Verivend had an eventful 2021. Not only did the company introduce itself publicly, it also raised a seed round and became a 43North winner.
Along the way, leaders of the Buffalo-based fintech startup explored how their business premise fit specifically into the market.
Company leaders say now’s the time to capitalize on the opportunities they’ve created.
“We’re calling 2022 ‘the year of execution,’” CEO and co-founder Rodney Reisdorf said. “We’ve set very aggressive but achievable goals and that is now our focus, scaling this thing to the heights we know it can go.”
Verivend’s software automates the payment process for clients, using a single transparent system to replace paper trails, emails and phone calls.
The company is entering the second phase of a pilot project with a large law firm in Buffalo (Verivend leaders declined to name the firm). The first phase of the project found the law firm getting paid 75% faster than previously, and 65% of its invoices paid within seven days (the industry standard is one to three months).
The second phase expands the project significantly. If all goes well, the firm will become a full Verivend customer within the first half of 2022.
In the meantime, the firm’s partners are freed from the unprofitable chore of collecting overdue payments.
“All those hours of chasing the money, the awkwardness of the phone calls, got put toward billing instead,” co-founder and president G. Aaron Santarosa said. “Our charge was minute compared to the value we added.”
These are the kind of projects Verivend thinks it can replicate over and over again. The company signed its biggest account thus far in January, a private equity group that is using Verivend to make capital calls and deploy investments to projects and portfolio companies. Also, several Verivend employees are attending the Community Bankers Conference in February, looking to partner with small banks that are searching for cutting-edge fintech solutions.
And the startup has begun offering a “buy now, pay later” service for clients. A company, for instance, can buy a $100,000 piece of equipment and then pay it off in installments through Verivend. The seller gets a powerful tool as it looks to increase sales – with Verivend and its financing partners assuming the risk of a spread-out payment plan.
Reisdorf called the service a “credit card killer” in industries that are looking for ways to bypass the onerous fees and interest rates of credit cards.
He also said it’s unique in the small- to mid-sized business space. Verivend’s leadership team believes its software product set makes it a “fintech super app” that competes against fragmented or niche competitors.
“We have very lofty goals to hit by the end of the year,” chief of sales Daniel Devlin said. “We’re focusing on specific industries, whether it’s legal or transportation or investment, and we’re seeing we can bring customers on in those industries.”
Verivend has a lot of cheerleaders in Buffalo. The company’s seed round included contributions from noted executives locally such as Ashok Subramanian, Michael Weisman, Dan Magnuszewski, Sam Russo and John Jahnke. Verivend moved into 43North’s 24th floor incubator recently after winning a $500,000 prize in the October business competition – making 43North an investor in the company as well.
The company now has 10 full-time employees and plans to double that number this year.
“We’ve found a lot of product-market fit,” co-founder and chief technology officer Jonathan Ebel said. “We started out with an idea but as we’ve fallen into investment funds, law firms, trucking companies and other industry verticals, it’s exciting to see them get excited about the product.”
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