B2B Interviews ML

Global Fintech Interview with Olivier Novasque, Founder and CEO at Sidetrade

Global Fintech Interview with Olivier Novasque, Founder and CEO at Sidetrade

Please tell us about your role and the team / technology you handle at Sidetrade. How did you arrive here?

I founded Sidetrade, a public fast growing AI-powered Order-to-Cash (O2C) Software vendor in 2000. Since the beginning, our platform was developed by taking advantage of SaaS disruption to innovate and engage businesses to the next level of their O2C management.

One of our unique selling points is our expansive Data Network. This Data Lake is now very compelling to the running of  Sidetrade’ Machine & Deep Learning algorithms, relying on more than 482 million B2B transactions, worth over $2.4 trillion (over the last three years) made by six million + companies.

Today Sidetrade is used in 85 countries.

What is Sidetrade and how does it fit into the modern FINTECH ecosystem?

Recently ranked for the first time as one of the ‘Major Players’ category of IDC’s assessment of vendors on the O2C market, Sidetrade’s mission is to help organisations unlock customer value, giving businesses of their AI system an edge over competitors.  Sidetrade has a global reach with 270 talents based in Paris, London, Birmingham, Dublin, Amsterdam, Houston and Calgary. More than 2,700 companies of all sizes and industries including: Expedia, TechData and Nespresso rely on Sidetrade technology to accelerate their cash flow generation.

Tell us your idea behind the acquisition of Amalto. What business strategy do you have in place to successfully launch in North America?

The acquisition of Almato is a strategic move from Sidetrade, and gives the company a presence in North America.  Amalto is imposed as the leader of dematerialisation of orders and invoices in the Oil and Gas sector in North America. Present in the United States (Texas), Canada and Europe, Almato employs 21 people including 15 in America, who will all make the seamless transition over to Sidetrade.

With the acquisition, Sidetrade is projecting revenue of USD 43m this year, with USD 7m of the total in North America. With Amalto’s R&D and Project Teams, Sidetrade will already have about 30 People in North America by the end of 2021.

Also Read: Global Fintech Interview with Arun Krishnan, SVP and Head of Engineering at Infosys Finacle

Could you explain to our readers what is the meaning of “dematerialisation of financial flows.” How does it impact business revenue?

Enterprise Resource Planning investment has largely over-promised and under-delivered, with time-consuming manual effort still dominating in many areas of finance.

This is particularly true in the O2C process, which has seen little or no reduction in the number of employees it takes to process customer orders, invoice, chase and receive payments and handle reconciliations and cash management. And in many cases headcount has even increased as new processes have been introduced to tighten credit controls and reduce the risk of bad debt. These remain untapped areas for CFOs to explore technologies such as automation and AI to improve efficiency and accuracy and reduce risk.

Companies have traditionally tried to manage cash flow and working capital by increasing days payable outstanding (DPO) – delaying payments to suppliers. Cash flow and liquidity are critical for any business, yet a staggering €1.2 trillion of excess working capital is tied up on global balance sheets, according to PwC research. The credit control process is so inefficient that without dedicated O2C technology and AI – an astonishing 61% of actions generate no payment.

Your observations on the biggest challenges for companies in the pandemic era? How do you cope with these at Sidetrade?

The Covid-19 crisis has nevertheless awoken organisations of the essential fact regarding the importance of cash flow for survival. The rise in unpaid invoices and the race for aid (postponement of tax and social security payments, State-guaranteed loans, etc.) have reminded everyone that in stressful situations, cash is king.

In a market that is still largely dominated by spreadsheets and manual processes, Sidetrade is making it possible to professionalise the O2C operations thanks to intelligent automation technologies. Sidetrade’s offer is in tune with the needs of organisations seeking to accelerate cash collection, notably by reducing payment delays and accelerating dispute resolutions.

Do you use AI ML at Sidetrade? If yes, could you tell us how these enable you to become a better fintech company?

2015 saw the birth of Aimie, Sidetrade’s virtual O2C  assistant. Using machine learning algorithms, Aimie has now trained on over 420 million customer payment experiences, totaling $2,400 bn in B2B transactions. This machine learning generates predictive analytics, resulting in actionable recommendations for finance people. In every industry, finance teams are using Aimie to predict their customer payment behaviours, to recommend the best dunning action at the best time with the best relevant media, to sum up,  to accelerate cash flow and automate all their O2C processes..

Aimie uses deep learning to model business transaction scenarios and recommend action plans to achieve KPIs, all of which are underpinned by real-time insight into not only the customers, but also millions of unique global B2B transactions. The three core tenets of Aimie’s capabilities are:

  • to understand the underpinnings of customer relations;
  • set action plans that staff will understand and trust,
  • and act and get results.

Based on a modular infrastructure, Sidetrade’s platform can evolve continuously to meet the changing needs of customers and their organisations.

Also Read: Global Fintech Interview with Mark Williams, CFO at Sinequa

What kind of skills / talent are you hiring for in 2021?

In 2021, we will hire a 30+ diverse range of engineers within our two tech hubs in Paris and Birmingham. The Product team will also be reinforced to make sure our roadmap is delivered at the expected level, hand-in-hand with the Engineering team. As we enter a new scaling phase, we are looking for all seniority levels: from junior to team and tech lead roles and we are even seeking our first Head of Data Science.

To achieve our ambitious strategic plan ‘Fusion 100’, we are of course looking for Regional Sales Managers in France, in the UK and in the US who are laser-focused on developing new logo customers & hunting for net new business. To support them generating more revenue, we are reinforcing our BDR team in Ireland that will detect high quality opportunities.

This is only the beginning of the journey and we will keep this hiring pace over the next few years.

Your predictions for the B2B customer payments industry.

The demand for AI is growing quickly in a wide range of Finance functions as business-users evidence the success of AI to pivot and adapt during the COVID crisis and deliver better outcomes despite the rapidly changing business environment.

With cash collection being pushed to the forefront of revenue generation efforts, customer-facing roles have the potential to be redefined in order to strengthen a cash culture. Compensation for sales and other roles will pivot from revenue to cash-focused goals and specific tools that drive collaboration and embed cash generation across the organisation will be a priority for all enterprises.

Tag a person from the industry whose answers you would like to see here, and why.

Jonathan Cherky, CEO of Contentsquare, one of my friends. In just a few years, Jonathan has given his company the keys to successful hyper-growth development, making Contentsquare one of the best unicorns in the B2B software industry and the world leader in UX Analytics.

Also Read: Global Fintech Interview with Shivani Govil, CPO at CCC Information Services

Olivier founded Sidetrade in 2000, taking advantage of SaaS disruption to innovate and engage companies in new ways of managing financial customer relationships. He is a visionary entrepreneur, surrounded by the most ingenious talents, leading a company with passion and energy and driving the business in an increasingly expansive market. It’s important He keep inventing and exploring the art of possible to make Sidetrade the most successful company in the order-to-cash market.

Sidetrade

Sidetrade is a fast-growing international SaaS company with a solid 21-year track record. It is listed on Euronext Growth.

Sidetrade simplifies the way businesses accelerate order-to-cash. Its next-generation AI self-learning technology, called Aimie, helps businesses unlock customer value.

Fuelled by an unrivalled database consisting of millions of worldwide B2B customer payment experiences, Aimie automatically provides customer predictive analytics. She delivers actionable insights that enable teams to make data-driven decisions they can trust. Aimie also provides automation to get better results than purely manual or ERP-driven solutions.

Sidetrade’s unique approach to AI unlocks the ability of any organization to leverage intelligent automation and sophisticated machine learning algorithms that maximise business value:

• gain control and visibility of the order-to-cash process

• secure and grow sales by reducing churn, and increasing upsell and cross-sell

• accelerate cash generation by driving collection productivity and sales collaboration.

Aimie is a valued teammate, who deals with repetitive, time-consuming tasks, so that her human co-workers can concentrate on their core business: increasing customer value and revenue.

Aimie is a real game-changer in collaborative intelligence- a system whereby individuals and machines contribute to problem solving in complementary ways. Artificial intelligence in support of natural intelligence empowers teams to work faster, and smarter.

From large multinationals to mid-size enterprises worldwide, thousands of companies already use Sidetrade’s SaaS technology to embed a cash culture and optimize complex order-to-cash operations. Customers include: TechData, Nespresso, Expedia, Manpower, Inmarsat, Hearst Magazines, Cordant Group, PageGroup, Chubb, XPO Logistics, Veolia, Vinci.

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