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INSIGHTS / TRENDING

Billin offers unlimited free e-invoicing services to SMEs and freelancers

Spain · Dec 17, 2018· By Amalia González

©Billin

Offering automated online invoice generating, sharing, tracking and payments, the Spanish fintech wants to become the billing Dropbox for businesses worldwide

It has won more than 30,000 users in Spain and nearly €4 million of funding, including a new round of investment in February this year. Now Madrid-based invoicing-and-payments platform Billin is expanding to Latin America and elsewhere in Europe.

It's also developing an AI-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) connection to cater to the more complex needs of bigger companies. Billin, which offers automated e-invoicing and e-payment services, expects to ride on a fast-growing global cloud billing market seen to reach US$16.6 billion in spending by 2021, from US$5.7 billion in 2016.

Co-founders Marcos de la Cueva Orbe and Diego Goya Quijano define their platform as "the first online tool that allows controlling the creation, sending, receiving, status, storage, communication and management of invoices in a single common space between customers and suppliers." It also offers unlimited cloud storage. Currently, Billin has integrated payment and direct debit banking platforms but will soon also integrate bill transfer and financing platforms.

The startup expects its number of clients to exceed 200,000 by the end this year. In Spain alone, it's looking at a potential market of almost 4.5 million SMEs, micro-businesses and freelancers. Abroad, the startup has received interest from companies in Colombia, the UK, Germany, Portugal and Mexico, where Billin was one of the five finalists at the Latin American (LatAm) edition of the Startupbootcamp fintech scaling program.   

Dropbox USP

Billin’s Dropbox facility helps users to save an average of 16 hours of administrative work a month. The collection of bill payments is up to 10 times faster compared with conventional credit control methods.

New users only need to enter an email address to register with Billin and start using the services. It takes less than 60 seconds to create an invoice. The cloud-based Dropbox enables all users to keep track of every business transaction, while customers and suppliers can be imported easily onto the automated platform accessible worldwide.

Each invoice can be tracked and shared in detail and in a single glance, showing the various stages of processing – received, seen, accepted and paid – similar to how WhatsApp works. If invoices are rejected, then any issues can be resolved in real time. The data can also be used to produce updated reports to show the actual cashflow position of the client’s business.

Recently it launched a paid Billin Corporate version for larger companies, but Billin lives from giving a lot of business to the payment platforms, obtaining a commission from payment systems integrated into the platform when collection is made. 

Finally, Billin prioritizes security and data confidentiality and meets compliance requirements followed by local financial institutions.

Monetization outlook

Billin is Spain’s first free cloud-based platform for e-invoicing and -payments. In September 2013, Billin was set up as a basic free service with unlimited cloud storage.

In 2014, the project was launched at the Dublin Web Summit and over 2,500 clients signed up within seven months. Subscriptions shot up to 15,000 a few months later and total e-billings reached €60 million. By the end of 2017, Billin had registered over 25,000 clients.  

Revenue is mainly earned from premium options and SaaS services that allow corporate clients to customize their customer services and promote their brands. A percentage of billings is payable as commission by fintech partners and other service providers, such as GoCardless, Paypal and Visa. Fees are also earned by offering factoring services or Legalitas through banking partners like Banco Popular and Santander. Future fee-based services like bill transfers, insurance and other financial services will soon be added.

Valued at €4 million during the September 2017 funding round, Billin secured a further €1.3 million in February 2018. Prominent investors included Kibo Ventures, Carlos González Cadenas and K Fund. The co-founders are keen to take Billin to the very top of the game. The longer-term aim would be to develop Billin’s Dropbox into the ultimate, ubiquitous brand for digital work files worldwide. The team currently comprises 20 staff, mostly focused on product development and customer service. 

The idea of Billin came up in September 2013, in Madrid, at a time when invoices did not match in the company where the founders were working. The situation led them to consider simple formulas to avoid this type of errors. Their background helped them find a permanent solution to the problem they were contemplating.

De la Cueva, the company's CEO and co-founder, studied business and began working as an auditor in PWC, later developing his career at Npluson. The other founder and CPO, Goya Quijano, holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in finance from CUNEF; he has also been a VC, M&A and Financing Operations (IEB) and a web development specialist (Ironhack). He worked at Smartgroup Telecomunicaciones and has experience in cost optimization through Deyese Soluciones, which he co-founded.

Security was a special concern from the beginning, which wasy why the co-founders highlight the platform "has all levels of maximum bank security," offering top-of-the-range security and confidentiality guarantees.The encryption system is similar to those of financial institutions and Billin has also a perimeter system certified and stamped by IBM (Billin's official partner), Online Confidence Guarantee, LOPD / LSSI certification and SSL certified by Geotrust, as well as a security officer.

"We left security to live an adventure, which is really worth it," the co-founders say.

 

Edited by Bernice Tang and Suzanne Soh