Making cash flow.

SomeOne has created the strategic visual brand identity and launch communications for URICA, a new, radical, but common sense early payments platform that launches this April, funded and supported by the Governments department for Business Innovation & Skills and RSA, one of the worlds leading insurance groups.

‘A Business is only as strong as the relationships it has with it’s suppliers. Yet the payment terms that are often in place from larger organisations are crippling their smaller suppliers. Why should a design boutique wait 90 days for payment from a multinational? It’s an acute challenge in the creative industries that URICA addresses brilliantly.’ Says SomeOne founder, Simon Manchipp

We all know cash-flow is the No.1 killer for smaller companies. URICA has invented a way for these smaller groups to get paid when they want. Either in 30 days, or right away, by stepping in between the two of them and looking after the payment.

This means an supplier can now choose to get paid immediately rather than waiting months. No risk. No debt. No red-tape. Just pay a very small percentage of the invoice (around 2%) as a fee for the early payment and that’s it. The cash is in your account.

URICA is all about providing a common sense way to meet the cash flow needs of today’s smaller companies. Our core mission is to prove that URICA can unlock the massive growth potential of SMEs across the UK, but it is a new way of thinking and we needed SomeOne to come up with a striking brand identity that made people sit up and take notice that we are here, we are serious, and we really can change the way business is done in the UK. SomeOne got it immediately, and the team have delivered a truly innovative and effective campaigning style ‘look and feel’ that fits perfectly with what we were after. The team at SomeOne have delivered premier league results once again.‘ – Lindsay Whitelaw, CEO of URICA.

People are fed up with taking on debt with a bank where they could lose their home if things go wrong. URICA is a real moment of common sense clarity where business can be done on better terms, not 90 days.

Simon Fallon, Minister of State for Business & Enterprise says ‘This is not business as usual, this is strong and radical diversification to compliment the traditional, established forms of finance’

As a business, if you have suppliers, you need to look after them. If your suppliers go bust, it hurts your business. It makes sense to take simple steps to make sure they keep on keeping on, without hurting your own cashflow.

Lord Digby-Jones says that URICA is ‘A story about putting Britain back on its feet… It’s a new common sense solution that should be part of any business toolkit”.

As long as both parties sign up to the platform (and it’s a doddle to do) then you are able to use it. The supplier can choose when they want to use it, they are not tied in, and if they are happy to wait for some payments, then they can. If they want the cash quicker — then it’s there to do it.

‘URICA are here to help revive the British economy, to make a stance against existing systems. It’s a rally cry, a smart, risk-free way to help cash flow. We took inspiration from protester placards. The strategic visual identity’s embodies URICA’s restless attitude and vigorously supportive values. ’ says SomeOne’s lead designer on the project Helen Altoungarian.

SomeOne/Else worked side by side with SomeOne throughout the process to ensure all aspects of the brand connected seamlessly across screen based communications. ‘A visible part of the project was to create a fully responsive website that brought life to the bold identity defined by SomeOne across multiple devices. The site features some lovely scroll based animations, which provide a playful walkthrough of the URICA methodology. Where money is concerned there are always questions and the best way to deliver the concept, was to make it interactive.’ says SomeOne/Else Interaction Design Director Andy Moore.

Lindsay Whitelaw, CEO of Urica, writes:

Funding is the Achilles heel of the British economy and it’s a structural flaw we’ve accepted too long. That’s why a group of experienced business men and women have founded Urica with me to fund British business on better terms.

If small and medium-sized businesses can’t access finance they can’t grow. It’s a well-known dilemma, but as growth returns to the UK economy it’s necessary we solve it.

Lindsay WhitelawCEO, Urica

Since the financial crisis, policymakers and researchers have struggled to come up with a solution. The debate has focused on debt and whether or not banks are lending enough, or if businesses want to borrow.

We carried out a survey of 350 small UK businesses and found that 3 in 4 want early payment of invoices and would take a small discount to get it. But half of them would never ask their customers.

The survey also found:

• 75% of businesses expect to grow by more than 5% in the coming year.
• 66% of businesses don’t think their bank would support a loan application.
• 82% have suffered extended payment in the past three years.
• 49% of businesses said they wouldn’t need to borrow if their largest customer paid early.

As a result, we have launched an early-payments platform without the need for debt or factoring. Companies invite their suppliers onto it and suppliers choose when they get paid. The supplier can get paid immediately, while the customer gets up to 75 days (or 90 days for an international client) to settle. So the midsize company still gets free credit, but the small company gets paid early. The supplier agrees a small discount on the invoice for this service, typically £85 to £250 on a £10,000 invoice. And that’s it – a radical, but simple solution that also works internationally.

The system is simple to use – businesses connect and invoice electronically through the platform. When both parties agree the invoice, URICA pays the supplier early cash from the day after the invoice with no comebacks and no catches. And the customer settles with URICA up to 75 days after the invoice date. The result is a stronger supply chain for the customer and a stronger balance sheet for the supplier.

Lord Digby Jones, former minister for trade and investment, is an ambassador for the business and says, “Midsize companies have a real part to play in helping fund Britain’s growth and the way they can do that is by speeding up payments down the supply chain. But the challenge is these are conservative companies and they don’t need to release cash to their suppliers. This is a way for them to help smaller businesses without paying for it with their own cash flow.”

“Small business finance hasn’t changed in 50 years and, given the innovation that’s all around us in other industries, that just isn’t acceptable,” says Lindsay. “I did this because it’s something that needed to be done.”

This way, small businesses can get paid immediately. No 90-day payment terms. That means small businesses are less reliant on banks and debt. They’re more resilient and the entire supply chain is stronger, fuelling more opportunities for British exports and growth.