Tradeshift: viral invoicing

April 8, 2011 | Robert Scoble
If you don't have time to watch the whole video, check out the three-minute version below.

One area of business that has been slow to adapt to advances in technology is invoicing. It remains largely inefficient and paper intensive. Tradeshift is changing that with its invoicing network, which adds the viral element of a social network to the invoicing process.

“Invoicing is something all companies do,” explains Christian Lanng, Co-Founder and CEO of Tradeshift. “It’s also one of the few business processes that’s really viral. If I invoice you, you have to invoice somebody else or you go out of business.”

After the invention of the printer, we began to add more and more information to the invoices we print. This information has to be entered and re-entered into computer systems. “We wanted to change that with Tradeshift,” says Lanng, “and create a real, electronic solution to invoicing that could be used by most accounting systems and was really easy to use and gave you a tool that was useful for small business while taking away millions of pieces of paper for the large enterprises.”

When you invoice someone using Tradeshift, you are inviting that person to join your network. Once they join, they will be able to view the invoice, accept it, reject it and even comment on it. The system will also notify you that the invoice has been received—a feature that can be a huge cost saver for some businesses. Large enterprises can receive 10,000 phone calls for every 100,000 invoices they are sent. The most common purpose of the call is to confirm receipt of the invoice. With Tradeshift’s automatic notification, these inquiries are eliminated.

People are starting to recognize the power of this network and are pushing for more and more features—an effort Tradeshift is happy to accommodate. “We’ve spent almost half a year building an app framework where you can build apps on top of Tradeshift…and what we have is a complete, secure framework, so you can actually manipulate the data on the page without bringing the data outside the platform. That’s an area we’re seeing explode. We have people right now building [apps for] currency conversion, credit ratings…and so on.”

More info:

Tradeshift web site: http://tradeshift.com/
Tradeshift app development site: http://developer.tradeshift.com/
Tradeshift blog: http://tradeshift.com/blog/
Tradeshift on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tradeshift
Tradeshift profile on CrunchBase: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/tradeshift

Check out the three-minute version here.

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