A lack of working capital, 90-day invoice maturities and often expensive or unattainable bank financing is something many of the 500,000 logistics companies in Europe struggle with.
Fintech 4Trans fintech specialises in financial products for supply chain and logistics companies.The company, which recently secured an €18million investment from backers including Atmos, Tera Ventures and Lighthouse, provides a real-time data-based ecosystem of financial services.
Jaroslav Ton is CEO at 4Trans, and responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of the company. In this week’s Behind the Idea, Ton shares insight into 4Trans’ mission to help small companies operate in the supply chain.
Tell us more about your company and its offering
We provide financial products for small and medium sized companies operating in supply chain and logistics. This is an industry that is currently very poorly served by traditional financial services. A lack of working capital, 90-day invoice maturities and often expensive or unattainable bank financing is something the majority of the 500,000 logistics companies in Europe really struggle with.
We solve this via our AI driven factoring service. This enables logistics companies and hauliers to gain immediate payment of issued invoices and verification of payment behaviour of debtors. As a result, businesses are able to protect their finances.
By using data analysis and automation, 4Trans is able to do instant risk modelling and, as the service is fully digitalised, customers can receive payment of invoices of any size in five minutes. This is in contrast to the three month average for invoice payments. Our service has proved massively popular – we have already provided a total volume of financed invoices worth over €40 million. 4Tran’s goal is to become the leader in SME financing in Europe.
What problem was your company set up to solve?
We are the only fintech that is geared towards helping individual hauliers and SMEs solve their financial problems in this way. The supply chain crisis alongside political and economic uncertainty has led to a huge increase in delays to invoices being paid. This has put considerable financial pressure on Europe’s small and medium sized hauliers. Unfortunately, most traditional financial institutions simply do not cater to this group and those that do take too long to provide financing or require very large invoices. We’ve created a range of solutions that give the small and independent entrepreneurs within the European supply chain the protection they need and deserve.
What makes 4Trans truly special is that we’re leveraging a range of cutting edge tech like AI and behavioural data mining and analysis to feed our risk models and give our customers the best possible experience. We prioritise speed and ease of use because we know that any time spent sorting out financial admin is time when our customers aren’t on the road or running their business. Most customers can get their invoices sorted with a few clicks – it’s difficult to overstate just how much peace of mind this provides.
Since launch, how has your company evolved?
4Trans is still a relatively new startup. We only fully launched our services in Europe in the past 18 months. In that time we’ve seen growth skyrocket, landed one of the largest Seed Rounds in Czech tech history and perfected our initial offering to our customers. At the moment we’re concentrating on growing our team with a view to rolling out our services to more European countries.
What has been the biggest challenge or most ‘tricky moment’ to overcome?
I think most startup owners would agree that one of the biggest challenges of getting off the ground is translating your ideas into a practical reality. We have many long nights building our platform on a tight budget. Hiring the right people to support this is also pretty tough. There’s a lot riding on it and making a mistake at such an early stage can be very costly. Thankfully, we found really great people to help build 4Trans and now with the support of our investors we are set to scale rapidly.
What are your biggest achievements or ‘proudest moment’ so far?
It may sound a little cheesy but being told by a customer that their business was saved by 4Trans was a very emotional moment for me. This was the point where I knew we had built something that makes an important difference. Since then more of our customers have come forward to say that 4Trans is a lifeline for them and each time it makes me incredibly proud of what our team has achieved and enthusiastic for what we can go on to do in the future.
How would you describe the culture of your company?
Our culture is built on the principle that by giving people who are locked out of the financial system access you can help them prosper. Everyone we hire has bought into that ideal. This gives a real sense of purpose. We aren’t building a startup for the sake of it or just to make money – it’s doing something meaningful and good. This naturally means our culture is geared towards openness and innovation. Ideas can come from right across the team and will be listened to because we know that everyone has the same goal.
What’s in store for the future?
4Trans is at the beginning of its journey. There is a lot more we can do to help small companies operating in the supply chain. We plan to radically expand the range of financial products we offer and take our services to every European country. Ultimately, we want to expand globally beyond our current markets to cater to any SME in logistics that has difficulty accessinging the financial industry. Our belief is that by tackling financial exclusion and underbanking we can really make a difference to people’s lives by giving them the tools they need to grow their businesses on an even playing field.