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Fintech Firm That Helps Companies Process Billions In Payments Can Grow Even Bigger

SnapAP CEO JD Drapeau (left) receiving the 2019 Channel Innovation Award. Lance Bailey of Samsung stands beside him (right). Image: Submitted

MONCTON – A lot of things have been going well for SnapAP. The company won a national award last month and is bringing its finance optimization software to Money20/20 in Las Vegas this month.

SnapAP is one of 10 Atlantic Canadian fintech companies that Venn Innovation will bring to the major fintech conference that takes place on October 27-30.

The company recently won the Gold Award in the Next Generation Channel Innovator category at the Channel Innovation Awards, a national competition held by Channel Daily News. It’s also part of the current cohort of Propel’s Incite program.

But its story starts way before it came to life in January this year.

SnapAP is “version 2.0” of a consulting firm that CEO J.D. Drapeau co-founded, says VP of business development and co-owner Sionne Roberts.

The firm had helped businesses improve and streamline their financial operations, including by making sure invoices are correct and complete the first time they’re entered. The firm served a clientele that included multinationals in the mining and natural resources sector. Drapeau, a coder, created proprietary software to aid in that work.

When Drapeau’s business partner decided to retire, he sought to monetize the software. Some 18 months ago, Roberts and Drapeau transformed it into a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, and SnapAP was born.

SnapAp currently has five employees, including Roberts and Drapeau. The company targets the procure-to-pay market and accounts payable automation.

“We’re basically stripping off the consulting piece and then we’ve added some new features to the software itself. But in terms of the history and what we’ve done, we’ve actually managed the processing of $2 billion worth of payments from our clients to their suppliers [using the software],” Roberts said.

SnapAP automates data entry in companies’ accounts payable departments and decreases the chances of errors happening in the first place.

“The problem is you might apply automation to a flawed approach and what you’re doing there is you’re increasing the volume of mistakes that you’re having to fix later,” Roberts said. “But we go a little bit further upstream … You check off all the boxes at the outset and then at the later stages your accounts payable, your invoice, is almost a rubber stamp at that point.”

This could save companies a lot of time and resources, Roberts said.

“For example, invoices being paid in weeks can be paid in minutes, and invoices that would cost on average $100 to process now they’re down to $2,” Roberts said. “It’s a bold claim and I don’t like to talk about it sometimes, but companies are really inefficient and they can do a lot better.”

In preparation for Money20/20, SnapAP has been working with Venn and its partners to set up industry connections. At the conference, the Atlantic Canadian delegation will show a united front.

“We’re going to try to sell not just our companies but also our region at Money20/20, and raise our profile so that maybe we do get investors from New York, or entrepreneurs that are trying to establish an office where it’s very economical but you still have a good labour force,” Roberts said.

Under the mentorship of Venn’s entrepreneur-in-residence Alicia Ismach, SnapAP is looking into the roles it could play in the fintech sector. It’s had conversations with Visa for a possible partnership in the push payments space, which would allow customers to use the Visa network to pay suppliers instead of going through their banks.

SnapAP can enable customers to choose their payment provider, set terms of payment, manage payments to align with cash flow and discount offerings, and transfer money between U.S. and Canadian bank accounts cheaper and faster.

The company is also in contract talks with a major re-seller of the Sage 300 accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses. The deal would allow SnapAP to tap into the reseller’s network of around 10,000 companies and generate revenue for expansion.

Roberts expects the company’s headcount will grow to 15 in the next few years, in addition to funding from NBIF and ACOA.

Having worked in startups and technology for more than two decades, including in Silicon Valley in the 90s, Roberts sees “so much positive momentum” in New Brunswick’s startup ecosystem. But he wishes stories of success and innovation are better known.

“Whenever I talk to funding agencies or local resources…they don’t always know as much about what’s going on as everyone else does,” he said. “And as entrepreneurs, it’s a real missed opportunity for people to not take advantage of mentorship, programs or networking.”

“We’re very humble, we’ve very nice people, but the bad news is we could probably benefit from a little more of honesty and sharing of our stories.”