Ken Green admits collections isn’t the sexiest industry out there.
In fact, many consumers have negative associations with the industry, thanks to practices such as phoning debtors at their places of work and other aggressive tactics used by collections agencies.
Green, a Vista resident and CEO of payments startup ItsPayd, knows this firsthand. He has been in the commercial collections industry for about 20 years.
But it took a stint as CEO of a Temecula-based collection agency, a position to which he was promoted in 2013 from a sales role, to bring him to the realization that the industry was ripe for disruption.
Companies, Green said, often send accounts to collections after a standard amount of time. That’s without going through the time-consuming task of determining whether the contact information they have for the business or person who owes them is correct, and if it is, why the client isn’t meeting the financial obligations.
That means their requests for payment may not be reaching the customer, or that the company or person that owes them may be experiencing extenuating circumstances, such as a sick loved one or other calamity.
ItsPayd, Green’s company, is a platform for companies interested in maintaining their relationships with those customers and potentially getting paid the money they are owed. It facilitates companies reaching out to their customers who owe them via text and email, which are often more reliable methods for communication than snail mail or phone calls. Once the connection is made, the platform also allows the companies looking to get repaid to offer payment plans. The platform, Green said, it also a way to improve the customer experience for those who are behind on payments, making the situation a less stressful one through encouragement rather than what can often seem like harassment.
The firm, which was founded in 2015 and has four employees, has about 20 customers, among them companies that provide security services and businesses that rent musical instruments to students. Industries that see more value in the platform tend to be those that rely on recurring monthly income, and therefore have a significant incentive to keep good relationships with their customers. ItsPayd charges customers a monthly fee based on how many invoices they pursue through the platform.
Green said his firm is also experimenting with other ways to improve customers’ experiences with payments, such as mobile wallet technologies.
“Technology has leveled the playing field,” Green said, allowing small firms – such as his – to offer disruptive alternatives to services formerly only available through large corporations.