Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

Media finance professionals understand the complexity of the invoice to payment process. Suppliers often feel like banks, waiting for more than 110 days to be paid only to experience further delays with discrepancy resolution. Agencies have their hands full with a variety of payment terms, manual check writing, and have little incentive for paying suppliers quickly. The friction points are endless – until now.

We’re happy to introduce, FastPay Network, the industry’s first solution that bridges the gap between suppliers and agencies to deliver faster payments, automated workflow, and reduced costs. During the “You Can’t Live With Them, You Can’t Live Without Them” panel at the Media Finance Focus Conference, FastPay Chief Strategy Officer, David Frogel, announced that FastPay Network is the only platform-based solution linking suppliers and agencies to streamline and expedite media payments.

Industry experts, Breck Templeton of 9thWonder, Edward Mockus of Discovery, Frank Connolly of Viamedia, and Patrick Kennedy of AL Media sat down with David to explore the reality of agency and supplier friction points. “Payment terms are lengthening, and agencies can get caught in that pinch. There isn’t enough incentive for the agencies to pay faster. It’s a lot of data points to manage when using checks,” said Breck Templeton, Chief Financial Officer of 9thWonder. The other panelists agreed that radical change needs to be brought to the media payment cycle. “Both sides can benefit from compressing the cycle,” said Edward Mockus.

When discussing solutions to friction points, David Frogel said, “It’s not uncommon for a $50 discrepancy to hold up a $100k invoice. We’re creating solutions for suppliers that can eliminate issues with invoicing before discrepancies occur. If a necessary data point is off, our solution spots it and can resolve an invoicing issue before the invoice is even submitted. It’s the simple things that can actually move the needle in your overall DSO.”

FastPay Network is designed to connect suppliers and agencies so that suppliers gain more control over the AR process and agencies have an incentive for paying on net terms. Faster payment, better data, and greater visibility make accounts receivable more predictable, which means less friction for all.

If you’re a media supplier interested in getting your invoices paid in 30 or 60 days, see how you can join the network here.

Connecting the Dots at Programmatic I/O

Last week, more than 1,200 people from around the world gathered in San Francisco to connect for the Bay Area’s biggest ad tech conference, Programmatic I/O. Known as the go-to conference for digital marketing executives from top brands, advertising agencies, and publishers FastPay was thrilled to be a part of this year’s festivities.

Hosting an exclusive dinner for more than 30 clients and colleagues at the renowned Per Diem restaurant, we brought key players together from across the media landscape for a night of delicious food, drinks, and meaningful conversation around the current state of ad-tech.  

“After a long learning day at Programmatic I/O, we wanted to give clients a relaxing space where they could discuss the shifting media landscape while getting to know other players in the ad-tech space. It was awesome to see people making connections and sharing perspectives from various backgrounds,” said Daniel Guthorn, Business Development Manager at FastPay.  

Creating authentic connections is one of the biggest challenges in business but even more difficult is building connections with the right people. This evening allowed our clients to meet with other industry leaders that they normally wouldn’t have the chance to connect with.

“More than just a financing partner, we’re a strategic partner that brings the right people together to develop authentic connections and drive business for our partners. Our knowledge in the space allows clients to leverage our network to build-out business and create new opportunities. We’re always looking for ways to connect the dots so our clients don’t have to,” said Maytal Shainberg, SVP of Business Development and Origination at FastPay.

Looking Back at the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference

Every year, hundreds of media finance professionals come together to discuss emerging issues, benchmark best practices, and network with like minds at the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference. With so many recent developments and conversations around the media ecosystem, this year was especially notable. Panels ranged from fraud in digital advertising and supplier diversity to the development of in-house agencies and navigating what’s next in an explosive media universe.

Nevertheless, it can be difficult to dive deeper into some of these notable topics in just a few days. That’s why we hosted a private dining experience for FastPay clients, friends, and partners to continue the conversation outside of the hustle and bustle. Hosted at celebrity chef Michael Mina’s restaurant Bourbon Steak, invitees had the opportunity to connect 1:1 while enjoying a 3-course meal, craft cocktails, and hand-rolled cigars.

“The ANA AFM Conference is one of the few conferences that include both media and finance professionals so we wanted to utilize this time to facilitate meaningful conversation and learn directly from our client’s experiences. It was a great opportunity to alleviate some concerns and discover ways we can better adapt and support industry professionals,” said Rich Rosenzweig, East Coast Regional Director at FastPay.

As a longstanding sponsor of the ANA AFM, we were happy to be a part of this year’s discussions. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth to see us! We hope to see you again next year.

      

FastPay Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the AAPC Pollie Awards

  

Over 700 people gathered in Napa Valley last week for the 50th anniversary of the 2019 AAPC Pollie Awards & Conference.  With a commitment to helping leaders in political media, FastPay was a proud sponsor of the 40 Under 40 Awards ceremony and reception as well as the sold-out wine train excursion.

“It’s always a pleasure to spend time with our clients and watch them win awards. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by taking in views along the Napa vineyards with a glass of wine!” said Theresa Mueller, VP of Political Payments at FastPay.

It wasn’t all about the wine and chocolate though, the days were jam-packed with panel discussions and insights from top leaders such as Joanna Burgos of OnMessage Inc. Burgos moderated a panel around women consultants in the workplace and national conversations happening around #metoo, as well as how women candidates have different campaign obstacles to overcome.

Other panel discussions explored the political industry’s off-year cash crunch, sustainable ways of reducing overhead, and the best TV advertising strategies of today. Not surprisingly, data shows that TV continues to be the lead media channel to drive voter awareness but the stakes are high as new digital and targeted strategies are introduced across the industry.

“As TV broadcast remains the dominant platform for reaching voters, it will be interesting to see how political campaigns evolve in such a competitive market to reach divided audiences, especially in the coveted 2020 cycle. We’re just excited to be a part of all of it,” says Rick Weir, VP of Marketing at FastPay.

Making Moves at the Montgomery Summit

FastPay joined thousands of entrepreneurs, senior investors, and leading executives last week at the Montgomery Summit to discuss business strategy, market positioning, and innovations in the tech landscape. During this exclusive two-day event, panels and discussions ranged from the advancements in AI to the future of venture capital, with a featured presentation by FastPay’s President and COO, Secil Baysal.

“It was an honor to speak at this year’s summit alongside industry leaders from around the world. It’s not every day you have the opportunity for candid conversations about the challenges and opportunities fintech businesses face today,” said Secil.

In his 20-minute panel, Secil took a deep dive into the world of media and finance to discuss the investments in consumer-facing technology and their implications on back-end developments. While the rapid growth in technology has led to some amazing innovations, if you take a closer look at what’s happening behind the curtain you’ll discover outdated software and back-end technology that is impacting the consumer experience.

“We’ve seen digital transformation throughout the media industry in forms of AR/VR, yet AP departments are still running off of checks and payment terms ranging from 120 days up to 155 days. We can send something to the moon quicker than we can send a payment through ACH or check,” said Secil.

Those in the media industry can all relate to this challenge but it’s an important reminder that technology shouldn’t always be taken at face value, and the Montgomery Summit was just the place for this discussion. Check out a recap from Macquarie here

FastPay Partners with the AAPC for 2019 40 Under 40 Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 40 Under 40 Awards program! FastPay is thrilled to be partnering with AAPC to recognize the winners at an awards ceremony during the 2019 Pollie Awards & Conference in Napa Valley.

“We are very excited to welcome the class of 2019 40 Under 40 winners. These are the rising stars of our profession who are already making an impact in our industry and our country,” said AAPC President Tom Shepard. “As an Association we are proud to honor this extraordinary class at a special event held at the Artesa Winery in Napa Valley on the evening of April 2, and sponsored by FastPay, a fitting partner that illustrates the same enthusiasm for innovation as our distinguished Award winners.”

“FastPay is honored to be a part of this momentous occasion celebrating the next generation of political leaders,” said Theresa Mueller, VP of Political Payments at FastPay. “Sending warm congratulations and wishing the class of 2019 a prosperous and bright future ahead. We look forward to seeing all of you take the political community by storm.”

The AAPC is dedicated to fostering the next generation of political professionals and is proud to recognize leaders and innovators in the political business community (including media,
advertising, polling and public affairs) who are making a mark in their organization and their
profession.

Check out the winners here.

Winning Big in Texas

Last week was very eventful for our clients and partners who attended the sold-out 2019 Reed Awards in Austin, Texas. Vying for bragging rights to coveted awards like the “Best TV Ad” and “Innovation in Media Buying” over 300 people came together in the heart of Texas hoping to win big.

Award categories included:  

  • Bootstrapped campaigns
  • Direct mail
  • Campaign branding and field
  • International
  • Digital
  • Grassroots
  • Television
  • Spanish language, newspaper, radio and phone calls

“As a multi-year Reed attendee, it was such an honor to be able to sponsor the event this year and support the recognition of the best campaign professionals in the industry. I don’t think people realize all of the work they do behind the scenes to make campaigns come to life,” said Theresa Mueller, VP of Political Payments at FastPay

But more than just an awards show, the event provided the political community with a unique opportunity to connect for a couple of days, share insights, talk shop, and of course, have some fun. And as the headline sponsor, we were determined to make that happen.

“We know campaign season can be emotionally and physically draining for our clients so the Reed Awards gave us a chance to recognize all of their hard work and celebrate the wins right there with them,” said Rick Weir, VP of Marketing at FastPay.

Congratulations to all of the winners. We hope to see you again next year!

2019: The Year of Tech & Mindfulness

Let’s face it, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is far from the picturesque Vegas scene we all see in our colleagues’ Instagram stories. Replace those fancy drinks and fun VR excursions with jet-lag, long lines, three hours of sleep, stress filled meetings, and missed calls from work and then maybe, just maybe, you’ll have a better idea of what CES looks like.  

But here at FastPay, we don’t sugar coat things… We know what it’s like at CES for our clients, channel partners, and potential prospects within the space. The media buying season is always on and new, emerging trends in both consumer and advertising technology are so rampant it’s hard to stay ahead of the game.

“Even in my twelfth year of attendance, I’m still amazed at how brands are reinventing the space with the use of integrated technology to engage with consumers in meaningful ways,” said Rick Weir, VP of Marketing at FastPay.

With all of this in mind, we knew we had our work cut out for us, which is why we hosted a Drybar event for select female leaders within the space to relax and unwind before the storm hit. Not only were these influential ladies able to get a blowout before important meetings, they also had the unique opportunity to connect and share insights into their ever changing worlds, something you don’t find at CES everyday…

FastPay Drybar at CES Post

“With the sensory overload that comes from CES, it’s difficult to stop and have a meaningful conversation so we wanted to create an experience where women felt comfortable enough to share their insights and advice with other empowered ladies in the space,” said Maytal Shainberg, SVP of Business Development and Origination at FastPay.

We are so happy we could be a part of the zoo that is called CES and connect with such amazing women! If there’s one thing we can all learn from this year’s CES, it’s that human connection can never be replaced.

NY Roundtable Recap: Growth Capital and Exits in Digital Media

In partnership with Fox Rothschild, Attorneys at Law, FastPay hosted a NY roundtable discussion with managing directors from KPMG Investment Banking Group, Eastward Capital, and Quake Capital Partners.

The panel discussion was centered around Growth Capital and Exits in the Digital Media Space and included CEO and Co-Founder, Anne Kavanagh, of Steereo, who just completed her first-round equity raise.

Together, the panel navigated the challenges that go along with raising capital, managing a debt stack, and selling a company.

Below are some highlights and thoughts from the panel:

Raising Capital

The panel emphasized the importance of evaluating your needs when choosing capital. Amy Coveny, Managing Partner at Quake Capital, expressed the idea that founders should only take VC money if their business model is repeatable and ready for scale. She also explained how important it is that founders do their diligence on their investors. Referrals from past companies that have been both successful and unsuccessful are equally important.  

Chris Bodnar, investment partner from Eastward, highlighted how many financing options are available to companies today. He explained that this is a relatively new phenomenon and founders should take advantage of these new resources. Chris also highlighted the effectiveness of receivable financing as a resource far cheaper than dilution.

Conclusions:

  • Don’t give away equity if you have a strong balance sheet. Debt is always cheaper.
  • If you need to scale and grow quickly, identify investors who will give you more than just a check. You should expect your equity partners to add value!
  • Choose investors who work with companies you could partner with.

Managing Debt Stacks

In this segment the panel touched on the importance of good communication between capital partners of a company. Chris Bodnar shared his experiences on effective pairings between receivable and term lenders. He explained how pairing facilities like this can be beneficial for all parties involved, and bring down the overall blended cost of capital. Chris encouraged founders to facilitate meetings between their different capital partners in the mutual interest of seeing the company succeed.

The panel also agreed on the importance of not over-borrowing, maintaining a clean cap table, and maximizing runway.

Conclusions:

  • You can effectively pair a receivable lender and term lender through good communication! This will ultimately bring down your blended cost of capital and help the company remain liquid.
  • Be careful when raising money, don’t over borrow. Receivable financing is a great way to avoid a messy cap table and streamline operations.
  • Be careful of traps! Higher valuation offers may seem more attractive on the surface but often have caveats that make them more expensive in the long run.

Exit Strategies  

In the final segment, the group turned their attention towards exit strategies. Roddy Moon of KPMG stressed how important it was for companies, looking to exit, to hit their KPIs. He explained that missing projections in the quarters leading up to a sale can have a drastic impact on valuations and that CEOs should be mindful of this when beginning exit negotiations. Roddy also went on to say that founders should not try to time the market on an exit, but evaluate based on company specific conditions. Roddy finished with an overview of the M&A landscape, adding that the market continues to remain robust headed into 2019. The panel agreed founders should speak with multiple firms before picking an advisor to guide their exit.  

Conclusions:

  • Pay attention to how much capital you’ve raised.
  • Hit your numbers. Don’t miss your KPIs when looking to exit.
  • Don’t try to time the market on an exit.
  • M&A markets remain robust. Hire the right advisors, do your diligence and speak with multiple options before picking an investment bank. Smaller boutique firms may be less flashy but offer good value!

Thank you again to everyone who participated in the New York FastPay Roundtable!

LA Roundtable Recap: Debt vs Equity

Debt vs Equity Roundtable

 

On November 15th, FastPay hosted a panel on the topic of Debt vs Equity, moderated by FastPay’s own, David Bensimon. In partnership with Gunderson Dettmer, the panel featured four industry experts, and the room was filled with thought leaders looking to gain insights on how to grow their companies and network with peers over breakfast. Below is a quick summary of the event:

Debt vs Equity Highlights

  • Take debt when you can
  • Raise equity – two schools of thought:
    1. Be careful not to raise too much too quickly
    2. Raise money now, because you don’t know when the bubble is going to burst

Debt vs Equity Roundtable

Debt for working capital. Equity for growth.

Lori Murphree, of Diamond Capital Advisors, shared that “debt is cheaper at the end of the day, most people don’t realize that. If you’re going to sell your company for hundreds of millions of dollars, do the math!” She also mentioned, “you always want an AR lender that you can use for working capital. If you are going to raise equity, try to raise some debt to go with it.”

17 percent of $100MM > 100 percent of $1MM

There are things to be careful of when taking on Venture Capital, including being aware of how much ownership of your company you are willing to give up. Laurent Grill, of Luma Launch, said if you partner with the right VC and have a good growth plan, the goal of taking on VC money is to grow rapidly. As long as you don’t mind giving up control, “17 percent of a hundred million dollar company is better than 100 percent of a million dollar company.”

Venture funds -> Revenue growth

Matthew Levin, founder of automotive publishing company Donut Media, suggested, “have a plan in place before taking on investment… [As a content company] we have faced the unique challenge of balancing both growing our audience and financing the business.” He advised founders to think about: “the right time to take on equity and how that equity returns audience size that will ultimately turn into revenue.”

Tips to raise money

Founders should be networking with potential investors months before they are actually looking for funding. Dulari Amin, of Synergy Ventures, gave insights on what founders should do. “Talk to your mentors, professors, your army, anyone who has good connections and can bolster your credibility factor and get you in the door with a known VC in town. They can help introduce you to potential investors.”

Stay tuned for more tips from FastPay!