Tesorio, a new startup out of Wharton’s MBA program, is helping big companies and their smaller vendors save money by speeding up payments between the two. One of its first customers is Yards Brewing Company.
Here’s how it works: Companies can take a month or longer to pay their vendors, like the business that supplies the Yards bottles or their labels. In some cases, it could take two to three months for a company to pay a supplier. That means that while suppliers are waiting on that payment, they might need to take out of a line of credit to pay their bills.
Tesorio’s technology takes a company’s invoices and figures out which it can pay sooner. So, if Yards has enough cash on hand to pay a vendor earlier, Tesorio facilitates the transaction, Yards gets a discount on its payment and that vendor gets paid faster.
The way founder Carlos Vega, 33, of Center City, explains it, a big company might be able to negotiate with a few of its bigger vendors to set up earlier payment agreements. But if you have thousands of vendors, it’s not as easy.
The lag time between businesses receiving parts or services and paying their vendors is an issue that’s recently risen to national prominence, as President Obama announced his “SupplierPay” initiative. More than two dozen corporations, like Apple and Coca-Cola, agreed to pay their vendors in 15 days as part of the program, Marketplace reported.
One of Tesorio’s competitors, San Francisco-based Taulia, calls some of those SupplierPay corporations clients, according to the San Francisco Business Journal. The five-year-old company is more mature than Tesorio, with 150 employees. Vega said that Tesorio’s distinction is its “focus on simplicity and the technology behind our solution.”
“Our objective is to deliver the benefits of advanced mathematics, economics and statistics tools to our clients so that they don’t even know they’re using them,” he wrote in an email.
Tesorio aims to work with companies that have hundreds to thousands of vendors, said Vega, who completed the Wharton MBA program last spring. They’re currently in talks with a large player in the local healthcare space, which Vega declined to disclose.
The startup makes a percentage of a customer’s savings, Vega said, but the set amount isn’t defined yet. He declined to disclose if Yards was a paying customer. He landed that customer in part because of the Wharton connection: Yards COO Trevor Prichett graduated from the Wharton MBA program in 2006.
The Wharton alumni network has been invaluable, Vega said, and so has the Penn community. His team of three, including one intern, are all Penn students, including PennApps Fellows organizer and rising junior Fabio Fleitas. The team works out of Wharton’s 2401 Walnut Street summer incubator space.
Vega has funded the business between $50,000 and $100,000 and is considering raising a venture round, though he said his current focus is growing revenue and his team and hiring a CTO.
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