Proactis are a UK based eProcurement firm (with the head office in the pleasant town of Wetherby, Yorkshire), who have made some interesting acquisitions over the last twelve months. They acquired EGS, a provider of purchase to pay solutions, principally to the UK public sector, back in January. Then in April, they bought Intesource, a US based sourcing software, e-auction and services business.
Now they’ve made another buy. Last his week, they have acquired Intelligent Capture Ltd, one of the UK’s leading providers of document scanning and optical character recognition services. “Intelligent Capture has more than 40 clients and generates over £1.25 million of profitable, annual recurring annual income. The blue chip customer base includes BT, Screwfix, BDO and Henderson”.
And this time, the intent behind the latest buy is more interesting then the deal itself, as it has a real strategic purpose. Proactis is launching a new solution, Activate, to its customer and supplier network, and the invoice scanning and capture capability of Intelligent Capture will be instrumental to this new offering.
“The objective of the offering is to create a Global Trading Network between PROACTIS’ customer base and their vendors. The Global Trading Network will encourage electronic trading, which is currently poorly adopted, creating efficiencies within the buy/sell transaction process. These efficiencies will be realised by significantly reduced costs for the Group’s customers and also for their vendors, whilst also creating new commercial opportunities for both.
Activate increases transparency within the payment cycle for vendors by clearly showing where its purchase invoice is in the invoice processing cycle. Consequently, this creates an opportunity for vendor financing and PROACTIS is currently exploring financing options to accompany the Activate offering … PROACTIS estimates that its customer base is spending approximately £60-80 billion per annum with their vendors”.
This takes Proactis firmly into the world of e-invoicing and its linkage to supply chain finance – one of the huge trends at the moment. They have some clients outside the UK /US axis, but with annual revenue now of some £15 million (20 M Euros), they are becoming a significant player who are likely to have the intention to move more strongly into other European countries. In particular, we will watch the progress of Activate with interest.