Anthony, how would you describe POM in one tweet?
“POM makes life easier for normal people like you and me, and small organizations who struggle with a lot of incoming invoices.”
Which problem is POM solving?
“Especially frustration. Invoices arrive via all channels: post, e-mail or on customer portals. And the payees all have their own instructions and regulations. Intrum Justitia is regularly doing consumer research and found out that payment obligations cause heaps of frustration. That again results in delayed payments and missed due dates.”
How’s POM keeping the frustration away?
“Whenever an invoice comes in, you can take a photo of the paper versions and upload them – just as the pdf versions – to the app. POM is taking over the manual work of typing in the numbers. You simply save all your invoices in the app and pay with one click. In order to do this, you give permission to common payment apps, like iDEAL. POM is overlooking and managing the payments.”
Is POM already available in the Netherlands?
“Not yet. Almost every European country has their own payment systems. In Belgium, we are using Bancontact and Sign2Pay and in the Netherlands the standard is iDEAL. The app needs to be adjusted accordingly and this comes along with quite some technical challenges. For that reason, POM can only be used in Flanders and Wallonia at the moment. But the Netherlands are certainly high up on our list of possible growth markets.”
How do your customers like POM?
“Users give a lot of positive reactions on Twitter, for instance. And we see from the reactions that they experience what we had in mind: Handiness and time savings. In Google Play, POM currently has a rating of 4 out 5 stars and most of the ratings are very positive too. And we try to implement the feedback we receive right away. For instance, we’re currently working on announcing the payee’s name in the remittance, and not POM.”
What made you start with POM?
“In Belgium, there is a number of other systems on the market with more or less the same goal. But they work from a supplier perspective, so for instance energy and telecom companies. The main driver there is to digitalize invoices and collect payments as fast as possible. This seems to forget the end-user. Tom Totté and Johannes Vermeire, the founders of POM, realized this during their career in the e-voicing an e-payment sector.”
Who are your competitors?
“Zoomit is one of our competitors. They started with digital billing via internet banking apps. For around hundred companies, they can process every invoice. But this doesn’t work for companies they don’t work together with. Apart from that, there is Doccle. Doccle is more a digital archive for all your invoices, not an all-around service. The main differentiating factor of POM is that it can process all invoices, hard-copy and digital. And I think that user-friendliness is a lot more core to our business.”
What is your business model?
“For users, the POM-apps are free. We generate income through deals with the suppliers. We make it easier and cheaper for them to collect their receivables. It often happens that they have to wait for a long time before customers pay their invoices, sometimes they even have to follow up. In exchange for faster payments, we ask for a small amount per paid invoice which depends on the overall volume. Without those deals, there are no revenues for us. We are planning a pro-version, however, which is offering a subscription service.”
What are your major challenges at the moment?
“It’s a real challenge to convince large companies. We have already quite some active users, around 15000, and processed more than two million euros of payments. We’re looking into all options to convince both consumers and large corporates to use our service.”
What’s coming up for POM?
“We’re still in the red numbers. To become profitable and grow further, we need investments. We’re currently in a venture round and hope to collect two million euros. In earlier rounds, we already collected 1.1 million in investments. We will use that to strengthen our position in the Belgian market and expand internationally to countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and the UK. They have a similar culture of billing and payments to Belgium. Moreover, with our app, we want to act on some major technical trends. For instance, we want to integrate speech recognition.”
How did the participation in the Innovation Awards contribute to your goals?
“We signed up to increase our visibility and generate interest in the Netherlands. And we certainly succeeded with this, both among larger companies who might become clients later on and consumers. We expect an even bigger impact with the next participation, when we’re already active in the Dutch market.”
Read the orginal article in Dutch on Emerce