*This is a sponsored post as part of our ICO Whitelists Insider series.
*** UPDATE: aXpire raised their hard cap to $20m, and have reached their funding goal. The sale is now closed. ***
Cloud-based and AI-enabled blockchain payment processing company aXpire aims to remove the human/manual processes from digital spend management in a B2B environment, through its spend management tool, Resolvr.
aXpire was born as a spinoff out of software application and business process outsourcing company, LSG, which is still in existence today.
Approximately one year ago, they were approached by a large hedge fund with $24BN of Assets Under Management (AUM) in New York City.
“They came to us and said, look, we have a problem,” recalls Founder and Chief Executive of aXpire, Gary R Markham.
“Their legal, fund accounting, admin, finance and compliance department folks were all spending a lot of time trying to communicate. They were trying to report to each other and act as one cohesive unit.
“They had these departments that were communicating using email, paper, PDFs and spreadsheets (PPS). And I mean real paper, with rubber stamps on them, and scribble notes.
“All their workflow and processes were fine, but the modality – the PPS – were not fine. That’s where we were finding a lot of errors, in what we call human/manual processes.”
aXpire quickly looked at what they had in their current ‘technology toolkit’. They realized they needed to build a platform to enhance clients’ internal communication and spend proficiency outlets, ultimately benefiting their bottom line.
aXpire’s current solution incorporates internal payment management tools with built-in inter- and intra-departmental communication. “Think of a B2B ‘Slack + Task Rabbit’,” says Markham.
“We call it PPS to digital,” explains Gary. “We worked with this anchor client on the design, built the requirements, put it together and conducted iterative design reviews.
“What they had us build was a single common platform, which was cloud-based, and enabled so-called ‘digital handshakes’.”
These digital handshakes allowed a single platform, where those departments could communicate. It enabled them to do their work according to expected obligations and duties, in real-time, with a starkly reduced error rate.
“The platform is also connected with a number of existing software programs, or IT stacks, to plug any holes in the mid- and back-office digital ecosystem,” says Markham.
It successfully cut out a lot of human/manual effort, which aXpire believes is key.
“Compliance spend in RegTech is off the chart,” adds Markham. “Citigroup alone has more than 30,000 people within its compliance department globally. Three of those companies would fill Wembley Stadium in London – think about that.”
But who exactly is behind aXpire?
Founder and Chief Executive Gary R Markham has over 20 years of mixed technology and consulting experience. This includes fields such as insurance, banking, financial services – in addition to large scale engineering and constructing.
Joined by CFO Andre L Wouansi, Program Director Philip Knight and Director of Business Development, Sivakumar Jayabalan, aXpire features a strong team with backgrounds in technology, consulting, legal and vendor management.
Additionally, it carries out all its work in-house. “We do our own development, design, testing, releases and customer support,” explains Markham.
“Collectively, the senior team has nearly a century of experience between us, and that gives us a good base to work from. We have great partners for new ventures and technologies, but are proud to say that these partnerships serve to enhance our core team, which is already built out.”
Why is aXpire on the blockchain?
“The product as it exists right now doesn’t have to be on the blockchain,” Markham explains.
“We’re going to incorporate blockchain enhancements to the software to enable things like e-bidding and e-procurement.
“This will be supported by blockchain’s built-in audit trail for analytics and reporting, where vendors would bid for work.
“I think you can look at Ripple as an example of a company that has made a similar strategic decision.
“We’re also looking at digital handshakes and how the software currently enables departments to use these.
“Now we use APIs, but we’re looking to remove APIs and use blockchain technology, as a means for our solution to be a single and immutable, highly secure network environment.”
aXpire also partners with R3, Microsoft and the International RegTech Association (IRTA). Markham had his software developers trained on Corda, which is the R3 Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) standard.
“What I wanted to do is to hedge our bets as a company, so that we didn’t rely on one DLT. We met blockchain advisors from R3 to attend their training and become familiar with their technology. We were then invited by them to become a partner.
“It’s a good place to be because they have a substantial partner group, including 110 banks, who are taking DLT very, very seriously,” says Markham.
And why should people want to participate in aXpire’s ICO?
“The reason we stand out amongst the others is because we are targeting an area that doesn’t receive a lot of attention.
“It’s not the sexiest thing out there, but it’s underserved, with lots of room to grow – sometimes boring is beautiful,” explains Markham.
“There are studies by MIT’s Sloan School of Management, which cite inefficiencies in the areas we’re targeting, human/manual processes.
“These areas cost organizations between 15-25% of their revenues, and that’s exactly what we’re targeting; improved profitability by applying a sophisticated electronic umbrella to the mid- and back-office.”
You’re distributing a relatively high percentage of tokens in the sale – why is that?
“There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of opinion-formers in the ICO crypto space.
“When we talked to the experts on our advisory board, we talked to other consultants advising us on the pre-sale and took a community decision that this was the right kind of number.
“It gave us what we needed to really grow the platform and sales. It also meant these tokens would be readily available for our clients and vendors to purchase.
“Moreover, it’s representative of the soft cap rates we’re looking for. We’re not trying to be greedy, if I can say that.
“We don’t need $100m to support our development road map and our sales road map – the number we’re looking for is actually much lower.
“Things may change down the line and over the course of the next 3-5 years as aXpire expands, but our raise is conservative.
“We can use this capital as the spark that brings our platform to the next level,” he adds.
Is crypto truly going to become universal?
“Personally, I think it is, and I think it will be like the old days where we still have cash. But instead of having credit card and debit cards being dominant, you have apps like Google Pay and Apple Pay.
“I think it’s also one step beyond that – you won’t need it connected to your bank account, because you won’t need a bank account.
“You will have a digital wallet, connected to your digital currencies, connected to your smartphone, available to any merchant, shop or store, globally.
“Some of those cryptoassets will provide a decentralized alternative to current currencies.
“Others will provide you decentralized assets. Even others will still allow holders to gain access to pretty much any service you could think of.”
So what’s so important about aXpire in this space?
“An understanding of the fact that these inefficiencies are costing organizations a ton of money – and focusing on that,” says Markham.
“How long will it take before the pendulum of throwing bodies at a problem swings the other way, and the utilization of technology pushes back the other way?
“We think that time is now. And you’ll see that’s why these spend projections are so significant.
“These headcount numbers will begin to fall, and the utilization of technology will start to fill the gap of of the current human/manual process.
“It will be facilitated by these armies and legions of people who will be replaced or enhanced by technology. That’s our sweet spot.”
For more information, please visit www.axpire.io.
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