to have included in the invoice facility (the one you need to have in there with the longest terms) was not included in the Invoice Facility line. Total madness!

That’s when Louise realized there had to be a better way.  Looking across the Pond, she saw theReceivableExchange was gaining traction and the rest is history.  Platform Black started their first auction on June 2012 and by June 2013 were processing close to £3.2M weekly.  Since June 2012, the platform has processed about £40M and has run over 1,000 auctions, and according to Louise, with no failures.

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