A behind-the-scenes look at the SIBS challenge – Part 2
We really enjoyed touring the SIBS facility and even got to see one of their first-ever ATMs. It was very simple with just the cash withdrawing function. SIBS even let us tour their current ATM service center which had many different models of ATMs and card processors. There were stacks of cash, and atm cards everywhere, I was a little concerned about security until I was informed that it wasn’t real, whew!
We had some great discussions with multiple departments of SIBS and enjoyed the brainstorming sessions that helped us to understand better how we could work together. One of the problems today is that most businesses still manually create and send their invoices. By manual I mean either by .pdf, fax, email, snail-mail, and if they are really sophisticated, they use some form of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) which has been around in some form since the late 1960s. All of these low-tech solutions create bottlenecks for banks and payment processors like SIBS. That is why they created their BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) center to solve these types of problems.
In this department, SIBS will take the invoices, mostly in .pdf form, and scan them in with Optical Character Recognition technology (OCR). This then gives them the metadata that they need to send back to the banks for digital processing. OCR technology is continually improving, and SIBS believes there will come a time where there will not need to be a human checking the scans for errors, and having to make corrections, as this is also very time-consuming.
At Crowdz, we accept invoices in any format that the customer has, and because of that, we also have a need to take scans of documents and have them converted into metadata. This digitization solution that SIBS offered to their banks was very enticing to us as well.
So by this time, we have had a full day of meetings and brainstorming sessions, so the next step was to develop a presentation for SIBS that showcases how we can work with them.
The first project we saw was a chance to partner with the BPO team to help digitize .pdfs and other formats of invoices for our platform. The second was to use our risk-rated invoice auction and exchange to allow the banks to buy invoices. And last was the ability to offer a white-label solution to the banks to offer a trade finance product for their customers. We were excited to propose these solutions as SIBS has such a wide range of products and services already that the banks love.
The big day was here and Crowdz was ready to pitch, Payson Johnston, our CEO, was eager to share our proposals and hear the judge’s results. As each startup presented, we began to wonder how well we would stack up against all the great ideas and solutions that were being proposed. As I mentioned in our first article, this is a 3 part series, so do check back in to see what happens next!