With advanced programming interfaces (APIs) and the cloud, opportunities for organizations to implement third-party FinTech solutions continue to grow, with innovators lowering the barriers and reducing the friction points of adoption and automation.
B2B payments technologies can be seamlessly integrated into businesses' existing back offices with minimal disruption, and it's an achievement that has not only opened the door for smaller firms to adopt technology, but has led more businesses to buy — not build — when developing their digitization strategies.
But there is a downside to the "buy" tactic. Despite its efficiencies, there is no one-size-fits-all option, and organizations must consider the individual nuances of their own business and industry to determine whether third-party solutions will ultimately provide the highest return on investments (ROI).
For some markets, the "build" strategy may be more effective at improving B2B payment workflows that address those nuances. That's the idea behind VeganPay, a new B2B and B2C payments solution rolled out by VeganNation, a U.K. organization dedicated to fostering growth and sustainability of the global vegan community.
In a recent interview with PYMNTS, VeganNation Founder and CEO Isaac Thomas discussed the motivation behind the introduction of B2B payment capabilities within its app, and what the vegan ecosystem needs when it comes to digitization within its supply chain — and beyond.
Supporting Small Businesses
The digitization gap for many corporates exists from the fact that consumers tend to be more tech-savvy and adopt modern tools more quickly than the companies they patronize.
"In the vegan community, there's actually an even larger tech gap because [the] majority of plant-based consumers are very tech-savvy and advanced," Thomas said, noting that it is especially imperative for vegan businesses to modernize today. "I believe that all businesses must advance from a technological perspective in light of COVID-19."
VeganPay is a feature integrated into VeganNation's existing app, the result of a partnership with Stripe and IBM to offer both a digital wallet for vegan consumers as well as B2B payments capabilities within the ecosystem's supply chain.
"For most vegan businesses small or large, payments to vendors and suppliers are not efficient," added Thomas. "By having the entire value chain part of the VeganPay ecosystem, [it] will allow businesses to pay vendors, farmers, distributors and manufacturers fast, seamlessly and with minimal fees."
Using FinTech To Build An Ecosystem
VeganNation's VeganPay solution is also coupled with VeganNation's existing payments tool, VeganCoin, a digital currency that not only supports the development of a financially united vegan community, but is also a vegan tool itself. According to VeganNation, printing money uses animal products, and the development of a proprietary token can ensure that corporations with potentially harmful or problematic impacts on the environment cannot benefit financially from such a token.
Thomas said he is an emphatic supporter of blockchain and digital currencies, "however these are tools for a better future, and not the goal itself."
Adopting emerging technologies — particularly in the area of finance — is a means to fostering and empowering a global ecosystem. For small businesses that may be struggling to access financing from a bank or adopt digital accounts payable and accounts receivable solutions, using electronic B2B payments and digital token technology designed specifically with their industry in mind could propel the modernization of supply chains as a whole.
"We realized that the global vegan community, although [it has] mass in number, it's still very localized and has not even begun to reach the potential of our true plant-based global economic impact," noted Thomas, adding that connecting this community to digital financial solutions is "so important" to supporting small businesses and fostering B2B connections. "Offering businesses a full payment platform will help advance and grow business cash flow and ease of payment."