Sidetrade acquires major Order-to-Cash player in North America, Amalto

Sidetrade (Euronext Growth: ALBFR.PA), – publisher of an AI powered platform, dedicated to the management of the Order-to-Cash (O2C) cycle – has announced today conclusion of a firm acquisition agreement covering 100% of the capital and the voting rights of Amalto, one of the main players in the dematerialisation of inter-company financial transactions in North America, for an amount of $16m. With this deal, Sidetrade enriches its O2C offering, and accelerates its penetration of the North American market.

Sidetrade’s offer is at $16m in cash for 100% of Amalto’s equity. In addition, the directors could receive an earn-out at the end of 2024 depending on the growth of Amalto’s revenues at that date. Two months after the launch of its Fusion 100 plan aiming for revenue of $100m by 2025, acquiring Amalto allows Sidetrade to reach an important milestone in the execution of its plan with a cumulative revenue that could approach $43m in 2021, including $7m in North America.

Sidetrade plans to finance the operation through bank debt in order to preserve cash for other possible acquisitions. The current cash position is €24m ($28.6m), including treasury stock.

Amalto has offices in Houston (USA), Calgary (Canada) and Paris (France), and is the North American integration specialist for the exchange and automation of O2C documents in the Oil and Gas industry. The business helps companies in a variety of industries where companies face a very high Day Sales Outstanding (DSO); and Environmental, where vertical markets present different business processes. Amalto does 90 percent of its business sales in North America and employs 21 people, including 15 in North America.

Each year, millions of transactions, representing billions of dollars, are made via Amalto cloud technology. Amalto’s customers include multinational giants such as Chevron, General Electric, and Schlumberger. The company has been able to build sustainable partnerships with its customers who renew their trust over the long term with an attrition rate below 2.5%. It has been rated by global IT advisory firm Gartner as one of three ‘Cool Vendors of Platform and Integration Middleware’.

In 2020 Amalto had revenues of $4.3m and recorded high growth and profitability with EBITDA above 20%. As of 31st December 2020, Amalto had a net cash position of over $1.2m.

Olivier Novasque, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Sidetrade, comments: “The Amalto deal is a powerful gas pedal for Sidetrade’s international business growth. Amalto’s innovative solutions will enrich our B2B AI platform, and the intention is this will be rapidly available to all Sidetrade customers. Sidetrade’s Cloud has recorded more than $2.4 trillion in business-to-business transactions over the past three years. Combining the technologies and talents of Sidetrade and Amalto will support our mission to be positioned as a true world-class leader in the O2C market.”

“We have been incredibly impressed by Amalto’s expertise in the dematerialisation of financial flows. Their solution has a considerable technological lead, with a unique capacity to automatically integrate invoices in the main accounting systems and purchasing portals. Amalto is a champion of electronic B2B document exchange, with a unique position, focused on management of the entire O2C cycle. Amalto’s experienced teams in Houston and Calgary, and their loyal US and Canadian customer base, made up of large industrial and business service groups, will give Sidetrade great leverage in the North American market.”

Amalto’s shareholder-directors are fully supportive of this operation and expect to pursue the adventure with Sidetrade until at least 2024. To facilitate synergy and carry out the strategic plan, Sidetrade intends to set up a new organisation from day one, resulting in:

  • Emmanuel Thiriez, Co-Founder and CEO of the Amalto group, joining the Sidetrade Executive committee as Chief Customer Officer, and being fully involved in the implementation of the Fusion 100 strategic plan
  • Bryan Pederson, CEO of Amalto Corp, becoming AVP Customer Success, responsible for customer loyalty in North America and reporting to Emmanuel Thiriez
  • The Amalto sales team immediately joining Sidetrade’s US salesforce
  • Sidetrade establishing their US headquarters at Amalto’s Houston office
  • Sidetrade expanding their Canadian business, and setting up their third Tech Hub in Calgary (after those in Birmingham, UK and Boulogne-Billancourt, France)
  • Sidetrade counting on Amalto’s current senior management team to ensure the continuity of product development and customer service.

Amalto shareholder-directors can expect an earn-out by the end of 2024, based on revenue growth of Amalto solutions.

Emmanuel Thiriez, Co-Founder and CEO of Amalto, adds: “We are very pleased with the prospect of pursuing our adventure with Sidetrade. Being part of the Sidetrade family will allow us to realise our ambition of integrating the best of AI in our solutions and reaching the greatest numbers of businesses. By joining forces, we will strongly accelerate sales development in a buoyant market.”

“Sidetrade presents an impressive value proposition, built on innovation, customer value and growth. Our two firms are perfectly complementary in terms of solutions and geographic coverage. Our clients and products will benefit from synergy very easily due to seamless integration. Together, we will develop innovative solutions to meet the needs of businesses across the globe.”

Aryza announce new case management solution

Aryza, expert developer of flexible software solutions for the financial services industry, has today launched Aryza Messenger – a complete case management solution with powerful functionality.

Built specifically for businesses operating within the insolvency, debt management, consumer credit, lending, debt recovery and collections space, Aryza Messenger is a fully compliant solution, able to handle any case from start to finish.

Offering a suite of tools for customer onboarding, case management and creditor engagement, the software can automate many of the day-to-day business processes that would previously drain resources.

The powerful tool can also collate and securely store all key documents, and provides functionality to connect users and clients in a chat-based environment. The addition of Open Banking means the platform can automate the collection of bank statements, credit searches, AML checks, ID and DVLA checks within a matter of seconds.

The ability to quickly assess cases and return decisions within a short space of time will significantly improve conversion rates, leading to more positive outcomes for all involved.

Commenting on the product launch, Elliott Green, chief commercial officer at Aryza HubSolv said: “We know that in the financial services industry, time is money and with so many documents to gather – from so many different sources, it can often take weeks to finalise a case. Aryza Messenger is a powerful lead management system, which is able to free up valuable time for your advisers and streamline the process of gathering supporting documents.

“From automated documents, client communication, Open Banking with credit searching functionality, cashiering automation – even file management, the platform can help achieve greater operational efficiency, with no other product on the market currently offering this level of functionality.”

Colin Brown CEO at Aryza continued: “For those struggling financially, we understand that money management can feel daunting. Aryza Messenger has been developed with the consumer in mind, able to quickly action any client queries, using fully configurable automated chat responses.

“Not only does this bring peace of mind for the consumer, it also reduces the amount of time you spend waiting for bank statements, credit reports and ID verification.”

TDS teams up with NRLA to extend TDS Resolution service

TDS Resolution [an association between the Dispute Service and the National Residential Landlords Association – NRLA] is extending the remit of its service to cover a much wider range of landlord and tenant disputes.

TDS Resolution was originally launched in July 2020 to help landlords and tenants resolve rent arrears issues through mediation and facilitate agreements for suitable rent arrears repayment plans. The experience of this scheme is that cases are being referred to it far too late, which means that not much can be done to agree a suitable rent reduction plan.

So, building on work done to date by TDS Resolution, the service is about to expand to cover a wider range of landlord-tenant disputes and hopefully deal with these much earlier so there is a greater chance of securing a successful resolution.

This extended offering will be a conciliation/mediation service, meaning experienced dispute resolution staff employed by TDS Resolution will play an active role in trying to resolve landlord-tenant disputes.

The Dispute Service and the NRLA have a longstanding relationship and the decision to launch this enlarged service is an important step in cementing the already strong relationship.

From 1st April 2021, the extended service will be free of charge and accept referrals from tenants as well as landlords. The move to a free service comes in the continuing COVID-19 pandemic which has left both landlords and tenants in difficult financial circumstances.

Steve Harriott, CEO of the Dispute Service said: “TDS Resolution has made great strides since its launch in helping parties reach suitable rent arrears repayment plans. The Dispute Service has always been committed to raising standards in the Private Rented Sector and making peoples’ lives easier. The extension of the service, to cover a wider range of landlord and tenant disputes, is an important step in achieving our goal. The service will also provide useful evidence to back up the NRLA’s call for a National Conciliation Service to deal with these types of disputes across England and Wales”.

The extended service will focus on dealing with disputes in the following areas:

  • Property standards
  • Repairs
  • Entry rights
  • Rent arrears
  • Threatened evictions
  • Breach of tenancy terms
  • Noise/Anti-social behaviour (except serious anti-social activity)

Welcoming this initiative Ben Beadle, CEO of the NRLA said: “We welcome the introduction of this pilot, which the NRLA believes can go a long way towards putting conciliation firmly at the heart of landlord-tenant relationship. Conciliation is a key element of the NRLA’s Renters’ Reform Bill proposals and it is our view that with the Renters’ Reform Bill rapidly approaching there is a pressing need for a more efficient system, which provides easy, convenient access to resolving disputes for landlords and tenants alike.”

Kroll bolsters UK restructuring team with four senior promotions

Kroll today announced that it has promoted four existing senior directors within the UK restructuring team to the role of Managing Director, further strengthening the UK team.

The promotions of Eddie Bines, Martin Gray, Mike Lennon and Jimmy Saunders comes on the back of Kroll’s announcement late last year of its global restructuring team expansion with the acquisition of Borrelli Walsh.

David Fleming, Head of UK Restructuring, Kroll, stated: “I am pleased to congratulate these colleagues who have shown outstanding dedication to our business and clients in what is a challenging time for our clients. These promotions are reflective of the talent we have in the UK; it’s a team that is growing both in terms of size and skillset.”

“These promotions recognise the unique contribution each one has made to the broader restructuring team both here in the UK and internationally. They will continue to provide high quality advisory work at a time when we are beginning to see the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, having access to a senior team of specialists enables us to provide the expertise required to enable UK businesses to get through this difficult time.”

Kroll’s Global Restructuring Advisory team has over 400 experts based in the UK and Europe, the U.S., the Caribbean, Asia and Australia. The team originally operated under the Duff & Phelps brand, which was unified under the Kroll name in February 2021, allowing it to represent the full suite of services the firm provides to clients and to offer a cohesive approach for delivering tech-forward solutions to the market.

HighRadius Raises $300M Series C at $3.1 Billion Valuation to Accelerate Growth in Order-to-Cash and Treasury Markets

HighRadius, the Artificial Intelligence-powered Order-to-Cash, and Treasury Management software leader, has raised $300 million in a Series C round at a valuation of $3.1 Billion. The investment was led by D1 Capital and Tiger Global with participation from existing investors ICONIQ Growth and Susquehanna Growth Equity. The round also included investments from tech industry leaders, Frank Slootman, Chairman and CEO of Snowflake, Michael Scarpelli, CFO of Snowflake, Tooey Courtemanche, CEO of Procore Technologies, and Howie Liu, Co-founder and CEO of Airtable. The new capital will be used to fuel product innovation and expand global go-to-market reach.

The HighRadius AI-powered platforms for Order-to-Cash and Treasury Management help more than 600 clients, including more than 200 of the Forbes Global 2000, optimize their working capital. HighRadius was recently named to the Forbes Cloud 100 and identified as a Leader in both the Enterprise and the Mid-Market editions of the IDC MarketScape for Accounts Receivable Software.

Sashi Narahari, Founder and CEO of HighRadius, said: “We are excited to have D1 Capital Partners and Tiger Global join our existing investors, Susquehanna Growth Equity and ICONIQ Growth. Our goal has always been to build a long-lasting business that outlasts all of us. I look forward to working with such high-quality long-term investors who share a common vision of transforming the Office of the CFO using a combination of Artificial Intelligence built on top of connected finance workspaces and embedded analytics.”

“Our mission at D1 is to back visionary entrepreneurs as they solve large, pressing problems,” said Daniel Sundheim, Founder of D1 Capital Partners.  “Offices of the CFO have historically relied on antiquated, analog processes and infrastructure to manage their accounts receivable and treasury functions. HighRadius is a clear leader in driving digital transformation in the Office of the CFO.  We have been impressed by Sashi and his team’s long-term focus and look forward to joining the company’s journey.”

“HighRadius is in the opening innings of defining the next big software market for the Office of the CFO,” said John Curtius, Partner at Tiger Global Management.  “HighRadius bears all of the signs of being a ‘category defining’ business for Order-to-Cash automation.  We are thrilled to join the HighRadius team for the ride.”

HighRadius was advised by Atlas Technology Group for this transaction.

Zinc Group announce development of new Decision Science function

The Zinc Group are pleased to announce that Kjartan Hearn has joined the business from Revolut to lead the creation of a new team, ‘Decision Science’. Given the ever-increasing requirement and value-add for a deep analytics capability, Kjartan will be leading the development and growth of this function to ensure that Zinc lead the way in portfolio and operational analysis and modelling.

Kjartan has an extensive background in data model-ling and operational and statistical analytics, and has previously worked in analytics for Revolut, as a man-agement consultant focussed on large-scale public sector projects, and was also a lecturer at the Univer-sity of Warwick in ICT to Masters level students, and remains a supervising tutor of dissertations.

Chris Hague, Managing Director, commented “Kjartan’s appointment is further evidence of our ongoing commitment and investment in develop-ing Zinc into the UK’s market-leading BPO and credit management business.

“Kjartan’s skillset further elevates our capabilities to allow us to provide our blue-chip client base with even better insight into their portfolio place-ments and gain a deeper understanding of their customer base, as well as allow Zinc to create more refined strategies to continue driving cus-tomer engagement, and improve the customer experience.”

StepChange responds to MHCLG Committee’s calls for support for private renters

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has today published a report urging Government to create a coherent exit plan to help private renters tackle arrears built up during the pandemic. The report’s conclusions echo those of StepChange’s Covid Debt Rescue campaign, which is calling on Government to urgently put in place a package of emergency financial support to help renters keep their homes.

Responding to the news, Richard Lane, StepChange Director of External Affairs, said: “We welcome the committee’s findings which highlight that targeted financial support is badly needed to help private renters exit safely from this pandemic. Without these measures, renters face a crisis of housing insecurity, homelessness and eviction.

“Around half a million private renters have fallen into arrears since March 2020 and many are now worried about being evicted from their home. With the expiry of the rental eviction suspension in just two months, now is the time to tackle the covid rent debt crisis with decisive solutions.

“It’s vital ministers act on the Committee’s call for an emergency financial support package for tenants and landlords. The Committee’s favoured solution of discretionary payments can be implemented quickly, and we also see potential for a wider package of grants and no-interest loans to give renters a sustainable way to recover and to help them keep their homes.”

Mobile technology: the gateway to improving credit collections and customer engagement

A new survey from digital payments expert, PayPoint, confirms that today’s consumers are ready and waiting for immediate, transparent and flexible payment tools to help them manage their financial commitments. Email and SMS as a means of communication far outweigh the traditional ‘letter in the post’ or a phone call – and importantly, a regular, timely digital nudge from finance providers would be welcomed by the majority to ensure they keep on top of payments and avoid arrears.

76% of the 500 people surveyed by PayPoint said they would welcome an email reminder about upcoming payments and 61% for overdue payments. Similarly, SMS reminders would be positively embraced by 70% of those surveyed for upcoming payments and 60% for arrears. 1 in 3 of those who call for regular email and SMS reminders claim it would prompt them to make an immediate payment.

Traditional letters and unexpected telephone calls from providers are not in favour, with 64% saying “no thanks” to a call and 54% to a letter in the post.

Danny Vant, Client Services Director, PayPoint, comments: “Events of the last 12 months have accelerated the digital revolution in so many ways, across so many markets, from retail toutility payments, medical care to social interaction. In turn, this has created a new normal in terms of how people expect to be engaged with, and this includes their financial partners.

“Using mobile technology to manage their finances from the palm of their hand or the comfort of their sofa, crucially at a time that is convenient to them, is key. Our survey results confirm that those employing digital solutions to engage with people are likely to stimulate a positive response, with 35% of consumers surveyed saying they would be more likely to make an immediate payment as a result.”

Therefore, delivering the tools to help people assess their real-time financial situation and the ability to make an informed payment is crucial. 43% of people surveyed by PayPoint would welcome a digital platform that brings together all credit commitments in one place for easy review and financial decision making. Perhaps not surprisingly, 48% of survey respondents said they would embrace an App if it were available from their creditors, suggesting a shift away from websites and mobile enabled websites by adopters of the latest innovations.

Eckoh wins $11.6m of new contracts in US secure payments

Eckoh plc (AIM:ECK), the global provider of secure payment products and customer contact solutions, today announces an update on progress for new contracts in its US Secure Payments operation.

Despite the very challenging trading period at the outset of the year, since the beginning of September 2020 $9.3m of new contracts have been signed, taking new contract value for US Secure Payments won so far this financial year to $11.6m, comfortably exceeding the FY20 total of $10.7m. The number of individual contracts won in the year is also the highest since Eckoh entered the US market.

As highlighted in the interim results on 24 November 2020, the year has seen a significant positive swing in the number of contracts won and delivered through Eckoh’s Cloud platforms. Where possible, organisations have fast-tracked their plans to deploy in the Cloud, a trend accelerated by the circumstances of the pandemic. More than half the contract value Eckoh has won, and more than 80% of the number of contracts, have been for Cloud delivery. Our proven ability to successfully deliver solutions both on premise and in the Cloud is one of the key differences that has seen Eckoh take a market leading position in the US.

Our latest contract, won in March through a new partner, is worth a minimum of $1.35m and is to deliver services to one of the largest not-for-profit US healthcare corporations. This adds to the growing base of clients in the healthcare sector where Eckoh’s proven experience of delivery and our financial strength has been decisive.

The partnership with Intrado (originally West Corporation), was recently renewed until 2024. It delivered its first US contract win for Eckoh in 2016, and in the same year added a landmark deal with a Fortune 50 insurance company, which was recently renewed. The latest win in February for the partnership is a three-year contract for a Fortune 100 company, to secure both payments and personally identifiable information.

This breadth of data security is achieved through Eckoh’s unique and patented solution CallGuard, which can tokenise sensitive information of many types. Eckoh’s ongoing commitment to innovating its technology and product differentiation, continues to strengthen the Company’s competitive advantage and market leadership, as the go-to provider of best-in-class secure payments solutions.

A year end trading update, which will cover the wider business, will be released as normal in May.

Nik Philpot, Chief Executive Officer at Eckoh, commented: “The excellent performance of Eckoh’s US Secure Payments business has been very satisfying, as it was one of the hardest hit in the first few months of the pandemic. Despite those challenges, with record numbers of contracts signed and new contract value beating last year’s total, this clearly illustrates Eckoh’s momentum in the attractive Secure Payments market.

It has also been great to see our commitment and investment into new sales channels paying dividends with significant sized deals coming through new partners, as well as our long-standing partnerships continuing to deliver high quality contracts. We anticipate that the share of channel revenue will steadily increase over the coming years as the number of relationships we have grows and the penetration of those partners into their specialist areas builds.”

AnaCap completes five real estate deals across Europe

AnaCap Financial Partners (“AnaCap”), a leading specialist mid-market private equity investor, today announces the successful closure of five direct real estate investments. This continues the natural extension of its credit business, which has long been active in real estate backed debt and special situations across Europe, into direct real estate equity opportunities in the mid-market.

The transactions are diversified across asset type (primarily residential, office and logistics assets) and geography (2 in Italy, 2 in France and AnaCap’s first direct real estate investment in the UK). In aggregate, the investments represent a total value, including both existing assets and future development, of close to €200 million, representing an increase in the AnaCap real estate portfolio of over 750,000 square footage across the respective geographies.

These investments further demonstrate AnaCap’s ability to deploy capital in a post COVID-19 environment via a targeted blend of real estate debt and equity from a growing pipeline of attractive opportunities across Europe, an investment market that is expected to grow by 8.5% in terms of volumes in 2021. This follows on from AnaCap’s previously announced completion of one direct real estate and five credit investments in Italy as well as its first real estate investment in Paris.

In order to capitalise on a growing market opportunity and pipeline, AnaCap continued to further enhance its origination, execution and asset management capabilities across both credit and real estate in 2020, now boasting a team of 14 investment professionals and 19 asset management professionals, including real estate experts, strategically located across core European markets. The pan-European platform enhances AnaCap’s ability to execute off-the-run opportunities, working in tandem with local servicing and operating partners.

This sustained activity marks AnaCap’s 5-year anniversary of investing in direct real estate across Europe, with an aggregate value of ~€450 million across 10 investments in 3 geographies.

Sebastien Wigdo, Managing Director (Real Estate) at AnaCap, commented: “Despite the ongoing uncertainty driven by Covid-19 and Brexit, AnaCap continues to see an increasing number of attractive mid-market real estate investment opportunities across Europe. Given AnaCap’s continued investment in its real estate platform and a growing pipeline of opportunities, we remain confident in our ability to consistently deploy capital and unlock value in real estate at attractive risk-returns.”