Tradeshift – the e-invoicing player that’s just too hard to ignore

Tradeshift – the e-invoicing player that’s just too hard to ignore

It was at the beginning of 2011 that we wrote about Tradeshift catching the wave just right. And it was just a few months before that I asked a couple of their competitors what they thought about Tradeshift. Ariba people and OB10 people were all singing from the same hymn sheet. “Trade who?”. Well, a few weeks ago I asked them again and they both conceded, Tradeshift are becoming difficult to ignore.

Purchasing Insight logoFounded just 2 years ago, Tradeshift first opened their doors in 2010 and in the last 12 months they have acquired 60,000 customers in 190 countries. With offices in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and San Francisco, they claim to be the fast growing of the networks. To be fair, they’re starting from a low base but nevertheless, it’s impressive and I find Tradeshift’s approach refreshing and exiting because they’re different and they’re hungry.

At a webinar today, held ostensibly to introduce one of their show case clients, ASP, part of the UK’s NHS, they laid out their stall. They have some pointed criticism of their main competitors Ariba, OB10 and Basware claiming that it is rare for more than 10% of suppliers adopt these solutions and that 70% of revenues come from suppliers. I’m not entirely sure I’d go along with the 10% limit on supplier adoption and I’d also point out that 10% of suppliers adopting solutions doesn’t equate to 10% of invoices  but the fact that suppliers take the biggest burden of the cost is an issue I have to agree with.

But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and ASP is a good reference. In the first 4 weeks of their e-invoicing project, they achieved 29% supplier adoption. That speaks volumes for the effect of “free”

Tradeshift aren’t about to knock their competition out but they’re doing a great job at disrupting the market and challenging and renewing some of the thinking. Although the estimates vary, it is generally agreed that the proportion of e-invoices globally compared to paper is no more than about 15%. Put this another way. 85% of the global e-invoicing market remains untapped. At the rate that Tradeshift’s network is growing, the bigger, more established players are right to sit up and take notice.