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January 22, 2022updated 25 Jan 2022 11:59am

Veem CEO Marzan Forzley targets Buy Now Pay Later growth

Veem CEO Marzan Forzley discusses his firm's BNPL ambitions with RBI editor Douglas Blakey

By Douglas Blakey

The growing popularity of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) is a trend that is not just appealing to consumers. As Marwan Forzley, CEO of Veem tells Douglas Blakey, BNPL can also helping small businesses to grow market share and boost customer satisfaction

In 2014, Veem launched with the aim of making international money transfers as simple as purchasing a cup of coffee. Since then, it has expanded at pace, providing enterprise-level financial tools and negotiating power to the small businesses who need it most.

Veem provides simple, secure, and trackable payments to over 110 countries and over 400,000 businesses around the globe. Last September, Veem raised $31m in a funding round led by Truist Ventures, with plans to develop its channel partner programme and widen Veem’s geographic footprint. Other backers include Goldman Sachs, Google Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.

Marzan Forzley, CEO of Veem speaks with RBI editor Douglas Blakey

Veem taps into BNPL growth-for business customers

And now Veem is tapping into the growing BNPL sector. Specifically, Veem, has launched a buy-now-pay-later product for SMBs which gives them access to important funds and products quickly and reliably. While the majority of press coverage on BNPL focuses on the growing use of the product by retail users, Veem argues that BNPL products for SMBs are the next place for growth.

SMBs often struggle not because of poor sales or profitability but because of temporary lack of cash flow.

Veem is providing cash flow support for customers in the form of paying with credit cards and access to capital with a more likely approval process than a bank. While revenue may not be available for SMBs, Veem allows businesses to stay afloat, avoid bankruptcy and cover operational costs such as payroll, electricity, and rent.

Veem has access to the transactions and payment history of its SMBs clients and so it is able to make good choices on whom to provide cash advances to and how much as well.

These cash advances can then be returned by the businesses over a period of three months in equal increments and any repayments after this period would incur charges and interest as well.

Not new-but BNPL is sexy

Marzan Forzley tells RBI: “BNPL is nothing new but has only recently become sexy. And that is to do with Covid. In an environment when e-commerce is a bigger, merchants realise that BNPL opens up a new audience.

Some stuff will work and some will not. In the business environment where we are, users can boost their cash flow. BNPL is not a case of one size fits all. We are seeing very different adoption rates in different markets. It is small market but a growth market. But it has not yet gone through a correction, such as a rising interest rate environment.”

From 80,000 customers in 2018 to +400,000 today

Recent growth is headline grabbing, with Veem posting strong customer acquisition numbers.

“We have introduced a number of new payment options. We expanded functionality. We make it simple for businesses to pay and get paid,” says Forzley.

He argues that small and medium sized businesses are at a particular disadvantage, as they lack the negotiating power and favourable rates offered to multinational corporations by large financial institutions. Veem’s future growth centres on its ability to democratise legacy financial systems. It is also not just competing on cost. Forzley says that its relationship-based payment model enhances transparency, security, and efficiency in international business relationships.

Looking ahead, Forzley says that there is nothing quick about fintech and that a quick sell out or acquisition is not top of mind.

“It takes time. If you set up to either get acquired or go public, you do not control the outcome. So, we focus on the things we can do well. We focus on things that will delight customers.”

Sister publication Verdict features an article by Eric Johansson discussing how the BNPL sector can win public trust and hold off regulatory action

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