The Business Owner: Christopher Vogt, BillFront

Merging fintech with adtech, Billfront raised £35m in December and want to be "THE alternative financing company for digital businesses"

The Business Owner: Christopher Vogt, BillFront

Name: Christopher Vogt
Founders: Christopher Vogt and Gregor Dimitriou
Location: London and Berlin
Proposition: BillFront provides a new way for digital media companies to avoid the industry’s lengthy payment terms, which can sometimes be up to 120 days, and get faster access to their media revenues.
Size: 15+ employees

Describe your business model:

BillFront provides a new way for digital media companies to avoid the industry’s lengthy payment terms, which can sometimes be up to 120 days, and get faster access to their media revenues.

As programmatic buying rises within the digital advertising industry, BillFront can help media companies keep on top of their finances, while also simplifying the entire payments process.

How is your business different from what’s already out there?

BillFront is new kind of alternative finance. We have merged fintech with adtech to create a data-driven risk management methodology, providing digital media businesses with an alternative to factoring companies.

Our algorithm automatically analyses if and to what extent a digital media company is eligible for financing. Once this technology connects directly to media companies’ invoicing systems and approves them for financing. BillFront frees up working capital much quicker, enabling these companies to accelerate their growth.

How did you finance your business?

We successfully completed an integrated debt and equity Series A funding round worth $35m (£27m) in December.

Investors included 4finance, a global leader in online and mobile financing solutions to consumers and NIBC Bank Deutschland a leading provider of structured finance solutions in Europe, and as well as existing investor FinLeap, an independent fintech company builder.

We will be using the Series A funding to expand the company further, to support its fast growing customer needs as well as to continue the development of its proprietary technology and the acquisition of new talent.

What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?

I keep it very simple; customer satisfaction, employee engagement and cash-flow.

What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?

We see so many opportunities that aren’t necessarily related to our core business. My biggest challenge is to stay focused, which I think is crucial for success.

Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?

This completely depends on your focus customer target group. Our business is international, which mirrors how digital marketing operates, it is borderless.

What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?

Gmail! Without a doubt!

Describe your company’s culture in three words:

Fast-moving, professional and focused.

What would you like the government to do for small business?

I think the UK government is on the right track, but they can always do more. We need to support small businesses in the UK and continue to keep the UK as the global leader in fintech.

Many UK industries suffer from archaic payment processes and terms, with some still relying upon snail mail to process invoices. In the digital media industry for example, outdated methods of dealing with payment means many media companies are unable to conveniently and quickly access their revenues.

This hampered ability to readily access capital makes dealing with unexpected economic issues, such as Brexit, more difficult, particularly for small to mid-sized companies who are particularly cashflow dependent. Those with readily available capital can pivot faster and more easily in the face of unexpected events than those who don’t.

Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?

It has to be Soundcloud.

Where do you want the business to be in three years?

In three years’ time I want to have grown BillFront into THE alternative financing company for early-stage, fast-growing digital businesses.

What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?

Investing in the right employees is key. Rather than hiring quickly, invest time and money into finding people that are the perfect fit for your company. Hiring great people that understand your company values will automatically lead to a structure that is streamlined and more efficient.

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