SA fintech startup Revio set for continental expansion as it powers SaaS businesses

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South African fintech startup Revio, a subscription billing and payments platform that powers software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses, is planning expansion into other African markets soon.

Co-founded in 2019 by venture builder The Delta and a private investor, Revio is a SaaS company that powers growing or scaling e-commerce and subscription-based businesses.

In its simplest form, Revio provides recurring billing automation, sending of electronic invoices, accepting of any payment method, and reconciling with ease. The startup is led by Louis Buys, chief executive officer (CEO) of The Delta and one of the initial co-founders of South African fintech startups Revix and Karri Payments.

He says Revio takes billing and payments to the next level through its use of real-time customer payment analytics and machine learning to proactively identify and manage customer churn, while it also uses reward mechanisms to build customer loyalty and pre-approves merchants for access to growth capital.

“While providing customers with the payment methods they expect is important, there is more to collecting recurring revenue on an ongoing basis, especially in a market where more than 75 per cent of consumers have at least one account in arrears,” Buys said.

“In South Africa there are numerous banks, fintechs and card payment providers that allow businesses to accept payments in every shape and form, however, very few assist businesses to resolve their real pain-points, which is failed payments, customer churn and loyalty.”

Revio has been designed with this in mind. Through clever use of machine learning and analytics, it enables businesses to connect with customers in real-time. 

“Our no-code architecture means that engagement strategies can be set up on the fly to proactively reach out to customers at risk of churn, automate customer arrears management, reward customers and even drive cross-sell and up-sell campaigns,” said Buys.

The startup raised a US$1 million seed funding round at the time of its launch, and given its contracted client pipeline is expected to operationally break even in Q2 of 2022.

“In a very short time Revio has been able to contract with many middle SMEs looking to scale their e-commerce and subscription offerings, as well as larger businesses in the insurance, private security and VAS industries looking to centralise billing and reconciliation across brands in one platform,” said Buys.

“Very interesting, however, is the surge in other SaaS companies looking to integrate billing and payments capabilities via API. Many more savvy businesses are looking to source no-core capabilities to support their overall business offerings. Revio is also white-label-enabled and we are working with non-traditional financial services players to target specific sectors.”

Currently focused on the South African market, Revio will be expanding to other African countries in support of multinational clients towards the end of 2021. The plan is to formally launch in East Africa in 2022.

Part of its appeal, Buys says, is its simplicity, especially when it comes to pricing.

“In the industry we have seen many providers aggregating bank or card tech that have complicated and expensive pricing structures to deal with inefficiencies in their platforms and operations,” he said.

“With Revio we wanted to simplify pricing. Potential clients are able to sign-up online for free, integrate and test, and when they are ready, request to have their profile and payment methods set to live. Revio has a volume-based tiered pricing model. No monthly or onboarding charges apply. Revio has also pre-negotiated the best card, bank and alternative payment method pricing.”

While the platform has seen significant growth in the middle-SME segment, the majority of revenue generated at this stage is through mid-to-large corporates. 

“For larger businesses, legacy technology architecture remains a challenge for integration. With Revio however, we have been able to overcome this by providing the platform standalone, have businesses test the capability whilst integration is on-going, and migrate to the fully integrated solution when ready,” said Buys.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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