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How one Lot Fourteen startup is taking on the world of FinTech….and winning

Posted May 12, 2022

Apxium team at Stone & Chalk’s Startup Hub at Lot Fourteen

Having met with Managing Director and founder of startup Apxium, Jeremy Coombe it felt a bit this way. How does one person do so much in such a short stretch of time?

Since 2017, Apxium has had some impressive wins.

In 2021 alone, the company won the South Australian Premier’s Export Award for Small Business, closed a Series A capital raise to expand across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. and even attracted global investment from North America all from its global headquarters at Lot Fourteen.

Apxium now has over twenty staff and counting. Apxium is still recruiting in South Australia and is now building a team in North America and the U.K.

In the last six months after expanding overseas, Apxium has signed several accounting firms within the global top 10 Baker Tilly International network to their already impressive client list. This was all thanks to the ambassadorship of Pitcher Partners – which is also a client of Apxium and a Baker Tilly member firm. Apxium’s most notable client win is the prestigious U.S. accounting firm, Eide Bailly LLP. This is no small feat, with the firm being a top 25 CPA and consulting practice founded in 1917, with over $600 million turnover and 330+ Partners operating 40 offices across 14 U.S. States.

The inspiration for Apxium was borne out of Coombe’s banking career background, providing structured finance solutions for non-bank financial institutions. During this role, he gained in-depth intel into the best and worst collections and lending processes of his non-bank lender clients.

And if we’re sticking to numbers (a good idea for a startup servicing accountancy firms) then another statistic is hours worked, Jeremy often racks up 70 hour weeks or as he says flippantly, “a lot of mornings and nights dealing with our overseas clients and partners.”

So, in a nutshell what does Apxium do?

The SaaS and FinTech business, based out of Lot Fourteen’s Startup Hub run by Stone & Chalk, combines accounts receivable automation software, smart payments and ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ for enterprise size (mid to large) accounting firms around the world.

“The level of automation delivered by our tech halves our clients’ debtor days, whilst our payments tech saves them up to 40% on payments processing fees” Jeremy Coombe, Managing Director and founder of startup Apxium.

The global problem Apxium is solving

Banks have access to technology and infrastructure to manage loans and collections which is far superior to “general industry” and therefore puts all non-bank businesses at a significant disadvantage.

Apxium’s vision on inception was therefore to take the same disciplines and technology concepts from the banking world and combine it with innovative automation software services (which banks are missing) and make it purpose-fit for the wider business community in a cloud environment. As time progressed, Apxium found deep product-market fit among global professional services firms, which are known for carrying large amounts of outstanding debtors (late payments from clients).


What does the tech do?

Apxium’s proprietary tech offers the only payment gateway and ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ solution that is natively data integrated, and synchronized, with enterprise accounting Practice Management (PM) software. These enterprise PM systems are used by mid to large accounting firms around the world, but they come with a raft of problems.

As Coombe explains, there is a huge global problem among mid to large accounting firms around the world, “their billing and payment workflows are too complex for cloud accounting, like Xero and QuickBooks.”

“Consequently, these firms can only use enterprise PM software, but these systems are not designed for external connectivity. Although some enterprise PM systems are cloud-based, they’re nothing like cloud accounting which offer a range of third party “add-ons” in a modern cloud experience.”

In fact, the largest firms in the world still use PM software that’s installed on local servers, so they are completely ringfenced from the cloud.

“There are no APIs for third party developers to build “add-ons” such as integrated payment gateways, invoicing software and Buy Now, Pay Later solutions.

“Adding to the problem for these accounting firms is that they’re also entrenched in bank payment/merchant facilities.

“These bank facilities merely process payments and therefore don’t integrate with firms’ accounting Practice Management Software to provide any value-add, such as automated receipting and payment reconciliations.

“What this means is that mid to large accounting firms are issuing thousands of invoices per month and then manually matching payments received to these invoices, before manually receipting and reconciling them back into their PM systems. We’re essentially removing the pain, cost and administrative burden of the back-office accounts receivable function, which is quite substantial for enterprise size accounting firms,” says Coombe.

Long and short-term goals

As Apxium has grown, it’s attracted the attention of the world’s two largest Accounting Practice Management Software vendors – IRIS Star (part of the global IRIS Software Group) and Wolters Kluwer who, combined, represent around 60 per cent market share of total accounting firm turnover  in the US.

Apxium is now the native (and only) data integrated accounts receivable solution, payment gateway and Buy Now, Pay Later provider available to these two platforms’ entire global accounting firm user bases.

With this win under their belts, the team are now busy onboarding the global accounting firm user bases of IRIS Star and Wolters Kluwer.

“These two strategic partnerships alone provide us with captive access to the potential opportunity to process over $60 billion worth of payments via our Smart Payment Gateway in the U.S.,” says Coombe.

What’s next?

The Lot Fourteen business is all about making enterprise accounting firms’ lives easier and is already looking at replicating this across law firms too.

More automation and less work for professional practices, whilst continuing to rapidly disrupt the industry, is at the heart of Apxium’s mission.

Although a little hesitant to leave their self-contained office for Lot Fourteen at first, they’re now hitting their strides working alongside other complementary startups including Link4, while tapping into South Australian Government funding and private capital to expand overseas as a global SaaS and FinTech business.

As Jeremy states, Australia is an amazing incubation zone for that.

We can’t wait to follow Apxium’s growth trajectory and see what’s next in store for this startup…

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