Investing in Sprinque

Posted: 9 Feb 2023

The B2B payments stack of the future

Acronyms. Love them or hate them, they’re a key part of our industry, and one in particular has been giving me pause: B2B BNPL. With all the attention around B2C credit, the B2B world is having its moment, modernising how B2B transactions are made, and making things simpler — and more lucrative — for all parties involved.

This is great news, particularly considering the sheer size of the B2B lending market — measured in the trillions — but B2B BNPL is puzzling. In a consumer context, BNPL (in its current incarnation) refers to a new form of short term instalment credit, available at point of sale, with the cost subsidised by the merchant. The term ‘BNPL’ is therefore positioned as a new financial product that provides an alternative to using a credit card (*or simply buying later).

In the B2B market, this doesn’t translate in the same way. Buyers largely don’t expect to pay upfront. Somewhere between 60–90% of B2B commerce already involves some form of credit. The simplest form of this credit is an inter-company IOU (i.e. the supplier giving their customer permission to ‘pay later’). Or there might be a lender in the mix in the form of invoice factoring or discounting. Buyers expect to ‘pay by invoice’ with the benefit of ‘net payment terms’ (i.e. pay 30, 60 or 90 days after purchase).

‘Buy now, pay later’ is not a new behaviour or financial product in this context but if you believe, as I do, that there is an inevitable digitisation of B2B transactions then there is also a whole new set of pain points created for B2B payments, financing and purchase workflows.

It was in this context that I met the team at Sprinque.

How we crossed paths

Hat tip to my friend Jiri Havran at Seed X for the timely introduction on this one. I’d been exploring the theme for a while and he knew exactly the team for me to meet. After my first call with Juan my concluding notes read:

“obsessed with the problem, opinionated solution, super commercial, hugely ambitious, massive market, 100% product-led fintech opportunity >> MEET CO-FOUNDERS ASAP!!”

How Sprinque fits our investment thesis

Opinionated products

Before we dive in, let’s remind ourselves of some basic observations about the vast majority of B2B transactions:

  • They currently take place offline
  • They include some form of credit (i.e. the buyer doesn’t pay in full upfront)
  • And there is often an ongoing repeat relationship between buyer and seller

Where does Sprinque stand on these?


  • Opinion #1: Trade finance, not BNPL. Most B2B commerce is based on repeat relationships → buyers want their own trade account (with predictable net payment terms). They don’t want new payment terms for each purchase. Hence Sprinque underwrites the buyer (not the transaction) and offers them ongoing trade credit terms, rather than a ‘pay later’ button on each new transaction.
  • Opinion #2: Purchase flow agnostic. Put simply, B2B commerce is not the same as consumer commerce and never will be, even for online transactions. B2B transactions are characterised by: higher value purchases, more complex purchasing and approval journeys, less homogenous product SKUs, the buyer is often not the person paying. All of this means that consumer payment methods are not fit for purpose. Sprinque is solving for high value and high complexity from the start. They want to exist wherever the transactions are, across all B2B sales channels, regardless of what that looks like.
  • Opinion #3: End-to-end platform. Embedded lending is worthless if there is nowhere to embed. Sprinque’s focus on high value and high complexity means they provide an end-to-end solution to solve merchant pain.
  • Opinion #4: Global mindset from Day 1. Digitising any B2B commerce is hard for merchants but doing it cross-border is even harder. Sprinque are designing their technology, product, regulatory approach and GTM to internationalise from the beginning.

Crafted with love

Juan, Manoj and Mark have a shared love for the user, the problem and for using great software product to solve real user pain. It was clear to me from our first calls that all three founders were obsessed with speaking to potential customers and found delight in uncovering hidden insights as to why current solutions don’t work. And despite their significant domain experience across product, technology, GTM and payments, they were all problem oriented from the beginning, rather than assuming they knew the solution.

Loved by many

In the vast majority of cases, the provision of credit in B2B trade creates the following pain…

  • For a new buyer: it is a terrible UX. To get credit terms from a seller, they have to provide unstructured information over email, offer trade references, and wait for credit approval before their first purchase.
  • For a seller: it’s cumbersome, expensive and risky.

Sprinque’s value to the seller:

  • Higher conversion → more revenue
  • Improved cashflow / less risk (versus extending credit from their own balance sheet)
  • ‘Sell and forget’ → there is no workflow overhead at all. Discussing credit with customers is not even part of the sales conversation anymore.

Sprinque’s value to the buyer:

  • Credit terms available where and when they need them — full visibility on what they can spend
  • Improved cashflow (versus no credit)
  • ‘Buy and forget’ → better UX, at POS and post purchase

The current pure-play B2B ecommerce market is growing very fast but is still relatively small; the broader B2B commerce market is close to infinite. If Sprinque can help all merchant types reach new customers, improve conversion, improve retention, increase repeat purchase rates, increase AOV and improve cash-flow… there’s a lot of love to create!

Our take on what the future holds

There are two types of market opportunity to address:

(1) Industries where trade credit, invoice financing and factoring have existed for decades and are the norm (this is the majority). Here, Sprinque is not creating a new financial product but instead solving for:

  • Lack of automation
  • Lack of data sharing
  • Friction for buyer and seller in the process

(2) Other markets where companies are currently unable to use factoring due to the nature of the trade e.g. small size of customers (i.e. no data available) or small transaction sizes (underwriting is not commercially viable).

My thesis… in either of these two market opportunities, any trade finance solution that lowers customer barriers to purchasing (through the provision of new credit or better UX) will win significant market share.