Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Drip Capital, defining the strategic vision and overseeing product, business development and global operations.

International trade has increasingly become a key force behind global GDP growth. With steady increases in transaction size as well as payment periods, a lot of this trade has become reliant on trade finance facilitation by lenders. In fact, up to 80% of international trade requires some kind of financing.

Since the earliest days of commerce, trade has primarily been financed by institutions and individuals with deep pockets. These financial institutions have been focused heavily on financing large businesses and trading companies that have a reasonable assurance of success.

As a result, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been left out of the trade finance circuit, despite contributing significantly to global trade. The Asian Development Bank estimated that nearly 45% of SMB trade finance applications are rejected by banks and traditional lenders.

However, a new class of financier has stepped up to the plate in recent years, in the form of alternative finance providers. Data-driven and agile, these fintech firms (to include our own) are pushing to close the gap, relying on technology to break the barriers faced by traditional lenders in servicing SMBs. The success of these newer players in originating high volumes and strong credit quality — key requirements for institutional investors —has resulted in the resurgence of a particular investment asset: trade finance receivables.

The Return Of The Trade Receivable

In a cross-border transaction, there are two parties: an exporter and an importer (i.e., a buyer). A third party (a financier) is introduced when one party needs advance payments. When an exporter generates an invoice against an order from a buyer, with the expectation the buyer will pay that invoice, that invoice is a trade receivable. The

Chief financial officers at companies including

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA,

Ford Motor Co.

and

Verizon Communications Inc.

are calling on other executives to make sure their businesses help fight poverty and climate change.

A group of CFOs on Monday published a framework to help guide companies’ decision-making in areas such as corporate finance and investing to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These goals, adopted in 2015, include ending poverty by 2030, taking action against climate change and improving access to clean water.

The CFOs are urging other finance executives to allocate their companies’ resources to projects that support the development goals and expand their set of funding instruments to include green bonds and other sustainability-oriented tools, executives said.

“Because of the seats we sit in within our companies, us being seen as supporting it…makes people take a second look and say, ‘Hey, maybe there are things we can do,’” Verizon CFO Matthew Ellis said.

The telecommunications company last week issued a $1 billion green bond and said it would use the proceeds to support four of the U.N.’s 17 goals in areas such as clean energy and economic growth. Verizon plans to invest in solar and wind facilities to power its networks.

Investors increasingly take interest in environmental, social and governance issues. Funds that pursued sustainability targets in their investment strategy during the first half of 2020 attracted $20.9 billion in net new assets from investors. That is roughly on par with the whole of 2019 and about four times as much as in 2018, according to

Morningstar Inc.,

a ratings company. Morningstar analyzed 334 U.S. funds in its tally.

Fernando Tennenbaum, chief financial officer of AB InBev.



Photo:

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Nancy Porte

I’ve known Nancy Porte for a long time. Probably about seven to eight years. Aside from her genuine niceness, she is one of those people who have the experience and insight to actually teach a teacher. Nancy is the VP of Global Customer Experience at Verint, a company that is focused on CX as its raison d’etre. And she’s really, really good at her job. But she is also really good at thinking through CX-related concepts and values. So, I’d pay attention to what she is saying here. There aren’t too many left-brained applications of right-brained concepts out there. But think about it: Both make it whole-brained. (Here is a link to Verint’s CX video that has Nancy in some clips)

Your stage, Nancy.


We’ve all heard it before: It costs less to keep a customer than to obtain a new customer. Rather than add new logos, companies now understand the value of providing a positive customer experience to grow revenues from their existing customer base. After all, growth is hard to come by when you have dissatisfied customers leaving the stable.

Enterprise customer experience (CX) initiatives, designed to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, have become part of the corporate landscape. In general, organizations know these initiatives are worthwhile — but to what extent? And what specific actions move the mark?

Business leaders who approve business plans – and funding – are focused on supporting overarching organizational goals of cost containment and revenue growth. Customer experience initiatives aren’t immune to the need for business justification. As we move toward the emergence of data-driven predictive models, we need to understand, what is the financial upside of a happy customer? And what are the specific dials to turn to get existing customers to buy more from your company?

CX professionals

Mastermind Analytics promises to deliver 360-degree, on-demand visibility into company finances with a low-code interface, and it can process unstructured data, too.

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Image: AppZen

A new software product from finance AI analytics company AppZen promises to be “a first of its kind” tool that can provide financial insights “previously unavailable” to finance teams. Called Mastermind Analytics, if it can do what AppZen says it can, it looks to be the tool of bookkeepers’ dreams. 

The goal of Mastermind Analytics is to not only allow finance teams to get on-demand analysis of company finances, but also to provide benchmarks against other companies that AppZen CEO Anant Kale said will show organizations both where they’re leading their peers, and where they’re lagging.

In order to provide thorough financial results, which AppZen calls “360-degree,” Mastermind Analytics audits travel documents, expenses, accounts payable paperwork, and other sources to provide feedback in real time. Kale said that Mastermind is also able to analyze unstructured data as well. 

SEE: Report: SMB’s unprepared to tackle data privacy (TechRepublic Premium)

“Finance teams will now have access to previously unavailable out-of-policy spend information that enables immediate visibility into patterns and activity that could indicate, and prevent, more complex risks of fraud and waste,” Kale said.

As for comparing a company’s finance to other organizations, Kale said that Mastermind Analytics pulls “billions of data points from close to 2,000 customers.” The comparison itself will benchmark companies against one another in areas like spending, risk, and operational performance. 

Mastermind Analytics was also created with finance teams in mind, AppZen said, which means it doesn’t require any additional integrations with the AppZen platform, nor does it need developers with analytics skills to extract results from. Mastermind, Kale said, is designed to be low code, giving finance professionals access to data that would

The crypto industry is known for its dramatic price action, euphoria and bubbles. In the latest sustained fad since the 2017 initial coin offering, or the ICO boom, the decentralized finance niche of the industry now captivates the attention of many participants. One particular asset within this niche, YFI, has pumped to amazing price heights, totaling at least 4,400% gains inside a two-month span. Is this price action warranted, and does the token have actual value?

“YFI’s value lies in its design as a governance token, allowing the community to vote and decide on the direction of the Yearn Finance project,” Jason Lau, the chief operating officer of the OKCoin crypto exchange, told Cointelegraph. “As activity within the project and vaults grow, YFI holders can change strategies, launch new vaults, and potentially even redirect treasury or fees to themselves at a later date.”

“While YFI currently does not offer any returns, there are proposals in the works that could see YFI holders that stake their YFI for governance, [they] would get a portion of the performance fees — and potentially even redirect treasury or fees to themselves at a later date,” Lau added, pointing to a relevant blog post.

Although crypto exchanges see value in YFI, their appraisals of the token may be biased because of the profits they gather by hosting trading for a popular asset. Binance, OKCoin and numerous other exchanges provide YFI trading on their respective exchanges.

Setting the scene

YFI is the token associated with the DeFi yield aggregation platform Yearn.finance. Essentially, the project stands as another opportunity for DeFi participants to shift their money around by borrowing and loaning assets for collateral and earning interest on holdings while also trading various pumping assets.

Between late July and the first half of September 2020, YFI ballooned