Two Canadian payments companies in different business-to-business spheres are plotting growth in the U.S. market next year.
Versapay and Brim Financial, both based in Toronto, have already lured U.S. corporate customers, but are seeking to expand their clientele south of the border.
Versapay, the larger of the two companies with about 400 employees, is in the business-to-business arena, providing payment software services to help suppliers manage and collect on payments from business clients. The company seeks to automate the accounts receivable process for collections and reconciliation, including invoicing and payments processing.
“The problem that we're solving is that businesses perform a task or a service or a good and they have terms around what that payment should look like, and when that payment should be made, but collecting on that payment is really manual, and it's a space that has not been disrupted,” Versapay CEO Carey O’Connor Kolaja said in an interview this month.
About 70% to 75% of Versapay’s business derives from the U.S., Kolaja said, noting the company is primarily focused on North America. Versapay operates a network that includes about one million buyer accounts, with verticals that include commercial real estate, manufacturing, construction, wholesale and distribution, the CEO said.
Versapay has about 9,000 customers and handles $60 billion in payments worldwide annually, according to a spokesperson for the company.
Versapay, with offices in Atlanta and Miami, seeks to help its business clients reduce the occurrence of late payments, cut the time that payments are outstanding, better understand their cash flow and increase payment options for their customers, Kolaja explained. Target clients are middle-market companies that have annual revenue of between $50 million and $1 billion.
“In the U.S., 70% of the market we're going after is sheer whitespace,” Kolaja said, citing industry research. “It’s still Excel spreadsheets and manual cash.”
Versapay customers include the accounting firm KPMG, the real estate investment trust company Boston Properties and Carter Lumber, according to a list provided by a spokesperson.
A “huge partner” for Versapay is Oracle software giant Netsuite, Kolaja noted. Versapay connects to Netsuite’s enterprise resource planning system such that it can take a payment and reconcile it through that system, simplifying the process for chief financial officers, she said. Kolaja declined to say what percentage of its business comes through Netsuite.
The private equity firm Great Hill Partners, which has an investment niche in payments companies, acquired Verspay for C$126 million (about $95 million) in December 2019, closing in February of the next year. Versapay has since made its own acquisitions, including the U.S. payment software firm DadeSystems. Currently, Great Hill owns a majority stake in Versapay, Kolaja said.
A Versapay spokesperson declined to say who owns the minority stake, as did Matthew Vettel, a managing director at Great Hill.
Kolaja, who took the CEO post in March, said her intention is to “create a sustainable business where growth comes because you're creating value for your customers,” but noted that unlocking the company’s value won’t happen overnight. Asked whether Versapay has acquisitions in mind, given its private equity backing, Kolaja didn’t address that possibility.
The CEO of Toronto-based Brim Financial expects a recently announced partnership with card network Mastercard to bolster the startup’s growth going forward.
Geared toward banks, fintechs and large merchants, Brim’s credit-card-as-a-service platform enables customers to launch and run consumer or commercial credit card programs. As part of a strategic partnership announced earlier this month, Brim will embed Mastercard’s open banking capabilities into its platform, said CEO Rasha Katabi, also the startup’s founder.
Brim differentiates itself in being an end-to-end platform, meaning it provides the customer-facing products as well as the platforms that enable the staff of its clients to run the business, Katabi said. That’s important from a compliance perspective, “because there are blind spots when you're putting together different vendors, and you're not able to see the entire picture in real time,” she contends.
Brim, founded in 2017, has about 11 clients across the U.S. and Canada; she noted some of those clients have issued more than 1 million cards. The company didn’t immediately share how many of those customers are U.S.-based. Brim is currently rolling out its services with sizable clients in the U.S., Katabi said. “The U.S. is a key focus market for us,” she said.
Katabi declined to comment on the amount of venture capital the fintech has raised. Brim currently has about 112 employees, and Katabi aims to nearly double that figure by the end of 2024. The company has a U.S. office in Salt Lake City, and about 35% of Brim’s employees are U.S.-based today.