Inoxico is a fintech company focused on helping businesses to optimise their trade credit profitability. It primarily works to help large companies extend credit to business customers and derive returns on working capital deployed. By using an advanced analytics platform and their unique set of business payment data, it can determine appropriate credit risk approaches quickly and accurately.
Today Inoxico is at an exciting point in its growth journey. The company is steadily increasing its market share, and recently qualified for funding from FNB’s Vumela Enterprise Development Fund. But just two years ago Inoxico’s future was uncertain, as Dominique Pitot, Inoxico’s CEO, explains.
“Shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic hit we had realised that we had to make a big pivot or die trying. We were marginally profitable, but we weren’t building a sustainable business. We were looking for a programme that would help us, and FNB’s Accelerator Programme came highly recommended.”
The FNB Accelerator Programme
The FNB Accelerator Programme is designed to enhance the ability of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with exceptional potential to scale up successfully.
The programme, delivered by Edge Growth Accelerate, aims to increase the SME scale-up success rate by driving critical management behaviour changes to promote job creation and to unlock further and improved capital, talent, and support. The FNB Accelerator Programme focuses on gazelles: SMEs with significant potential for growth. They typically have a large prospective market, an innovative product, and impressive leadership.
“I've been exposed to other programmes,” Dominique says, “And I haven’t found any that are better than this programme. The FNB Accelerator programme strikes exactly the right level of detail: it’s not too broad to be relevant, but you also don’t get bogged down in specifics. Above all, it is realistic: it is tailored to what will result in concrete improvements.”
The power of best practice
According to Dominique, the key to Inoxico’s ability to leverage the programme effectively was the realisation that an entrepreneur doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. “There is often an attitude amongst entrepreneurs that because they’ve had an innovative idea in one field, they have to approach each granular aspect of running a business with the aim of reinventing it.
The programme taught us the power of leveraging established good practice. If you apply the framework properly and fully you get the most out of it. Cleverness is overrated! Have the humility to admit you don't have all the answers, do things properly, learn from the experts, and you’ll avoid many of the pitfalls you would otherwise have stumbled blindly into.”
Avani Manilal, SME Development Solution Strategist at FNB Commercial agrees, saying “Dominique and the rest of the Inoxico leadership really impressed us through their discipline and commitment to implementing the programme best practices. That discipline was a huge factor that has undoubtedly counted towards their success. It also demonstrates the value of a business that can successfully leverage the technical support from a contextually relevant programme, improve the maturity of the business, and then as a result, move to the next stage of the FNB enterprise development ecosystem and become eligible for Vumela funding. Inoxico is a great example of how financial and non-financial support work together to build scalable businesses with huge potential.”
The benefit of experience
In addition to the nuts and bolts of the programme, the mentoring component made an enduring impression on the Inoxico leadership.
“We’d had this near-failure experience,” Dominique recalls. “I was dealing with a lot of pressure, and I couldn’t fully share my situation with anyone. Having the right mentor allows you to work through big problems with someone who understands your journey. If I hadn’t had that monthly sounding board and reality check, I would have become lost in my thoughts and frustrated by things I didn’t need to focus on. Mentoring also gives you the courage to follow through on the ideas that are applicable and that have promise. The experience was valuable enough that we have kept the relationship going with the mentor post the programme.”
A validation of their hard work
Inoxico’s focus today is on honing its product fit and exploring new markets, and the company seems on the cusp of a very promising growth trajectory with their new platform. Dominique explains: “The hard part was getting our first customers. We achieved that last year. Now we can focus on expansion and effectively integrating our services into client environments. We’ve managed to hit some huge milestones and the feasibility of the solution has been proven, so now we just must focus on implementation. The progress we have made, and the funding we’ve received from Vumela, are fantastic validations of the hard work we’ve put into developing a scalable business.”