Founded in 2020 by ex-Grab employees Ajay Bulusu, Gaurav Bubna and Shaolin Zheng, NextBillion.ai is an industry-leading spatial data + AI platform. It offers a wide range of mapping APIs and SDKs, tools, and industry-specific solutions to its customers across the globe. With customers across APAC, the US, Europe and Africa, the decentralised map data platform will continue to expand its presence globally.
In the past, NextBillion.ai had to grapple with manual processes to manage their barrage of bill payments. Employees had to manually enter the description of the invoice on a spreadsheet. The finance team would then verify each entry individually and perform multiple checks before they could approve it.
Inevitably, this took up a lot of time to process company-wide bills from start to finish. On top of that, manual uploads tend to be more susceptible to errors, adding to the pain points of both the finance team who had to verify each bill
NextBillion.ai comprises close to 100 team members across the region, namely India, China and Singapore. To facilitate payments for their internationally diverse team, they sought to open an SGD and USD account. However, they found that opening those accounts required them to pay additional fees and maintain substantial minimum balances that were not feasible in the long run.
This brought them to a major turning point. The company was reaching a critical stage where they were looking to expand to more countries. Thus, they knew they needed a more scalable solution that was able to support them no matter where they were based next.
At the time, it was clear that they were floundering in cumbersome manual-based processing. This made it difficult for them to stay on top of key processes, including:
Because of a lack of automation in these core functions, NextBillion.ai needed to dedicate significant time and resources to maintain their payable management system.
“Aspire gave our team the flexibility to make their own purchasing decisions that were otherwise impossible with a more conventional banking solution. We issued more cards across our departments and saw how it rapidly improved our processes. Spreadsheets are no longer a tool we rely on as our employees could submit bills on the go. It’s been great!”
Ajay Bulusu, co-founder NextBillion.ai
Fresh off their $21 million Series B funding round, the NextBillion.ai team had to find ways to optimise their workflows. They knew they needed an automation boost when it came to their payables processes. As their team grew larger, so did their spending needs and volume of transactions in SGD and USD currencies.
Turning to Aspire allowed the team to automate their entire accounts payables process, open accounts in multiple currencies and issue as many cards as they needed to help them streamline their business finance.
Here’s how they did it.
With Aspire’s Billpay, their accounts payables processes saw a stark improvement. No longer did they have to manually input invoice descriptions in scattered spreadsheets that could otherwise be hard to trace or prone to error. Employees simply had to upload a photo of the bill to submit it for approval.
On the finance team’s end, they’re able to approve and easily disburse thousands of invoices in one go. With Aspire, the team also leveraged visibility in real-time, allowing them to better understand how much money was being spent across their departments.
NextBillion.ai found a cure for their regional needs with Aspire’s multicurrency capabilities. An Aspire business account allows them to hold, send and receive transfers in USD and SGD with low, transparent fees. They could also achieve higher cost savings as they’re able to enjoy free domestic transfers. Additionally, Aspire’s Advance Limit allows NextBillion.ai to spend on credit, providing some much needed flexibility to their finance operations.
Spending less on FX gave them a cash flow advantage as they could then funnel their savings into other spending categories that require a higher limit. The high-level spend-tracking at their disposal has been essential for high-growth companies like NextBillion.ai一all through a single Aspire login. That was the power of Aspire’s integrated dashboard.
By leveraging Aspire’s Payable Management system, NextBillion.ai has succeeded in integrating their payables workflow into an optimised and easy-to-use system.
With Aspire Payables management solution, it’s super easy for the entire team to submit bills. Once submitted, bills can be approved by the relevant stakeholders on the website or app. As soon as they’re approved, a transaction is created too. Once the transaction is approved, the payout is done automatically. This is a super efficient way of processing payables. Aspire also allows NextBillion.ai to track which payments have been paid, are pending payment or upcoming. This gives them a clear view of payments. Needless to say, all of these details are synced with their accounting software.
Aspire is a complete payables system for NextBillion.ai. One that has transformed their finance team’s workflow, and made them more efficient.
For NextBillion.ai’s finance team, the reduction in resource requirements has allowed them to dedicate more time towards high-growth initiatives important to any startup.
“Since day one, onboarding Aspire has given us an edge as it ensures that nothing falls through the cracks with intuitively designed, automated tools. Our team loves Billpay as it really packs a punch on how we submit bills and disburse payments in one go. We’re excited to see how Aspire’s finance stack can continue to support our growing needs as we expand further in the region.”
Gaurav Bubna , co-founder NextBillion.ai