Webinar Recap: Learn How Suppliers Can Optimize Interactions with Agency Finance

On Wednesday, FastPay participated in a webinar hosted by the BCCA… the media industry’s credit association, titled, “How credit can interact with agency finance departments more efficiently.”    

David Frogel, Chief Strategy Officer at FastPay, delivered the webinar to an audience of media suppliers covering some common issues and perceptions about media agencies. Frogel, a former COO/CFO of an advertising agency, shared with the attendees his insights on what goes on behind the scenes of an agency finance department and suggestions for media suppliers on how to optimize interaction with an agency. Specific supplier suggestions included:

  • Use EDI whenever possible
  • Understand how an agency treats duplicate invoices
  • Ensure invoices include critical header details, especially estimate and order
  • Consider payment portals and accept electronic payments
  • Explore solutions that streamline/centralize transactions
  • Pick up the phone!

The event concluded with Frogel’s thoughts on the future and Q&A from the audience.  

“I learned a lot about collaborative relationships between agencies and suppliers when I was a COO/CFO of an agency. It starts with willingness to change and considering industry platforms that will deliver greater efficiency and reduce friction for both parties,” said Frogel.

Special thanks to our friends at the BCCA… the media industry’s credit association for hosting this webinar. A full recording of the webinar can be viewed here.

FastPay Names Michael Wehner as General Manager and Senior Vice President of Payments

Media Industry Veteran to Define Payments Portfolio Go-to-Market Strategy and Drive Innovation

Michael Wehner SVP Payments

FastPay announced today that Michael Wehner has joined the company as General Manager and Senior Vice President of Payments. In this position, Wehner will have responsibility for FastPay’s payments portfolio, including managing sales, development, and growth, and overseeing expansion of solutions for media agencies and suppliers. He will be responsible for defining the payments go-to-market strategy and driving innovation through strategic customer engagements. Wehner began his new position as a member of the executive team in December, reporting to Jed Simon, CEO and Founder of FastPay.

Wehner joins FastPay from the Rubicon Project, a digital advertising infrastructure company, where he was Senior Vice President of Agency & Brand Sales. At the Rubicon Project, Wehner was responsible for building out the agency’s strategy and global team, while working closely with global buying partners. Prior to Rubicon, Wehner worked at Microsoft where he led the global strategy for Media & Entertainment, before moving to the company’s advertising division. Before then, Wehner held sales leadership roles at IBM and Yahoo. With more than 20 years of sales and business development experience in digital media, Wehner has a track record for driving revenue growth by delivering integrated technology solutions to media companies.

“Michael brings significant media industry expertise to FastPay, which will support the rapid growth trajectory of our payments portfolio,” stated Simon. “He brings the ideal background needed to understand the complex, ever-evolving media landscape. We believe his proven track record will help expand FastPay’s payment solutions in meaningful ways for both agencies and media suppliers. His leadership skills will help accelerate and manage FastPay’s tremendous current growth and growth potential.”  

“FastPay’s market potential is virtually unlimited, and I’m looking forward to helping the company bring its innovative solutions to the media industry, so we can offer clients greater payment speed, accuracy, and control over their payment operations,” said Wehner. “Today, U.S. media payments total more than $200 billion annually. The FastPay platform delivers the ability to automate a significant portion of those payments, while giving media companies more productivity and the cost savings they need to remain competitive.”

Raised in Rochester, New York, Wehner now lives in New York City. He holds a BA degree in Computer Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Boom or Bust?  Marketing and Ad Tech Investment Dollars Projected to Fall 75% in 2019

According to a recent Forrester research report, investment dollars for marketing and ad tech startups are expected to fall 75% in 2019. This should come as no surprise in an industry that has seen tremendous growth in recent years from what seems like a never-ending stream of both advertising dollars and rounds of capital from hungry investors across the globe.

Marketing and ad tech consolidation is happening every day as larger media, tech companies, and agencies acquire new platforms and niche companies from across the ecosystem to bring order in the still overwhelmingly complex ecosystem. Ultimately, these companies are trying to help marketers reach the right customer, at the right time, and across any device with the ability to measure the impact. Terms like AI, VR, and blockchain have replaced big data, omnichannel, programmatic, and native as the new buzzwords helping some gain an edge over others.

Companies with proven technology, established revenue streams, and sound business strategies will continue to thrive despite fewer investment dollars. Other startups may have joined the party too late, already burned through several rounds of funding, or shifted their business strategies and are destined to become footnotes of history in one of the most booming sectors since the dotcom craze.

While the marketplace will ultimately pick the winners and losers, FastPay continues to provide capital for media and tech companies with proven business models.

FastPay recently partnered with ad tech platform, VideoAmp, because of their unique offering and position in the market. According to VideoAmp CFO, Tom Schmitt, “Our partnership with FastPay allows us to accelerate our investment in strategic elements of our business and gain market share in a dynamic environment. With FastPay, we’re able to double-down on our product investment, making our customers and investors incredibly successful.”

FastPay has multiple lending sources to help inject capital, while not diluting equity investments for clients. “Our rich analytics and deep industry expertise allow us to provide our clients more capital than banks and generic providers. Unlike traditional lenders who are becoming more and more conservative, we continue to lean into the industry and not shy away from it,” stated Maytal Shainberg, SVP of Origination and Business Development.  

As the marketplace continues to mature, FastPay’s collective experience and network of industry relationships will continue to help clients navigate media and tech’s complex financial ecosystem.

Coming To America: Grow Big or Grow Home?

Coming To America: Grow Big or Grow Home?

Last week saw the great and the good of the adtech world descend on The Ivy to share the lessons and scars of US expansion.

Hosted by yours truly at FastPayBen Titchmarsh of Propeller PR guided a panel of fantastic industry spokespeople through an advice-led discussion that followed the growth of a hypothetical adtech firm from inception to US expansion and exit plan.

Adam Ludwin of Captify and Abeed Janmohamed of Volando provided the ‘been there done that’ point of view as founders that have successfully established US bases, whilst Mark Williams at Results International did a sterling job of detailing the nuanced differences between UK and US investor attitudes. For those confident they are in the right position to make the jump across the Atlantic, we had some interesting takeaways…

US venture capital isn’t compulsory for US success

Many founders feel that a big valuation from US VCs provide the answer to their problems, yet this can be disheartening when many Silicon Valley investors want to see triple digit growth before they even bat an eyelid. With East Coast funds zoning in on double digit growth, European funds remain an attractive option. As ever, finding a venture capital partner should always come down the money involved and who you trust.

Founders must not be put off by overconfident US competition either. It was post-Series B for Captify (around £8 million), when a US competitor with £50 million in the war chest came over to compete. It wasn’t long before said competitor shut up shop as the technology wasn’t quite there.

Before rushing off to new locations, Mark advises that it’s vital to make sure the home market is stable. The cost of expansion is often underestimated; overconfidence can often lead to executives not building in failure and re-hiring staff to the plan.

You can’t enforce culture

We all speak the same language, but the US can a big culture shock for British entrepreneurs. Adam needed to overcome Captify’s Britishness when opening Captify’s US office, and found they nailed the culture when the balance of British to American staff was about three in 10. It takes time to nurture culture and nobody cares if you’re the hottest thing in Europe – you’re a start-up all over again in the US.

On the money front, $1m doesn’t even make a dent in sales and marketing, with salaries averaging at double compared to the UK.

Stateside, investors have a different mentality too. Whilst European investors are poring over EBITDA, out in the US, culture plays a big part and belief in a founder’s vision can often trump pure financials. They back teams and often ‘bad tech, great team’ wins out over ‘good tech, shit team’.

Preparation is key – exhaust all options

What came across loud and clear from our founders is the old adage of failing to prepare is preparing to fail. US expansion is not something one should rush into. Deals in adtech have decreased and it’s now about established businesses positioning for an exit. There’s still a diverse range of potential acquirers including broadcasters, telcos, agency networks, consulting firms and private equity. As with any move, US expansion should only ever feed into an overarching growth strategy.

The panel agreed that founders should exhaust all debt options before diving straight into equity. However, for companies that have already secured investment, debt can also complement equity by providing cash flow solutions without further dilution of ownership. Debt is much more cost effective in the long run and faster to obtain – Abeed and Adam both highlighted the sheer time commitment involved in campaigning for equity raises, and if founders aren’t careful this can impact on the day to day growth of the company. With debt options, the finance team can apply for a loan or alternative finance pretty easily. When you consider that payment terms in the US are even longer than the often stretched timeline that vendors face in the UK, it is essential for founder to factor in working capital solutions early on to ensure success.

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Follow The Money – Political Ad Spend Heating to Record Levels With 50 Days to Midterm Elections

In today’s increasingly heated midterm elections, advertising spending is also heating up — and the dollars are being spent in surprising areas, say leading political media reporting organizations.

According to Borrell Associates, spending in 2018 is 6.5 percent higher than in 2014, with total spend estimated to be $8.8 billion versus $8.3 billion in the previous midterm elections.  

What’s more, digital is not king, despite massive growth during the last two cycles. Broadcast and cable are capturing over 50 percent of all political media revenue. Online and digital account for 20 percent. Often overlooked print and radio advertising fall in at 8.1 and 7.7 percent respectively.

The breakdown continues with $2.4 billion predicted to be spent on broadcast TV ads, including House, Senate, and state and local office races — a 14 percent increase from 2014, according to Kantar Media as reported by Bloomberg. Further, campaign spending on local cable TV ads will grow more than 40 percent to $850 million. Expenditures for Internet ads will more than double to reach $600 million.

More than half of political spending will be local — state level or below. In fact, Borrell advises media and consultants to understand local audiences, so they can deliver highly targeted matching of ads to audiences.

To help media take advantage of the increasing midterm political spending, FastPay provides several critical capabilities that support automated delivery, receipt and processing of prepaid political advertising payments.

Because FastPay is designed for the media industry, its proprietary technology serves its unique payment needs — including reducing the risks of political ad payment delays and discrepancies. As an added measure of assurance, the FastPay services team follows up to ensure payments are processed in advance of airing ads on TV, cable, online, digital, radio and print.

FastPay further reduces payment risk by offering the ability to automatically populate payment portals with billing information versus relying on human intervention and risking potential payment errors and delays.

While the political landscape is bound to become increasingly volatile up to November 6th, 2018, paying for political advertising along the way doesn’t have to be.

Scripps Plans to Unload Radio Stations: How Will This Impact Your Supplier Payment Destinations?

Last week, E.W. Scripps Co. announced it has agreed to sell the rest of its radio stations to its final buyer SummitMedia. This allows Scripps to exit the radio business after selling all 34 of their radio stations to four distinct buyers.

The announcement is consistent with broader trends in the media industry such as Sinclair’s attempt to buy Tribune, AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, and Discovery’s merger with Scripps Network Interactive. In fact, the first half of 2018 saw more than $300B in mergers and acquisitions announced between media companies compared to just $60B in all 2017.

FastPay’s services team tracks the station group hierarchies for over 60,000 media owners and all ownership changes and all resulting payment policy changes.

For FastPay clients, we proactively monitor such activity to ensure that all supplier payments are issued efficiently and directed to the proper destinations and recipients 100% of the time.

“We have an established infrastructure and seamless process to manage all industry ownership and policy-change events. Whether there is a merger, acquisition or supplier payment acceptance criteria change, FastPay manages all such changes on behalf of our clients,” says Christine Rose, SVP of Client Management.

As further consolidation and new ownerships are finalized, there are likely to be many changes to manage for media finance departments. How will your organization handle 100’s of payment destination changes?

 

7 Myths of Political Media Payments

 

Political media is different than traditional media and requires specific know-how when it comes to providing payment services. Tested over multiple campaign cycles, FastPay Political has the industry experience to identify the key myths and facts about political media payments.

  1. Myth: All payments providers have access to the same suppliers

    Fact:
    Maximizing supplier acceptance requires a complete and constantly updated database of suppliers, as well as methods and rules of acceptance established by every supplier. Only FastPay has TROVE, a proprietary database that has been cultivated and grown for more than 5 years. As a result, FastPay’s acceptance rates for electronic payments are 30-100% greater than all of its competitors.

  2. Myth: An accounting system has everything needed to send electronic payments


    Fact:
    Quickbooks and other integrations can be easy to implement, but only a rich set of features can save time and reduce errors for the agency. FastPay’s Quickbooks integration enables clients to submit electronic payments directly from their accounting software and seamlessly updates their accounting data with remittance information. 

  3. Myth: The higher the rebate percentage, the greater the rebate earned


    Fact:
    Possibly the greatest myth! The rebate percentage is an attention grabbing headline (I’m getting 2%!) but the agency is actually paid based on the 2% multiplied by the amount of throughput. FastPay can forecast the rebate for your agency so you can project how much you will earn this season.

  4. Myth: Payment sent = Payment received


    Fact:
    Just because a payment is emailed doesn’t mean the payment has been processed. FastPay sends remittance notifications to media reps and follows up on payments to payees, acting as an extension of the agency’s team. Follow-up and visibility into unclaimed/processed payments and payment status is available to agency personnel from within our easy-to-use online interface.

  5. Myth: All credit card payments are delivered via email


    Fact:
    Many suppliers accept payments exclusively through their own web portals. Only FastPay automates payments to these portals via SitePay, ensuring timely and accurate payments. Other payment providers either have the agency manually key the data into the portal or handle the manual entry for the agency. In either instance, a high volume of payments can burden the agency or cause the provider to run out of time.

  6. Myth: Political media payments experience is a “nice to have” and not critical


    Fact:
    Political media planning and buying is vastly different from traditional and the same goes for payments. Prepayment, communication with suppliers, campaign data, workflow, and credit need to be customized for political media payments. FastPay Political has been tried and tested through multiple political cycles. Unlike other payment providers, FastPay is exclusively committed to media, sending and lending billions of dollars annually to agencies and suppliers.

  7. Myth: Top tier 24/7 support is for emergencies only and can be staffed by call center operators

    Political agencies AND media suppliers are working hard, long hours to make sure that media runs as expected. Just one missed payment or unanswered question about the campaign for which a payment is intended can have dire consequences. FastPay customers have access to a dedicated team of political media payment experts 24/7 to assist both agencies and suppliers, greatly reducing the volume of questions the agency has to field when it’s pressed to execute campaigns.

FastForward: The Only Conference Connecting Key Players in Media Finance

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We are pleased to announce the lineup for our second annual FastForward conference in New York City. This invitation-only conference connects key constituents across the media landscape, from marketers and agencies to media owners. This year’s theme is “Connecting Media Finance.”  

On the afternoon of Thursday, April 26th, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC, FastForward 2018 will unite a diverse group including the industry’s most compelling thought leaders. Highlights include: 

  • Award-winning journalist and this year’s keynote speaker, Ken Auletta, famous for The New Yorker column about media, will share tips from his not-yet-released book, Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Industry (and Everything Else) in a fireside chat with Monica Karo, Chief Client Officer at OMD Worldwide.
  • Michael Slaby, CTO (Obama for America, 2012) and Chief Integration and Innovation Officer (Obama for America, 2008), will host a panel on Politics 2.0, debating the do’s and dont’s of behavioral science.
  • Lindsey Stein, newly-named Editor for Campaign U.S., and Brian Wieser, Senior Analyst at Pivotal, described in AdAge as, “The most quoted man in advertising,” will offer an analysis of the new realities of the agency business.
  • Jordan Bitterman, CMO of IBM Watson and Amy Karr, CEO & Co-Founder of Ventus Advisors, will discuss Blockchain–what’s a breakthrough and what’s a buzzword? 

In addition to these highlighted speakers, there will be many more industry greats on hand for must-hear panels.

Our FastForward Conference features the most debated and leading-edge topics in media finance. Founders, CEOs, CFOs and other C-Suite executives are attending FastForward to join the conversation.

For more information and a full agenda, visit: www.fastpayfastforward.com

FastPay Client Q&A: CHOOZLE

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Chatting about Denver’s maturing tech scene with Megan Sullivan-Jenks, director of marketing and communications at Choozle, an innovative digital advertising platform that utilizes consumer data to power real-time programmatic advertising campaigns.
 
What’s trending on the Denver tech scene?
Denver is a fantastic place for growing tech companies. Not only is there an energizing and supportive community, but Colorado also attracts top talent from all over the country. Over the last year, tech companies large and small have opened offices in Colorado. I am sure we will continue to see this trend as the city continues to mature and flourish.
 
It seems that VCs have shied away from digital media. Why do you think that is? Who’s been filling the void? 
The ad tech industry is currently in a rapid state of maturation and consolidation, which could be  brought on by the lack of VC funding. The smaller players are barely taking flight while the larger companies have been merging at a rapid rate. Although many competitors are consolidating or closing up shop, a few ad tech companies are looking at non-traditional funding alternatives or staying lean to drive business outcomes. 
 
How do events like Boulder Startup Week and Denver Startup Week benefit local Colorado businesses?
Denver Startup Week is essentially the Super Bowl for Colorado companies. It has become a celebration of our collaborative successes as startups but it’s also a way to connect with other companies that don’t call Colorado home.
 
What makes Denver a perfect city for tech startups?

With the mountains as a backdrop, Colorado has done wonders for recruiting and retaining employees, especially since Denver has evolved into a major tech and startup hub. The community and location are what makes Denver attractive for tech startups, but more importantly the companies established here seem to thrive.

What advice do you have for a tech company looking to open an office in Denver?
Get connected! Attend meetup events, network, reach out, and everything in-between. 

In 2017 you branched out to the U.K. What led to that decision?

We at Choozle pride ourselves on being flexible and aspirational. With the major growth in online display advertising in the European market, Choozle recognized a significant opportunity to provide a digital advertising solution there.

For U.K.-based companies looking to expand across the pond, why is Denver a good location to consider?
Denver is a central location between New York and Los Angeles, which makes for easy commuting and time differences. Most of all, commercial real estate prices, and the cost of living, are much more manageable for early startups.
 
What’s next for Choozle?

Sky’s the limit!

Choozle – Digital Advertising Made Easy® – provides digital advertising software that leverages detailed consumer data to power programmatic advertising campaigns across display, video, mobile and other mediums – all from a single, intuitive interface. Choozle brings programmatic advertising to any marketer or advertiser with independent and self-service digital advertising software. Learn more at https://choozle.com.

For more information about how FastPay can help your business, please contact Daniel Guthorn at Danielg@gofastpay.com or (714) 745-6179.