Norma | June 24, 2022
Norma, an all-in-one banking, accounting, and business services platform, has seen interest from members early on with more than 2000 small business pre-registrations for its services. Norma moved from its closed beta to public launch in Turkey and is quickly onboarding small businesses on its list while also acquiring new members. Norma wants to onboard thousands of small businesses in the country before the year end and collect feedback from them to release new features to enhance and automate their financial experience.
Norma completed two successful fundraising rounds within the span of one year; a $350k pre-seed round from various angel investors in Turkey and a seed round of $1,8m led by Global Founders Capital, and joined by MSA Novo, Finberg, D4 Ventures.
The founder Hakan Gonca, a seasoned executive in the Fintech space, is excited about the product release and explains why Turkey is the right place to launch, emphasizing on the crucial role Norma will play in the lives of SMBs and freelancers. Norma wants to build an internationally impactful company, while partnering with globally recognized brands and bringing customer-oriented solutions for small businesses to increase their visibility in the banking system, and to support their financial efficiency.
“All around the world, banking is focused on individual users and the needs of large companies, while ignoring small businesses that need these products the most. Moreover, the products offered to these businesses come with no advantages in terms of segmentation or pricing. Norma offers a next-generation experience by focusing on the needs of these businesses while creating a community where members can learn from each other as well. Norma distinguishes itself from the traditional banking approach by combining all company finance and accounting information on a single platform, while expanding the scope of banking services offered to these businesses. The interest international investors has given us even further assurance that we will make a great deal of difference in banking for small businesses with our customer-oriented vision. Norma is keen to become a multi-regional player and grow both in Turkey and new markets.”
FreshBooks | May 26, 2022
FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting software provider, announced that it is expanding its invoicing software offering to meet the needs of New Zealand small businesses. This includes the creation of a new starter plan and competitive pricing packages with unique pricing, set in NZ currency.
“FreshBooks recognizes the depth and breadth of small businesses across New Zealand. We’re excited to help local owners impress their clients and get paid faster with our competitive new starter plan and invoicing software, FreshBooks is listening to the passionate small business owners in New Zealand by making it easier for them to digitize their invoicing.”
-Dragana Ljubisavljevic, SVP of International Markets at FreshBooks
The expansion in New Zealand arrives as small business owners look for invoicing software that is intuitive and simple to use. FreshBooks is different because it’s built exclusively for small businesses, making it easier to stay on top of invoicing. The company’s new starter plan in New Zealand lets businesses:
Send 2 invoices per month to up to 2 clients
Collect online payments without invoicing
Track unlimited expenses
Get paid with credit cards via Stripe & PayPal
Access their account from anywhere on iOS and Android devices
All pricing packages are being offered at new competitive rates.
The expansion in New Zealand builds on FreshBooks securing $130M in funding, bringing its valuation to over USD $1 Billion. With a mission to reach more customers in more countries around the world, FreshBooks also acquired German-based FastBill to strengthen global expansion plans.
Learn more about FreshBooks here.
FreshBooks is changing the way business owners manage their books. Its owner-first accounting platform, loved by businesses in over 160 countries, takes an easy-to-use approach to managing finances, billing, payments, and client engagement. FreshBooks, known for its 10x Stevie award-winning customer support, serves customers of all sizes from offices in Canada, Croatia, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, and the US.
Vodafone Business | February 04, 2022
Vodafone Business and RingCentral Inc., a leading provider of global enterprise cloud communications, video meetings, collaboration, and contact centre solutions, today unveiled ‘Vodafone Business UC with RingCentral,’ a powerful new communications platform that brings together RingCentral’s flagship offering RingCentral Message Video Phone™ (MVP™) with Vodafone’s mobility and 5G capabilities to give customers more choice, flexibility, and simplicity when it comes to workforce collaboration and remote working. Vodafone Business UC with RingCentral will be rolled out in the UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, and Sweden.
The way people work and collaborate has changed. There is an increased focus on enabling people to work from anywhere. To support hybrid work, companies need a secure, reliable, and flexible cloud communications platform.
Bringing together Vodafone Business’ mobile first approach, global brand, reach, and scale with RingCentral’s deep Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) expertise, Vodafone Business UC with RingCentral combines all preferred modes of communication including team messaging, video meetings, and cloud phone into a single intuitive app that is accessible on any device, anywhere.
“As businesses adapt to a disruptive and changing environment, they need to become more automated and agile in their way of working. Bringing technologies together that work in sync, connecting people, processes and information for faster decision making, will be critical. Vodafone is committed to supporting the digital journeys of companies big and small, so we’re pleased to be working with RingCentral to support this move and help organisations become fit for the future.”
Giorgio Migliarina, products and services director at Vodafone Business
Providing businesses with an effective way to move their existing legacy infrastructure to the cloud, the platform is highly secure and robust and offers an expanded portfolio of next generation unified communication and collaboration capabilities including team messaging, HD video meetings, and calling.
Homayoun Razavi, Chief Business Development Officer at RingCentral said: “Enterprises today have growing global communications needs to meet the ever-evolving demands of their mobile and distributed workforce—from servicing global customers to expanding their global talent pool. Combining RingCentral’s industry-leading cloud communications with Vodafone’s leadership in mobility, 5G, and international connectivity unlocks new ways for companies to grow and run their businesses. Our open platforms and joint innovation are paving new paths to productivity and engagement around the world.”
All features can be run standalone or integrated with various business applications, including Microsoft 365, leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Helpdesk services – ensuring everything works in sync.
In addition, Vodafone Business UC with RingCentral includes real-time and historic analytics, extensive call management, and team collaboration and task management capabilities, which will be available to larger businesses. Vodafone Business plans to expand the platform to smaller businesses in the UK and Germany soon.
Unique in its scale as the largest pan-European and African technology communications company, Vodafone transforms the way we live and work through its innovation, technology, connectivity, platforms, products, and services. Vodafone operates mobile and fixed networks in 21 countries, and partners with mobile networks in 52 more. As of 31 December 2021, we had over 300m mobile customers, more than 28m fixed broadband customers and over 22m TV customers.
Vodafone is a world leader in the Internet of Things (IoT), connecting more than 142m devices and platforms through innovation that aligns with the aspirations of society for cleaner and safer cities, better transport, and improved agriculture. Vodafone’s digital leadership is also changing how governments deliver healthcare and education, and how businesses, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), serve customers.
We have revolutionised fintech in Africa through M-Pesa, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2022. It is the region’s largest fintech platform, providing access to financial services for more than 51m people in a secure, affordable, and convenient way.
Our purpose is to connect for a better future, enabling an inclusive and sustainable digital society. We are taking significant steps to reduce our impact on our planet by becoming net zero by 2040, purchasing 100% of our electricity from renewable sources in Europe and across our entire operations by 2025, and reusing, reselling or recycling 100% of our redundant network equipment. Vodafone proactively works to expand access to connectivity for rural communities, students, and jobseekers. For more than 30 years, Vodafone’s Foundation has supported communities in Europe and Africa in the areas of health, education, and equality.
We support diversity and inclusion through our maternity and parental leave policies, empowering women through connectivity and improving access to education and digital skills for women, girls, and society at large. We are respectful of all individuals, irrespective of race, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, belief, culture, or religion.
RingCentral, Inc. is a leading provider of cloud Message Video Phone™ (MVP™), customer engagement and contact centre solutions for businesses worldwide. More flexible and cost-effective than legacy on-premise PBX and video conferencing systems that it replaces, RingCentral empowers modern mobile and distributed workforces to communicate, collaborate, and connect via any mode, any device, and any location. RingCentral’s open platform integrates with leading third-party business applications and enables customers to easily customise business workflows. RingCentral is headquartered in Belmont, California, and has offices around the world.
Tingo Inc. | January 13, 2022
One of the most important advantages of the internet is making the world a global village. This has revolutionized how people learn, work, buy and sell, love, and experience things with others. While businesses of all sizes are already leveraging the many advantages, many are still left out or not exploring it to its full potential.
A new online portal, the Integrated Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise (iMSME) ecosystem is being developed to close this gap.
iMSME will be a portal open to businesses of all sizes, with a focus on SMEs, designed to facilitate communication among businesses and to build relationships with potential partners, clients and customers.
The portal is a product of a partnership endeavor between business solutions company, ITScope Consulting, a technology and communications company, Tingo Inc., the parent company of Tingo Mobile PLC, Africa’s leading agri-fintech company, and the federal government of Nigeria through the Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), an establishment charged with the responsibility of stimulating, monitoring and coordinating the development of the micro, small and medium enterprises sub-sector.
"The iMSME portal will foster economic growth and development of all micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria when deployed. I urged MSMEs to leverage the portal to grow their businesses. The iMSME portal is a real-time integrated ICT platform designed to provide a digital solution to most of the problems faced by MSMEs in Nigeria."
– Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, Director General SMEDAN
This portal is expected to make business processes more intuitive and enable businesses of all sizes to benefit from a growing ecosystem.
“The iMSME portal in conjunction with SMEDAN is the sustainable catalyst that will transform the entire hitherto unorganized informal sector in Nigeria, which makes up 50% of our GDP, into a functional ecosystem that opens talented indigenous entrepreneurs to efficient, affordable online business development services, enhance logistics support for small businesses and increase access to markets not just within Nigeria but regionally and across Africa.” – Obinna Amuchienwa, Chairman
ITScope Consulting will be serving as the central clearinghouse for verified businesses operating in Nigeria, which will be registered on the portal, and Tingo, Inc. will serve as a technology partner.
“We are delighted to work with SMEDAN and ITScope to deliver this important platform, which will assist in delivering increased and sustainable economic growth in Nigeria and across Africa.
“When I started my business over 20 years ago, some of the biggest challenges I faced were identifying and connecting with the best partners to deliver strategic goals and to efficiently engage with these partners and customers on a day-to-day basis.
The iMSME portal allows entrepreneurs and business of all sizes to connect, engage and do business. This increase in efficiency will lead to a more prosperous economy for Nigeria and across Africa as the platform grows.
This partnership highlights our commitment to fostering a sustainable, digitally led economy that supports entrepreneurs and business across Africa.” – Dozy Mmobuosi, CEO Tingo, Inc.
The portal aims to revolutionize many of the processes of businesses of all sizes and across multiple sectors of the economy. A key feature of the portal is MyQ, an appointment scheduling system that allows businesses autonomy to control how partners and clients book appointments, thereby reducing cost while also increasing efficiency. Another feature that will do this is i-Chatbot, which allows businesses to automate the customer contact matrix, at a fraction of the cost of employing support staff, providing fast and business-specific answers to frequently asked questions.
There will also be an e-Wallet to serve as escrow to protect both buyers and sellers on the platform. This is in addition to microloans and grants that can be electronically set to allow only pre-approved payments. The vision is to create an effective payment management system for these businesses. This will be delivered by Tingo, which already operates a mobile wallet, Tingo Pay, used by over nine million customers.
One use case envisioned by Tingo is to facilitate a connection and communication between a wheat farmer, flour mill and baker, enabling them to easily discover each other, place orders, make payments, insure the transaction and complete logistics, all verified and guaranteed via the central clearing authority.
“With iMSME, we intend to use technology in driving economics of scale to reduce costs for our MSME partners, thereby allowing us to achieve key goals of the SMEDAN mandate:
Promoting and facilitating development programs, instruments and support services to accelerate the development and modernization of MSME operations.
Serving as vanguard for rural industrialization, poverty reduction, job creation and enhanced livelihoods.
Linking MSMEs to internal and external sources of finance, appropriate technology, technical skills as well as to large enterprises.” – Ajibola Edwards, Director ITScope
Through the portal, businesses can curate targeted advertising of products and services to drive awareness and increase sales. iMSME users will also benefit from several other features – more than connecting with customers, clients and other businesses on the portal, they will also have access to business services like CAC registration, Tax Identification Number registration, Group Insurance, Pension Management, and even access to a digital support suite that can help small businesses scale tech support.
iMSME is bringing over 2.5m verified business under a central repository with the potential to fully onboard 41m businesses over the lifetime of the ten-year agreement.