Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a neowealth disruptor in Australia.
bill.com, one of the big success stories of the fintech SME space, is expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange this Wednesday the 11th of December. The company sits squarely in the sweet spot of SME action, namely combining business software and payments to ease friction in the unsexy AP and AR space. It will look to raise US$100,000, with a target price of $19 – $21.
It might be the back office, but AP and AR are mission critical for SMEs. Despite this, so many US businesses still rely on cheques and inefficient manual processing workflows, that can suck the cash flow life blood out of a small operation.
In 2016, the SMB Technology Index reported that 90% of SMBs surveyed still relied on paper cheques to make and accept B2B payments. According to bill.com, today they help US businesses approve more than 2.4 million bills online, per month. That’s against a backdrop of 1.8 million network members and $22 billion in payments processed in the three months leading up to September 2019 alone.
Between 2018 and 2019 revenue at bill.com grew from $64.9 million to $108.4 million – an increase of 67%. However growth hasn’t yet delivered profitability. The company recorded losses for the past financial year of $7.3 million.
So, what’s the opportunity? Well, turns out there is certainly a global story here, not just a US one. While the direct addressable SME market in the US sits at 6 million small businesses, globally that shoots up to 20 million, based on data sourced from the SME Finance Forum.
If bill.com can consistently generate $1,500 in average revenue per business (the total it claims is possible based on its 2019 numbers) from just a fraction of this global market, then the valuation of the business could skyrocket in the coming years.
But bill.com isn’t the only player in this space. Payments and software is increasingly coming together, and the ecosystem is fragmented. Take Telleroo for example, which just this week also announced its software would integrate with payments provider Moorwand, to provide a bill.com like service for UK customers. While US based bill.com is years ahead of many of these smaller players, it will need to move fast to capitalise on that global opportunity and solidify its footprint.