The idea for the app Klippa started out of my own annoyance: as a business owner, you have to be frugal with receipts or it will cost you money. But that's not really easy. An overflowing wallet, they fade or tear, and on top of that, entering them into the administration takes a lot of precious time. Klippa put an end to that: receipts could now be scanned and thus more easily processed. A good start, but far from the end of the road, according to Bart-Jan Maatman, CFO at Klippa and Digibon: "As far as we are concerned, there will soon be no more paper receipts anywhere in the Netherlands. And not in the rest of Europe either."
Step by step to digital
To accomplish that mission, the app Klippa alone is not enough. That's why Digibon was launched: a system that replaces paper receipts with a digital copy. Maatman: "This has to be done step by step, we noticed. Ideally, we would like to see receipts sent directly to the customer's smartphone. The customer then chooses the app in which to store the receipts, such as a banking app. This is already possible at Bunq - convenient for consumers because it allows them to keep all receipts and guarantees together, smart for business owners because they can link to an accounting package." Until this system is integrated everywhere, they are now working with QR codes on receipts or at the checkout. "Van der Valk has been using this functionality satisfactorily for some time. The QR code is scanned and the receipt appears in the smartphone."
Successful investment round
The win-win of the concept is in cost savings for the store or restaurant and service to the customer. "Printing out a paper receipt costs an average of one and a half cents. A digital receipt with us costs €0.01. And that's not to mention sustainability" Maatman said. The concept is enthusiastically received in the Netherlands and abroad, but adapting a POS system can be a challenge: "We prefer to choose direct integration with our software. With old cash registers, however, this is difficult. That's why we developed a box, about the size of a smartphone, which we place between the cash register and the receipt printer. With this, the old cash register becomes a smart cash register and we can serve the entire market. That makes us unique." In other words, the receipts revolution is coming, especially after Klippa raised an investment of €250,000 in July 2018.
"That was a nice and important step that allowed us to accelerate in development, but we learned right away to look further into the future. That's why we started discussions with Flinc to prepare for the next round of funding." Together they worked on the business plan and business case. "Then every aspect of the business comes along, very instructive. For example, we had notion of the competition, but had never really mapped it out in detail. That helps sharpen the positioning and teaches you to better understand what is really unique about the product," Maatman reflects. "Moreover, the network of Flinc and NOM is very valuable for start-up companies. We are still in contact and Flinc regularly suggests potential investors."
There is a lot in the pipeline in terms of new developments, as well as funding. Digibon is also very deliberately looking for strategic partners: "Of course money is needed to develop the system, marketing and sales. We have now grown from three part-time entrepreneurs to a team of eight people who devote themselves full-time to Digibon and Klippa. But knowledge of and contacts in the industries where we can be of value is indispensable. As far as we are concerned, there must also be a match in terms of content with an interested party. That takes us the furthest we have found."
Managing a rapidly growing company and moving it forward is no easy task. Although they look at it soberly at Digibon: "Of course we sometimes run into things that we had thought differently beforehand, that's part of the game. However, this can often be solved by continuing to communicate well with each other, combined with some common sense. That's how Groningen we are" laughs Maatman. "For the overall strategy we have a sounding board in the form of an Advisory Board. That works well because it keeps us on our toes and forces us to reflect. After all, quite a lot has come our way in a short time." The secret of Digibon's rapid success? Maatman: "Hard work, good listening and we very consciously choose to be present in the right places. There are many events for start-ups, after all, that's where valuable contacts also come to. Because there are so many, we are selective in exactly where we go. So out we go. That too is a bit of peasant sense perhaps."