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.


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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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:

FastPay Client Q&A: CHOOZLE

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

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

FastPay Exceeds $2Bn in Loan Origination


London 13 November 2017: FastPay, the global fintech company that provides capital and payments solutions to digital businesses, today announces that it has lent digital media firms over $2bn since 2009 to help optimise working capital – a figure that has doubled in the last year.

FastPay’s rapid growth this year can be largely attributed to adtech venture funding crashing to its lowest point in five years, due to a loss in investor confidence in the sector according to CBInsights. Another factor is the decline in business lending from banks and traditional lenders as their underwriting methods and credit policies fail to keep up with the evolving business models of the industry, despite the government’s efforts to encourage more lending to SMEs. Figures from the British Business Bank (BBB) reveal that every year small businesses from different sectors, including digital media, are refused loans worth about £4bn. At the same time, these digital media businesses are hungry for additional capital to support international expansion, a trend that has increased significantly this year as companies look to build on domestic success by entering new markets, particularly from the UK and Europe to the US where media budgets are significantly larger.

FastPay itself secured strategic investment last year from Citi Ventures and Hitachi Capital to further develop its tailormade digital media lending solution and enable 100+ clients to unlock revenue payments up to 150 days early from over 3000 global brands, agencies or advertising platforms. In October of this year FastPay also acquired electronic payment solutions provider, AnchorOps, to reduce friction and improve efficiency for the entire $600B global advertising industry.

Matt Byrne, UK Director, FastPay said, “This is a significant milestone in FastPay’s growth as, this year, we have observed a surge in high-growth digital media businesses seeking working capital. More and more clients use financing to enable expansion into international markets. If a business’s revenue is doubling or more every year, many banks and high street lenders can be unwilling or simply too slow to offer the level of required finance. Whilst there is still investment going into digital businesses, the focus has switched towards marketing tech and subscription based businesses, making typical media companies less attractive for VCs seeking scalable business models and higher returns.”

FastPay Acquires AnchorOps, Creating a Financial Solutions Powerhouse for Media


Los Angeles, California, October 11, 2017 – FastPay, the pre-eminent financial technology company providing capital and payments solutions to digital businesses, today announced it has acquired AnchorOps, the leading provider of electronic payment solutions for media buyers.  Combining FastPay’s focus on lending to media sellers and AnchorOps’ proficiency in payments and reconciliation for media buyers creates a unified platform that reduces friction and improves efficiency for the entire $600B global advertising industry, from invoicing to payment disbursement.

Jed Simon, CEO/Founder of FastPay states, “We’ve been impressed with the AnchorOps team for years – they’ve built a fantastic suite of products with exceptional focus on serving customers.  Our companies share similar values, and we’re excited to provide the industry with a single platform to address the full spectrum of customer needs.”

Founded in 2012, AnchorOps has the only electronic payment solution designed and optimized exclusively for the media industry.  Their rapid growth and market dominance is attributable to their vertical expertise, extensive software solutions, proprietary data, and unparalleled client service. Integrating AnchorOps with FastPay’s industry-leading technology, analytics, and credit capabilities will fulfill the financial needs of the advertising ecosystem.

David Frogel, President and Founder of AnchorOps, will join the FastPay team as Chief Revenue Officer.  Frogel said, “We’re thrilled to join the FastPay team. We share a unified vision of streamlining our industry’s financial workflow to create the premier fintech company for our industry.”

This merger will create an integrated working capital solution designed to streamline customers’ financial operations and fuel their growth. The combined company has over 100 employees with five offices globally.


For more information, please contact:

Michelle Fiordaliso at FastPay: 310-651-9582

About FastPay

FastPay is a financial technology platform providing credit and payment solutions to digital industries. Leveraging proprietary technology and analytics, FastPay dynamically assesses the creditworthiness of borrowers and can issue working capital loans up to $100M+. Since its inception in 2009, FastPay has originated over $2B in loans and has access to hundreds of millions of dollars in deployable capital from partners including Citibank, Wells Fargo, and Hitachi. Its leadership team brings decades of credit and payments experience from Green Dot Corporation, Capital One, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Skrill. Headquartered in Los Angeles, FastPay has offices in San Francisco, New York, London, and Westborough, MA. For more information, please visit

About AnchorOps

AnchorOps is the only payment solution focused exclusively on the media industry. Founded by a former agency CFO/COO, AnchorOps streamlines media finance and operations so both agencies and suppliers benefit from workflow efficiency, increased visibility into bottlenecks, improved communication, and reduced manual input and errors.  With a focus on media, AnchorOps enables its customers to make more money and drive more efficiency than any other provider.  For more information, please visit:

For official press release, please visit:

Voice of America: FastPay Closes the Gender Gap in Fintech

VOA-thumbnailFastPay’s segment begins at 14:55

FastPay is proud to announce that Voice of America did a feature story on how we’re bucking the trend in the Fintech industry when it comes to women holding many of our key leadership positions. While Fintech is a growing industry, only 8% of director positions are currently held by women.


Not so, at FastPay. Listen to FastPay’s Christine Kuecherer (GM, Platform Growth), Elise Linn (Head of Front End Development and Quality Engineering) and Michelle Fiordaliso (Head of Marketing) share their thoughts on women paving their way in the male-dominated worlds of finance and technology.