is a fintech whose digital marketplace solves a cash flow problem for the international telecoms industry. It has partnered with Euler Hermes UK for trade credit insurance, with co-founder and CEO Lawrence Gilioli saying the partnership “ultimately means peace of mind”.
The London-based fintech has set up a two-way digital relationship with Euler Hermes using APIs (data channels that link computer systems). These allow real-time access to trade credit insurance and feed data back to Euler Hermes about payment patterns.
Mr Gilioli says: “As fintech firms forge ahead, we need strong, reliable and agile partners such as Euler Hermes that understand our requirements. Collaboration like this helps us capture opportunities."
Lenderwize provides a financial service for the companies that make international voice calls possible. So how does it work? Take as an example a phone call from Dublin to Dubai. The Irish network operator will typically connect the call to a specialist wholesale international network that will, in turn, connect the call to the local network operator in Dubai.
The wholesale international operator may not get paid by the originating network in Ireland for 60 days, but the operator in Dubai may want payment in seven. That is 53 days of payments pain for the international operator in the middle.
The insight from Mr Gilioli and his co-founder Augusto Pellegrini, a former international business head for a major European telecoms operator, is that these call invoices can be verified and packaged into a digital asset. This can then be sold to international investors on a digital invoice marketplace, allowing the wholesale network operator early access to funds.
Telecoms operators such as AT&T, Vodafone, and Telefonica have strong, stable cash flow, so the chance of default may seem slight. Nevertheless, Mr Gilioli says that some institutional investors want an additional level of comfort. “Some of the investors have insurance as a requirement,” he says.
Given the international footprint of the calls, Mr Gilioli wanted a credit insurer with global coverage. He also needed an insurer connecting directly to his systems, which use APIs extensively to connect to other partners such as network operator clients, payments processors, and investors.
“It’s fundamental to create distributed partnerships. And fundamental to integrate,” he says.
The Euler Hermes solution
Lenderwize is connected to Euler Hermes via the , with a constant two-way data flow. This not only allows trade credit insurance to be issued on the digital assets in real time, it also feeds data back to Euler Hermes about payments that helps improve future risk analysis.
“The ability to use real-time information on the credit rating is fundamental to making our platform as efficient as possible,” says Mr Gilioli.
Not all its interactions with Euler Hermes are digital. There is broader information interchange with senior underwriters, plus constructive dialogue if cover is refused. Mr Gilioli also appreciates risk bulletins, economic insights and other information that can help for instance, when looking at new markets.
Mr Gilioli pays tribute to his broker, Hannes Monaghan, a trade credit insurance specialist at brokers Turner Rawlinson, whose work included a lot of liaison when the API links were being set up. “I consider Hannes almost a team member, which I think is the best possible relationship that any client could want from a broker,” he says.
As of June 2021, Lenderwize sells around $40m of invoices a month to investors from 62 telecoms operators. But Mr Gilioli says more than 1,300 telecoms operators worldwide are the right size to be customers. He is also thinking about creating saleable digital assets from other telecoms services such as international data, texts and direct carrier billing (transactions made by consumers that are charged via their phone bill).
“We’re talking about a very large industry which is growing and which needs working capital,” he says.
Lenderwize’s business model echoes the financing used for international shipping, but moved into the digital space.
“Thanks to our technologies, and thanks to our partnership with Euler Hermes, we can make these digital assets very tangible,” he says. “So tangible, that they are safer than many tangible assets.”