Foreign Exchange’s future is powered by SaaS

Apr 13, 2016
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Philippe-Gelis-Kantox

Finance is an ever-changing industry and some important challenges are getting overcome by people rethinking the concepts that have been anchored in our financial systems for years. This is the reason why at Rude Baguette, we’ve decided to organize our first conference dedicated to the future of finance, it’s called SPEND and it will take place April 28th at Le Forum des Images in Paris, proudly supported by BNP Paribas.

Consumer and enterprise habits around Spending, Sending, Lending, and Investing are mutating into frictionless, simpler, and more transparent transactions. Several financial problematics can be remodeled into something more user-friendly, one of these problematics is the confusing and opaque way we have been dealing with foreign exchange, especially for companies. This is where the London-based company Kantox comes-in.

This startup employing 75 people between Barcelona and the City, is a pioneering firm in the foreign exchange industry, offering a comprehensive forex management solution for SMEs and mid-cap companies. Their solution features live mid-market rates updated in real time, rate alerts and a multi-user/multi-subsidiary account, a way to drive down costs and administration time for companies. Instead of trading through a bank or broker, with Kantox, two trusted companies trade with each other peer-to-peer. Trusted by more than 1,800 corporate clients, the company sees a monthly average $150M flow through its platform, for a total of $1.5B in 2015. The company has raised almost $20 million to date, from the likes of Idinvest Partners and Partech Ventures.

We had the chance to interview Philippe Gelis, Founder and CEO at Kantox, one of our speakers for SPEND Paris.

Why should global businesses use SaaS to manage foreign exchange ?
Large corporates have resources to dedicate to FX. They buy expensive trading terminals, they pay for market data in real time and they have very skilled people to manage FX. But this is unachievable for SMEs and Mid-Caps. Our vision is to build SaaS solutions for SMEs and Mid-Caps to manage FX as large corporates do. With this kind of solution it is not only about price but also about efficiency, productivity, better risk management.

What is the biggest challenge scaling Kantox ?
Regulation, banks unfair behaviours, raising money are not easy things but in the end it is all about execution and execution depends only on us and on our team. It is an internal challenge but it is always the most demanding one. If you execute well, nothing can really stop you.

How do you imagine the future of foreign exchange, and sending money in general ?
The main impact of Fintech on the financial industry is bringing transparency, fair prices and great user experience. It ia what will happen in FX also. People want to know how much they really pay and being treated fairly. I also expect big breakthrough in the coming 5 to 10 years regarding speed of payments. Sending money from London to San Francisco should not take more than a few minutes but banks have under-invested for decades in global payment networks, that is why they are still so slow and inefficient with corresponding banks, batch payments, etc.

The financial landscape is just at the beginning of its transformation, being shaped by innovative and game-changing startups day after day. For SPEND, we lined up speakers from San Francisco (Raphael Ouzan – VP of Product, Prosper), London (Philippe Gelis – Co-Founder & CEO, Kantox), Berlin (Christian Tiessen – Co-Founder, Savedo) and, of course, Paris (Jérôme Traisnel – Co-Founder & CEO, SlimPay). Explore the future of finance at SPEND Paris on April 28, sponsored by BNP Paribas, and join more than 500 professionals at the core of finance and technology convergence.