As we look at some of the data impacting business finance into the new year, the numbers are mixed. New statistics highlight the rising popularity of alternative small business lending; others uncover just how prominent cybercrimes are in B2B deals. From 1.5 billion to 2.9, here are the data points that accompany the latest developments in business-to-business service providers at the start of 2016.
1.5 Billion: The U.S. dollar amount (about £1 billion) that alternative lending platform Funding Circle has now lent to SMEs on its platform since its launch, the company announced last week. It’s a milestone analysts said represents the popularity of alternative finance for the small business community.
In announcing the figure, Funding Circle’s U.K. managing director and cofounder, James Meekings, added that more than 12,000 businesses in the nation have accessed working capital through its services.
360 Million: The dollar amount B2B SaaS giant Salesforce will pay to acquire SteelBrick, a quote-to-cash service provider that helps businesses quote their services and collect payment.
The takeover was announced just before the end of the year and months after SteelBrick revealed a $48 million venture capital round. Salesforce will integrate SteelBrick’s quoting and billing services into its solution, the companies said. The deal was confirmed through a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, according to reports.
270: The percentage that Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams increased in 2015, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The figure is part of broader analysis from APWG, which just released a new report on the year-end spike of cybercrimes against businesses.
According to APWG, 2015’s fourth quarter saw greater business-targeted cybercrime than in the previous three quarters, with the most common method being BEC — a scam in which a phisher sends a fake invoice or demand for payment by posing as a seemingly legitimate supplier. Experts warn that no company, large or small, is immune to these attacks and that the trend may get worse before it gets better.
15: The percentage of an invoice charged to duped business customers of Omni Services trying to return office supplies. That charge was highlighted by the Federal Trade Commission in its effort to crack down on the allegedly fraudulent supplier, which tricked businesses into purchasing bundled office supplies at higher per-unit prices.
In addition to those unfair prices and a restocking fee for returned items, the FTC said Omni Services failed to disclose the final cost of a sale to buyers and “aggressively” sought payment for unordered products.
“When consumers paid the full amount, the defendants called to thank them and then offered and sent a free gift, along with more unordered merchandise and an invoice for it,” the FTC said in a statement last week. The sellers claimed to have a transcript of a call in which buyers placed an order for these products, though refused to provide that transcript to the companies.
2.9: The percentage P2P money transfer service Venmo will charge to business users of its service. According to reports last week, the company will seek to earn revenue by charging those business users, plus a $0.30 charge. Analysts said companies will likely be willing to accept these fees because it will allow them to get paid from customers, or allow them to pay customers, with the popular app. They added that because the app provides a public feed of all transactions, companies will also likely enjoy the free publicity when payments are made to and from the business.