DueCourse marks a break from traditional forms of invoice finance. The company’s cloud-based software platform provides cash advances to small business owners through a confidential and flexible finance model, capitalising on the prominence of cloud accounting to access real-time accounting data.
Business Advice spoke to co-founder and CEO, Paul Haydock, to find out more about DueCourse’s innovative approach to invoice finance, and how he hopes to change the fortunes of small companies.
(1) Who are you and what’s your business?
I’m Paul Haydock and I am the CEO and co-founder of DueCourse, a cloud-based invoice finance service for SMEs.
(2) How long have you been around for?
DueCourse was founded in September 2014.
(3) How do you make money?
We let small business owners access the funds in their unpaid invoices whenever they like. This means they can get hold of their cash early to use as working capital towards growing their business and meeting their ambitions.
We make money by charging a daily fee from the day the advance is taken to the day it’s paid back, so it’s a very affordable and convenient fee with no contract or monthly costs.
(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?
Definitely the convenient, smart technology. Every aspect of our invoice finance service is online and you can install our software in just two clicks. All businesses have to do is upload an invoice, and we do the rest.
Once a business owner decides to go ahead with an invoice advance, the money is in their account within an hour. In this respect, a small business using our software can essentially go from dealing with 30/60/90-day payment terms to zero-day terms just like that, which is pretty amazing.
(5) What was key in terms of getting started?
We had some early investment backers, which helped us enormously with building the early prototypes of the invoice finance software, so that was key in getting us off the ground.
Also, we collaborated with cloud accounting packages and started working closely with other small businesses. This helped to ensure we were getting in front of the right people in those early days.
(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Definitely our latest round of investment, which was the biggest investment raised for a fintech company outside of London. We were really happy with that, but we’ve still got a lot to do.
(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?
Far too many to mention, we have a few every week!
As a startup you’re always going to get setbacks and obstacles – it’s part of running a business. It’s how you get around them and solve the problems that’s key, and we’ve had a lot of practice.
(8) In five years’ time, we will be…
Operating in multiple countries and serving thousands and thousands of small businesses, helping them run their businesses better. We will also be known as the trusted source for education, support and guidance for SMEs just starting out and beyond.
(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?
Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance.
Don’t stop, don’t give up, keep going. The idea that you start out with isn’t going to be how it plays out in the end – but don’t worry about that.
You’ve got to adapt and change according to the market requirements and what your customers want.
I actually believe that if you never stop then you’ll get there eventually, but nine out of ten entrepreneurs do unfortunately give up before they make it.
(10) Who are your business heroes and why?
I recently read the book “Shoe Dog” by the creator of Nike, Phil Knight. It was a really good read and he persevered in doing something he was really passionate about.
For him it wasn’t all about the money; it was about the bigger idea and what he was trying to create. He knew that if you do that right and delight your customers then the money will come.
I like people who have that mindset, and it’s a sentiment I’ve tried to build DueCourse around.
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