Our Start Up Journey - Natwest Accelerator

July 22, 2020

In the rush to launch a new business it’s easy to forget the journey you’ve taken to get there. So we’ve decided to write ours down.

itsettled is the brainchild of credit industry veteran Glen Morgan and myself, Jonny Wingrove.

The business was set up in 2019 but the story behind this world class app began many years before. And before you ask, yes I did call it world class. Because we’re really, really proud of what we’ve achieved.

Glen has worked in credit management his entire professional career, spanning over 25 years. In that time he’d moved up the ranks to Director level within a number of large blue chip companies, before deciding to set up his first business, Credebt, in 2009. Credebt grew quickly and became a specialist in collections for the Invoice Finance and Insolvency industries where today it remains as one of the leading providers of receivables and risk management to these industries.

Glen realised, whilst running Credebt, that a huge amount of business insolvencies were caused by poor cash flow management and, in particular, by inadequate credit control and collections processes. In response, he decided to set up the Credebt Club in 2016, which provided SME’s with a collections process that they could follow. The process was the same one that had been so successful for Credebt, as well as various corporates that Glen had worked at. The Credebt Club members also got access to the correct letters to send to chase payment, as well as other tools they might need.

It became apparent quite quickly that SMEs really valued this service. It also became clear that businesses would prefer to be guided through an effective process and not just be given the resources to act themselves. This is the bit where I come into the story…

After two years of research and development Glen contacted me to look at how the process could be automated and opened up to the entire business community. We’d been friends for more than 20 years, and he recognised that I might be able to apply some of my marketing and design experience to help.

Whilst we scratched our heads, Glen continued to wage a war on late payment. He’s written for the Parliamentary Review and Leaders Council, held seminars jointly with the UK Small Business Commissioner and also found time to write the debt collection syllabus for the Chartered Institute of Credit Management. 

But this has not yet had the required impact and now itsettled plans to do far more.

We built an early version of the app last year (Oct 2019) and learnt a great deal from the early adopters that we worked with. But we were still just two men, taking on a nationwide problem. We needed backup.

This is where the other character comes into our story. And it’s a character you’ll know pretty well.   

In early 2020, itsettled was granted a place on the prestigious Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator, both for the Bristol Hub and Nationwide Fintech cohort. Things have moved at a fast pace ever since.

The Accelerator has provided us with so much support and development including networking, training and mentoring. But more than anything, we’ve benefitted from being part of a community of like minded individuals all aiming high and helping each other to achieve their goals, both professionally and on a personal level.

NatWest has helped us to secure interest from major banks, invoice finance providers and accounting software firms, as well as being confident in our goal -  which is to help 30,000 businesses over the next 5 years.

Both Glen and I feel hugely passionate about the benefits of helping businesses to achieve a healthy cash flow, and remove one of the major worries that plague owners. We’ve studied the mental health impact of late payments on business owners and their teams, and want to help improve stress levels and give them peace of mind that they are taking the right action at the right time. We also want to free business owners from the added responsibility of credit control, so that they can focus on why they started up in the first place.

Any business that doesn’t have a defined collection process will benefit from using itsettled and, in lots of cases, it will mean the difference between their business surviving or not. That’s a bit of a “pinch me” moment right there. The fact that the app we’ve built could make the difference between a business surviving or not.

We’re confident that, whilst still only at the beginning, our journey will be a successful one. We’re excited to start delivering on our vision to ensure that every business in the UK has the tools to chase their debts and get paid on time, whilst maintaining a positive relationship with their valued customers.

Let the journey begin.

Jonathan Wingrove

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