logo_mdCanadian shoppers whose merchants have a relationship with FinanceIT don’t need to pay out-of-pocket for purchases.  FinanceIT has built a credit platform that allows a consumer to finance certain purchases at the point of sale, possibly at a better interest rate than their credit cards and definitely with more payment options.

FinanceIT’s clients are vendors who sell vehicles, home renovations, health offerings, or retail products to the consumer.  The business model focuses on making the financing of the product available to the consumer at the point of sale so that there isn’t any excuse not to purchase if the buyer is feeling a little light in the wallet.  The vendor can offer financing deals which delay payment for 3, 6, or 12 months at an interest rate as low as 7.13% — financing which may be much more attractive than credit card financing with a 30-day settlement and/or financing starting at 14 or 15 percent.

It was announced today that FinanceIT just raised $13 million in a Series A round to apply towards their application rollout in the United States.  They are a Toronto-based company that has managed to write $500 million plus in loans with 2,500 vendors since their inception in 2011.

To make the credit process as frictionless as possible the consumer requirements need to be simple and easy to secure.  Clearly, the key driver in any financing/credit business is the consumer’s credit score. The score is the determining factor for the interest rate and any of the other structuring features of the loan, including amortization, payment deferral and length of loan.  Once the credit inputs are determined and approved the vendor can receive payment in one business day.

Ideally, a win/win.  The vendor is pleased to make a sale without retaining the consumer credit risk and the consumer is pleased that they have more financing options for their purchase.  I didn’t notice who retains the credit risk for FinanceIT, but wouldn’t it be great to see them create a two-way peer lending market and they could lay off the credit risk on a peer lender and serve as a matchmaking tech platform?

Dreamforce 2013

df-logoThe Dreamforce ‘13 event kicked off yesterday in San Francisco and runs through Thursday, November 21st.

After working with their customer relationship management (CRM) software product for about three months in 2011, I decided to attend their Cloudforce event at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York in November 2011.  At that point, I knew of Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, but I had never seen him live or watched any of his presentations on YouTube.  As is customary for these big events, Marc is the keynote speaker and his presentation (both on stage and as he walks through the aisles of the entire event) is two hours and during that time he is marketing Salesforce to the audience using stats, experiences, trends, enterprise collaborators while all the time weaving it all into very effective storytelling.  

I found those two hours inspiring since his vision and message were both current and forward thinking.  What I mean by that, is that the product roll-out for Cloudforce (Chatter) was timely and matched off with the consumer’s workflow needs at that time.  Also, his vision addressed workflow needs in the very near future and the fact that Salesforce was evolving into a cloud based, mobile and social enterprise software.  Additionally, the APIs would be a focus so that developers could quickly and easily build apps to interface with Salesforce.

The Cloudforce ‘11 (a one day event) had the right side room of the Javits with an overflow room imbedded in the expo. The reported audience size was approximately 10,000, which at the time I thought was a very good turnout for the event.  Two years later, it’s reported that the Dreamforce 2013 will have 150,000 attendants during their four day event and the Salesforce team will spend a significant amount of time on Salesforce 1.

Salesforce 1 allows the user to connect across all their platforms with a significant emphasis placed on mobile.  A sales or business development professional can head off to a meeting with their smartphone or tablet and quickly view their day; dial into a call or meeting; stay on top of daily activity during the course of the day; collaborate with managers and colleagues as meetings take place and new events unfold; update forecasts and recalibrate sales growth on a real time basis.  A great set of marketing and management tools at your fingertips to create transparency, collaboration, knowledge and better productivity.  Just as important, the software allows a manager to develop a culture that includes best practices and mitigates the scenario which includes opaque customer detail/information and feedback often leading to poor decision making by all involved.

Salesforce has had a big run this year with their stock up 30+% percent and much of this movement since June.  Compare this move to Oracle’s appreciation which is about 5% for the year.  I wonder if Oracle was to hold a party, could they get 150,000 guests to attend?  Although, if I was putting money to work, I would probably put a majority of it to work with Oracle given their lackluster performance this year and their ability to print money with their database solutions.