Open Innovation Delivers Bot Technology Solution for Business
The development of a bot technology to guide small businesses away from paper checks toward digitization.
Hermyz, United States
For small businesses the job of keeping the books up to date and tracking payments can be onerous and a huge time drag. Time spent on paperwork could be time spent on running other parts of their business and generating revenue. To make the process a lot easier a company called Hermyz developed a bot technology that enables small businesses to easily manage and pay invoices using the Visa Direct API. This innovation was the winner of the inaugural Small Business Hackathon organized by U.S Bank and Visa. The open innovation contest sought ideas on how to change for the better the way small businesses operate.
A total of 65 app developers, business owners and entrepreneurs competed to design digital tools that would “help small business owners address day-to-day financial elements of running a small business, such as access to business solutions, optimizing cash flow, building and accessing business credit and making payments efficiently.”
To help contest participants generate and develop their ideas they were given access to APIs from the U.S. government and the Visa Developer Platform’s new Small Business API Filter.
Making Life Easier for Small Business Owners
Hermyz picked up a check for $10,000 for their winning idea. They got their inspiration from Slack, a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services. They discovered that six million people use the service daily but its payment tools aren’t customized for small business owners. So, they built a bot that allows them to easily track and pay their invoices with very simple Slack commands. It accelerates supplier payments while maintaining security and can help businesses move away from checks and paper receipts because everything can be done online. The concept impressed Visa.
In a press release that announced the winners of the open innovation contest Visa commented that the bot technology that Hermyz has developed could potentially save small business owners the hassle of dealing with paper when handling invoices.
The next stage for the winners is to work on making their bot technology solution as practical as possible. This is going to include connecting it to Google Sheets so that business owners won't have to manually input their invoices. They will also be working on some filtering functionalities so that when companies have amassed lots of invoices online they will be easily searchable by specific criteria such as due date, payment status and vendor.
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