Founder at ClaimsAgent.nl ~ CrediVera B.V.
Web-based exchange of financial information by and between creditors and trustees of insolvent businesses
Lifting the burden of creating creditors’ lists from the trustee: let the creditors take care of themselves! But more important: the winding up of insolvent businesses will be faster and cost less. The proceeds to the creditors will increase for an equal amount. To promote this is a key role of trustees and a key aim of ClaimsAgent.nl.
1. Can you briefly describe the innovation, the problem it tries to solve and why is it necessary?
ClaimsAgent.nl offers a web-based service for online exchange of financial information by and between creditors and trustees of insolvent businesses (Software as a Service). The online tool dramatically cuts down workload and document handling of trustees and their back-offices on the one hand and offers guidance and quick VAT-returns to the creditors on the other hand. As such, the winding up of insolvent businesses will be faster and cost less. The proceeds to the creditors will increase for an equal amount. To promote this is a key role of trustees.
2. What makes your innovation unique?
No other system currently available lifts the burden of creating creditors' lists from the trustee. Automated messaging provides the creditors with the documents needed to obtain VAT returns from the tax authorities without involvement form the trustee. Proof of claim is filed electronically by the creditors and they can amend their claims through their online account. The creditors' lists and all related docs can be accessed by the trustee anywhere. Fees are only payable if and when the insolvent estate allows ('Freemium' business model).
3. What triggered the development of the innovation?
The development has been initiated to get rid of the extremely time and paper consuming, frustrating obligation of trustees to create creditors' lists and files in the multiple insolvency proceedings at hand simultaneously. The Internet provides the basis to let the creditors take care of themselves!
4. Which persons and organisations were involved in the development and what role did they play?
Marius Kraamwinkel in his capacity of trustee in SMB insolvencies designed and developed the idea and has set up a company that hires IT and hosting professionals to make and host the software service.
5. What kind of resistance have you encountered and how have you overcome it?
Not so much resistance, merely the struggle that any new product or service has to go through. The users are requested to abandon traditional procedures and adopt something new - cultural change. Investing time and catering to users' needs in order to improve the service seems crucial to create credibility and to move from early adopters to mainstream users.
6. How did you make the goals realistic and attainable, and at what time will which quick wins be available?
Starting from real needs and listening to early adopters has led to a solution that works. Sticking to strictly defined steps in software development has made the intermediate goals attainable and realistic. ‘Quick’ wins are expected to come when a module for filing tax claims will be added in cooperation with the tax authorities. This will persuade mainstream users to adopt the application in their own practices.
7. Will the innovation have an effect on other organisations in the chain and if that is the case, how will it affect them?
One of the main characteristics of this innovation is the creation of a database. Other players may benefit from the data and information in various ways. Exchange of such information may lead to additional services in the field of statistical (academic) research. Several of these options are being explored at present.
8. How was the development funded and what were reasons for the financing organisation?
Funding so far has been provided by the founder. At present a first round of investment is sought after to provide both additional funding and a broader basis of expertise involved. As the user base broadens, the present application will be able to sustain itself financially and may become profitable.
9. Can you name 3 to 5 characteristics of the innovation that are most essential to make it work?
Availability of IT infrastructure (Internet and PC's) to users, usability of the interface provided, responding to users' needs and the willingness of the users to embrace the innovation.
10. How do you measure whether it is a successful innovation?
The extent to which the innovation reaches financial sustainability.
11. How many people or organisations benefit from this innovation now?
Tens of trustees and thousands of creditors.
12. How many people or organisations could potentially benefit from it now or in the future? (scaling-up)
In The Netherlands some 8,000 businesses open insolvency proceedings every year. All creditors can benefit.
13. Can you quantify the financial benefits? (Cost savings, additional income or otherwise)
The quantification is presently being made. An early adopter estimated that immediate time saved leads to EUR 35 less spent by the estate per creditor.
14. Is the innovation financially viable and sustainable and if yes, how?
As mentioned the business model is Freemium: only part of the use is paid for. If some 40 % of the insolvencies lead to sufficient proceeds to pay for the use of the service (an estimation) and sufficient use is made of the software service, the breakeven point will be attained. Additional revenue by means of added services to other interested parties (data mining) will increase revenue and may lead to profit.
15. Can or will the innovation be used internationally and how do you overcome cultural differences?
There hardly is cultural difference in filing claims in insolvencies; this is done in roughly the same manner in all jurisdictions. Cultural differences in respect of changing the mindset of the local users will be similar to those experienced in The Netherlands. At present the application is used by creditors in other jurisdiction for filing claims in Dutch bankruptcies. The framework of the Council Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings 1346/2000 might also be facilitated by this innovation (i.e. cross border insolvencies with main and secondary insolvency proceedings).
16. What lessons did you learn along the way that could be useful to others?
Listen to early adopters and make them happy while sticking to your own goals with persistence.