Infidia’s mission is to support small, both ethical and fast-growing businesses, providing them seamless financing. It believes that financing should be accessible to every ethical company, regardless of its current size. To do so, Infidia creates value for SMEs (liquidity and growth) and financial institutions (risk-free and scalable fees). Since it chooses only ethical and sustainable businesses as its clients, the company help companies that do good for the world.
As part of their journey on BlockStart’s Acceleration Programme, as a DLT/blockchain startup provider, they were looking for new opportunities for collaboration with end-user SMEs that could validate and help them improve their Infidia blockchain solution.
We spoke with CEO Mirko Kikovic to know more about Infidia and their participation in BlockStart.
In one paragraph, what is Infidia?
Infidia is the unique blockchain-based solution that keeps records of the business process preceding invoice creation. By doing so, Infidia verifies invoices for invoice financing, otherwise not available for small businesses to solve their liquidity issues and (or) fund their growth.
Can you tell us how the idea for your startup began?
While building one of the Startups in the blockchain (B2C, crypto-collectibles) space, the team member and a good mutual friend introduced us seeing a good match. After the Startup dissolved, all of us kept in touch, and almost one year later, Dimitar and I came up with the solution as a logical match of our previous experiences in blockchain and B2B. The idea became the improvement of the invoice financing with a focus on the small manufacturing and distribution companies. Due to the attractiveness of the concept and the previous experience of working together, two former team members also joined us to build and shape Infidia as it is today. As we plan to onboard more of our friends and associates with experience in tech Startups, we expect further innovations for SMEs’ finance by Infidia.
What is Infidia passionate about achieving?
Infidia is a highly ethical company, where all team members share the same vision in facilitating the growth of ethical and sustainable businesses. This way, we are helping businesses that do good for the world.
Who are the team members and what backgrounds do you have?
Our team has a great mix of expertise in the blockchain, and in the industry that is our beachhead market.
Ten people (two co-founders, four team members, two part-time, and two consultants) can tackle any tech and management challenge: blockchain architecture, C-level negotiations, legal, sustainable development, frontend and backend software development, UI/UX design, QA testing, sales operations, customer support, and further blockchain improvements. Truly international, our team was working for companies from Italy, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Kenya, and Canada.
Can you tell us about the prototype you have developed with the support of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?
Our main idea was to create a web app that connects to the various productivity apps for small manufacturers and distributors. Due to the help of the BlockStart Acceleration Programme we were able to onboard more people and create wireframes for feedback, and to develop the basis for the future testing and improvements.
What were you most excited about in taking part of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?
The most significant value we received was from the mentorship sessions with our mentor Ugnius Ramanauskas. Besides defining our ideal customer profile as small manufacturing and distribution companies, Ugnius kept us focused on KPIs and gave feedback like a true friend. Following this type of experience, we added another filter to our customer persona – “sharing the same values.”
Therefore, among 22.1 million SMEs in Europe, we decided to support sustainable businesses and ethical entrepreneurs and wholeheartedly improve our solution by their feedback.
Which were the major challenges you have faced during the development and market/fit validation of your prototype?
We have started our prototype phase with a broader definition of our target client, offering invoice financing to all companies with a 30+ days invoice due date. Moreover, we contacted banks and other large lenders in the time-consuming process of getting feedback and arranging meetings.
However, we realized that we could use our previous experience and tools for sales and distribution companies to create hard and soft proofs that, by utilizing blockchain, serve as indisputable proof for invoice financing. By tracking the business process of this particular niche, a plethora of possibilities emerged. With the help of our mentor, we identified our customer persona. Due to our emphasis on ethical and sustainable businesses, we gained loyal clients willing to approach their banks with this specific invoice financing request.
Following the fantastic experience in outreach to this specific group, we were able to onboard a large number of clients as our testers.
What unique aspects does your company and the prototype you have developed have to offer to the market sectors/type of companies you wish to enter/sell and to the blockchain ecosystem in Europe, as a whole?
Infidia is the unique invoice financing platform for small manufacturing and distribution companies (SMEs) as our first stakeholders. For these companies, we provide a productivity app that keeps records and validates multiple events between the seller and the buyer that precede the invoice creation.
When SME’s sales representatives use our sales productivity app, all of their operations, task management, ordering, delivery, retrievals, and any documentation flow are stored in the ledger. This way, we are making records of the activity and the documentation, providing a set of hard and soft proofs of invoice creation.
All of this facilitates SMEs’ requests for invoice financing by their bank (another stakeholder), where complete information is already uploaded to the Infidia web platform. Therefore, the whole process of approving invoice financing requests can run seamlessly.
Even though there are solutions that verify invoices in the blockchain, we are better as we also make records of the overall business processes. This way, the process of documentation handling and approval becomes seamless. And since Infidia is highly scalable, we are building grounds for our future model that improves and ensures more favorable terms for invoice financing.
Due to this scalable model, we can also get a massive number of users in the short-time period (proven), with an ability to support the revival of the EU economy. With an easy access to capital as the products are still on the way to buyers, EU manufacturers can double their production, making the recovery phase faster. Moreover, by using Infidia, EU companies would become more competitive in terms of an ability to follow the increased demand after the recovery.
Is collaboration with SME adopters important for piloting your solution?
Our SME adopters are an essential part of piloting our solution as we are working together with these companies and their financial institutions to craft the best possible solution. Because of this valuable feedback, we consider SME adopters as our “shipmates” in sailing together at the “sea of entrepreneurship,” as we described it in our blog series of Infidia users.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
We see Infidia as a one-stop solution for financing small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), helping 22.1 million SMEs (only in the EU) to grow by overcoming all financial obstacles. With the ability to onboard hundreds of thousands of ethical companies as our clients, we envisioned Infidia as the company that is doing good for the world by helping companies that do good.
With our concept of tracking the business process as “proof of doing the work” (intentional but not similar to “proof of work”), we aim to make a legacy as blockchain pioneers and those that helped pave the way for Web3 and quantum-resistant blockchain becoming the mainstream of cryptography.