There’s a startup in Denmark that went by the name of Porta for a long time. Since then, they have changed their name to TradeShift. TradeShift is looking to disrupt and shatter the oligopolies of EDI between large corporations and banks so that the technologies could be used by anyone – small and medium sized companies included. The founders of the company include an experienced bunch. They are Christian Lanng, Mikkel Hippe Brun and Gert Sylvest. Not a founder, but onboard the project is also Morten Lund who made himself famous by his personal bankruptcy some two years ago.
TradeShift Co-Founder Christian Lanng write on the company blog more about what they are up to after Wired and TechCrunch ran stories on them. He states that while payment processes have been digitized some time ago already, 95% of the payment process remains fully analog and relies a lot of manual work. Therefore, they won’t be competing with PayPal, but with the more traditional giants operating in the industry – the likes of Microsoft and SAP.
In the initial phase the company can be said to be an e-invoicing solution. However, you shouldn’t compare TradeShift to the many competitors out there who already work with electronic invoicing. Christian Lanng further writes in their blog, “we have focused on delivering an open platform where everyone can build apps on top of the original infrastructure (we don’t come pre-bundled with one financial package).” So in essence they are building a new world order for payments and how they are handled – if they are successful.
The core team behind the service is 13 strong in Denmark, but they have people working in locations such as Germany, Sri Lanka and Brazil adding up the total head count to about 50. At the moment, according to TechCrunch, the company is self sufficient financially being nodded forward with a little seed money from investors. TechCrunch believes TradeShift is financing itself with deals it has signed already in Northern Europe and an unnamed city in Brazil. Mike Butcher rightly points out that TradeShift could very well succeed with an emerging nations go-to-market strategy where the needs are present, but money to pay for traditional mainframe systems is not.
I’m extremely interested in what the TradeShift team is cooking up and how they will eventually roll it to the market.