Cloud treasury and finance solutions provider Kyriba held its fourth annual treasury and finance summit in central London this week, with ‘now is the time for intelligence-led digital financial transformation’ as its central message.
Offstage, the company’s executives offered some background detail on the US$1.2 billion deal agreed in late March that saw international private equity group Bridgepoint acquire a majority stake in Kyriba and the company gain investment of $160 million to fund its future growth.
Even before the halfway stage, 2019 has already been an eventful year for Kyriba, which in January announced its acquisition of currency risk management software provider FiREapps. The deal was announced as one that would “combine two global leaders in cloud treasury and risk management”.
FiREapps founder and CEO, Wolfgang Koester, who described the combination of the two companies as responding to the market’s request for “a single-vendor solution to manage the entire breadth of FX currency exposure” has now acquired the title of ‘chief evangelist’ for Kyriba.
Koester says that Kyriba had the option of going public but wanted to focus on further expansion beyond its core business of treasury management system (TMS) provider into the areas of cash payments, supply chain finance (SCF), cross-border payments and foreign exchange (FX) risk management.
“Bridgepoint is a global private equity (PE) group and also sees Kyriba as a global company, so they’re all about growing the business.”
Digital transformation is key
Kyriba’s managing director for Northern Europe, Simon Shorthose, opened the conference by stating that digital transformation is now “absolutely critical” and the company’s remit is to provide the solutions in four key areas: treasury management, risk management, working capital and payments.
“Treasury faces the challenge of having to do more with less and increasingly access to cash and working capital is going to be more of a challenge over the coming years.”
This is confirmed by a recent poll of chief financial officers by IDC Financial Insights, in which 41% of CFOs polled cited improved access to funding as their current top priority. Predicting and managing risk came a distant second at 14%.
Shorthose sees the company as well-positioned as the new era of corporate banking gets underway. “The banks’ focus up to now has been on the consumer and the corporate side is only now starting to open up.
“So a lot of change is still to come and the more corporates demand change, the more of it we’ll see.”
Koester adds that open banking has underlined to banks the fact that they are not programmers or tech firms, so are not able to develop their own systems in-house. They are now asking how best to work with fintechs and benefit from their speed in devising new solutions.
“Kyriba has offerings in a variety of areas, so bank CEOs are coming to us to talk and – as we regard ourselves as a corporate liquidity platform – we’re increasingly having conversations with the chief financial officers (CFOs).
“I recently spoke at a conference in Mannheim, Germany where many of the treasurers attending had SAP workstations. We don’t care about that – we’re completely agnostic and happy to talk with them about the specific problems they want to solve.”
As some delegates noted, while previous conferences have seen a major focus on blockchain it was noticeably off the agenda this year. “Until you can bring scale to blockchain it’s unlikely to really take off,” says Shorthose. “It’s a technology, so we’ll look at what applications are right for it.”
In the meantime, Kyriba’s most recent initiatives include the launch of real-time payments in the US via JP Morgan’s application programming interface (API) app, an integration that gives Kyriba’s users access to The Clearing House’s (TCH) RTP network and last February’s API integration with Citi for faster payments.
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