Technology is Revolutionizing Supply Chain Finance

In 2015 Kiddyum, a small company from Manchester that provides frozen ready-meals for children, won a contract from Sainsbury’s, a big British supermarket chain. Jayne Hynes, the founder, was delighted. But sudden success might have choked Kiddyum’s cash flow. Sainsbury’s pays its suppliers in 60 days; Ms. Hynes must pay hers in only 30.

In fact Kiddyum gets its cash within a few days. Once approved by Sainsbury’s, its invoices are loaded onto the supermarket’s supply-chain finance platform, run by PrimeRevenue, an American company. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) picks up the bills, paying Kiddyum early. Kiddyum pays a fee which, Ms. Hynes says, is a small fraction of the cost of a normal loan. Sainsbury’s pays RBS when the invoice falls due.

Suppliers, of course, have always needed finance for the gap between production and payment. Traditionally, they could borrow on their own account, or sell their receivables—unpaid invoices—at a discount to businesses known as factors. Modern supply-chain finance, now some 25-years-old, also lets suppliers piggyback on the creditworthiness—and lower borrowing costs—of big corporate customers. Cash replaces receivables on their balance-sheets. Buyers can lengthen payment terms (from 60 to 90 days, say), knowing suppliers are less likely to fail for want of cash. Banks acquire good-quality assets.

Definitions of supply-chain finance abound and its scale is hard to pin down. But it is agreed that it is growing fast. BCR Publishing, which reports on the industry annually, estimates that at the end of 2014 banks and factoring operations had €40bn-50bn ($48bn-60bn) of “funds in use”. Thomas Olsen of Bain, a consulting firm, reckons (on a broader definition) that the market is expanding by 15-25% a year in the Americas and by 30-50% in Asia, with food and retailing among the most active industries. Naveed Sultan, who heads Citigroup’s trade-finance and treasury divisions, says supply-chain finance is the fastest-growing area of his trade business.

Unmet demand looks enormous. Even domestic supply chains are extensive. A new study by Mercedes Delgado of MIT’s Sloan School and Karen Mills of Harvard Business School finds that American firms supplying other firms employ 44m people. Of those, employers of 26.8m are involved in international trade. So far financing programmes have largely focused on big corporations and their first-tier suppliers. Among the obstacles to growth are know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering rules. The Asian Development Bank estimates the annual global “finance gap” in trade finance, a related field, at $1.5trn. Anand Pande, head of supply-chain finance at iGTB, which provides technology to banks, calls supply-chain finance “a land of unrealised promise”.

That is true for both banks and borrowers. Eric Li of Coalition, a research firm, forecasts that this year large banks’ revenues from programmes instigated by big buyers will be $2.8bn, 28% more than in 2010. If supplier-led finance is included, growth has been just 18%, far less than for lending volumes. Margins have been squeezed. The market is fragmented, Mr. Li notes. After the financial crisis, many banks cut back their foreign operations.

Only connect
They also face competition. Technology firms are pushing into supply chains. Online lenders have made less impact than third-party platforms that match buyers and suppliers to sources of finance. PrimeRevenue, for instance, connects 70 lenders, including 50-odd banks, to 25,000 suppliers with $7bn-worth of invoices a month. There is also space for specialists. Innervation Finance, based in New York, manages programmes for buyers offering finance to “diverse” suppliers (eg, run by people from ethnic minorities, women, veterans, the disabled or gay people) in banking, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. Mark Ferguson, the chief executive, says the cost of capital for such firms may be two or three times that of other small businesses.

More banks are setting up programmes. Bank of Baroda, a public-sector bank that is India’s fifth-biggest by assets, began only a few months ago. Litesh Majethia, who runs the supply-chain business, admits that rival banks are already established. But with small and medium-sized Indian firms facing a funding gap of $400bn, he says, there is plenty of room; and a spanking new digitised system is a plus.

Banks are not, however, being overthrown by technological upstarts—as, say, high-street retailers have been by Amazon. Symbiosis is the rule. Two big banks, HSBC and Santander, have allied with Tradeshift, an invoicing, finance and procurement network that connects over 1.5m buyers and suppliers worldwide. HSBC has also joined forces with GT Nexus, a global supply-chain management platform. Banks can tap into a new pool of customers; companies in the tech firms’ networks can find finance more easily. Smaller local banks, however, may lose out as the market expands, and suppliers spurn them to borrow more cheaply from larger lenders.

Technology is opening up more possibilities. C2FO, another financial-technology firm, matches suppliers’ requests for payment at a date and interest rate of their choosing, with buyers willing to lend. Typical supply-chain finance, says Sandy Kemper, C2FO’s boss, is far less flexible. His platform is available to smaller suppliers. Back-to-back deals along the chain are even allowing third- and fourth-tier suppliers to join in. No bank is involved, though the firm has recently teamed up with Citigroup. Citi can lend to more companies; C2FO gains access to the giant’s clients.

More is in the pipeline: banks are exploring, for example, how blockchain technology might align the flow of data and money more closely with the flow of goods. Bain’s Mr. Olsen sees several business models emerging, some led by single banks, some by groups of them, and others by platforms, big companies and e-commerce firms such as Amazon and Alibaba. Not every bank will win. The smaller fry in the world’s supply chains just might.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Stephanie Wargo

VP, Global Head of Marketing

Stephanie joined PrimeRevenue in 2015 and oversees the company’s global marketing team and strategy. With a data-driven approach, Stephanie focuses on demand generation and thought leadership to drive brand awareness, strengthen client/partner relationships, and generate new sales opportunities. Stephanie has guided PrimeRevenue through new technology releases and an evolving FinTech landscape. In addition to leading PrimeRevenue’s internal and external communications, she implemented innovative demand generation and marketing strategies to enhance the company’s overall sales pipeline.

Stephanie has extensive experience in marketing and customer success. She previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications at BitPay and Vice President of Client Relations and Marketing at FirstView Financial. Stephanie earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

Brian Medley

VP, Global Head of Sales

Brian joined PrimeRevenue in early 2012, after more than 20 years of sales leadership, executive-level consultant and business growth experience. As VP, Global Head of Sales, Brian leads a growing team of fintech sales professionals with a focus on developing strong customer relationships, improving sales predictability and helping PrimeRevenue enter the lucrative mid-market.

Prior to PrimeRevenue, Brian honed his enterprise software sales leadership skills at Clarus Corporation. He also served as an operations and IT management consultant for Kurt Salmon Associates. In addition to his sales and consulting background, Brian has deep experience in the financial industry having founded a successful residential mortgage broker and lending business. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology having earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Economics and M.B.A. in Global Business.

Jason Green

SVP, Global Customer Success

Jason joined PrimeRevenue in 2021 following more than two decades in the fintech/financial services industry. He brings a strong background is sales leadership due to his impressive relationship building capability as well as a successful track record in creating structure and process improvements. In his role, Jason uses his keen attention to detail to strengthen the customer experience and enhance the company’s solutions to deliver more value to clients.

Prior to joining the company, Jason held several senior level and executive roles with a focus on building and scaling sales and support organizations at both large and small companies. Jason graduated from Murray State University with a B.S in Marketing.

Matt Ford

SVP, Global Product Innovation

Matt joined PrimeRevenue in early 2015 and is responsible for overseeing all commercial, strategic and operational aspects of PrimeRevenue’s supply chain finance offerings throughout EMEA, based in Prague. He has been instrumental in gaining global alignment and developing supplier enablement processes for the region.

Matt joined PrimeRevenue following a 15-year career at Morgan Stanley, where he worked in fixed income operations covering debt syndication through bonds, EMTNS, corporate loans and other debt securitization. Notably, he set up non-core location operations in Europe (Budapest) and all lending operations in Baltimore from scratch.

Matt, who was born and raised in South East England, earned a B.S. in Sports Science at University of Teesside where he mastered the art of TEAM development and accountability as a youth international rugby player.

Dominic Capolongo

EVP, Global Head of Funding

Dominic joined PrimeRevenue in 2016, and is responsible for leading our bank and capital markets funding strategies and execution. He focuses on building global, scalable and highly efficient funding structures that maximize options for supporting PrimeRevenue’s programs. Dominic began his career as an attorney and was a partner with Kaye Scholer before joining DLJ as a senior banker. Dominic brings tremendous strategic and capital markets experience in all areas of finance having held senior positions at, among others, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets in addition to DLJ. Dominic earned a JD from Fordham University School of Law and a BA from SUNY Binghamton.

Gavin Cicchinelli

Chief Operating Officer

Gavin joined PrimeRevenue as Chief Operating Officer in 2021. With more than two decades of leadership and executive experience along with a deep understanding of the payments space, Gavin provides a unique focus on improving and strengthening operational strategies and implementing GTM growth execution. He is responsible for leading transformation across corporate and operational strategies as well as building a repeatable and scalable commercial growth strategy that aligns with PrimeRevenue’s core business while delivering key adjacent growth opportunities.

Prior to joining PrimeRevenue, Gavin served as President and Chief Revenue Officer of Integrated Solutions at TSYS, a global payment processing services company acquired by Global Payments (NYSE:GPN). There, he also served as Head of Product and divisional COO. Throughout his career, Gavin has held multiple leadership positions including VP of Sales, SVP of Business Development, and President of Financial Institutions. Gavin graduated from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.

David Quillian

Chief Legal Officer

David joined PrimeRevenue as General Counsel in 2007. He and his team have been instrumental in successfully creating the unique legal structures that support PrimeRevenue’s multi-funder model and global funding capabilities. David is also the lead named inventor on PrimeRevenue’s two patents for Electronic Time Drafts, which allow PrimeRevenue to manage supply chain finance programs using electronic negotiable instruments as opposed to accounts receivable. Prior to PrimeRevenue, David was General Counsel at Harbor Payments, which was acquired by American Express (AXP) in 2006, and Magnet Communications, which was acquired by Digital Insight (DGIN) in 2003. He holds degrees in Economics and History from Duke University, and Juris Doctor and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Georgia.

Nathan Feather


Nathan has successfully ushered PrimeRevenue from our very early days as a visionary startup, through the financial crisis to today’s position as a thriving mid-sized leader in the cloud-enabled supply chain finance marketplace since joining PrimeRevenue in January 2006. He was instrumental in recapitalizing the company with an $80M investment led by BBH Capital Partners in 2015. Prior to PrimeRevenue, he held various financial management roles with Ariba, Freemarkets and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Nathan holds a BS in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University.

PJ Bain


PJ has an impressive and accomplished track record as an enterprise software entrepreneur and executive. PJ has built a solid record of success with PrimeRevenue since being appointed Chief Executive Officer in July of 2009. The company has received numerous awards for growth, customer service, innovation, along with being recognized as a top employer.

PJ is a life-long software and technology entrepreneur having been involved in numerous firms in the roles of founder, executive, advisor and investor. Immediately prior to PrimeRevenue, PJ was the VP and General Manager of Exact Holding N.V. (NYSE/AMS: EXACT), a leading global provider of business software solutions. He was previously Founder and CEO of Inspired Solutions, an Atlanta-based, B2B software and services firm that grew to be the largest reseller of Exact Software in North America, later acquired by Exact. PJ holds a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.