Inlet: Defining the Start-Up Revolution
Over the past few years, the term startup has gained more prominence than any other buzzword in the business world. It almost feels like a Bill Gates is being born every day and indeed there are Bill Gates types spearheading change across multiple industries. However, thebitter reality is that half of the startups with substantial investments fail by the time they reach the fifth year and only one third make it to the tenth year, reports the Small Business Association, a government agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
While examining the reasons behind the failure of startups, we have identified two critical factors that dismantle the dreams of being a disruptor in the market. First, there is little or no market for the products these companies have owing to a lack of product or market research. Maybe “because they have misjudged what customer need in order to change their processes and systems. Second, many startups go around the problem and fail to address the pain points that hinder customers from optimizing a particular service or product.
In a time where venture capitalists and innovators stare at the crisis helplessly, Inlet, a secure digital document delivery platform has set a benchmark for other startups by addressing a pain point that has not been addressed by any service provider or behemoths in the industry. Inlet aims to change the way consumers get and pay their bills. They are a B2B software platform that connects companies to consumers via major channels such as personal cloud storage apps and to nearly 60% of the banks and credit unions located in the U.S.
Through a single integration, companies can send eBills, statements and other important documents to the online destinations that their customers visit and trust the most. “Inlet’s mission is to help consumers go paperless and to bridge the innovation gap between billers and banks and the way their customers see, pay and organize their bills,” says Chuck Cordray, CEO, Inlet.
Having access to thousands of financial institutions across the U.S., reaching 26 million active online banking consumers, this New York based company also enhances eBill presentment to include marketing capabilities that improve customer engagement and expand the reach of the brand. It also allows billers to reduce customer support costs and drives consumers to lower cost payment channels. This ‘consumer-first’ mentality has not only helped Inlet build a coveted client portfolio but has also enabled them to establish strong relationships with cloud channel partners including: Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Drive, Evernote and Microsoft OneDrive.
A lot has been discussed about the growth-driven world economy and the level of success we have achieved through digitization. However, there has been little to no improvement when it comes to how billers and consumers interact every month -- sending and paying bills. Companies that comprehend this issue have had their hands tied – due to budget constraints and a lack of technical resources. This is where Inlet becomes a game changer by providing a single integration into all the biggest online destinations – taking the burden off of providers and allowing them the control and flexibility in building their omni-channel strategies.
Inlet’s online banking channel partners, FIS and Jack Henry, enablebrands to get paid faster and more efficiently and provide never-before-had marketing space for the individual brand. “This approach allows billers to elevate their overall customer experience furthering loyalty, up sell opportunities — ultimately forging stronger digital relationships with customers,” explains Cordray.
As CEO, Chuck Cordray has also devoted his time defining the culture of the organization, empowering his employees to feel responsible for the company’s success. This, in turn, has helped Inlet improve the operational side of the business and work towards a common goal—making digital communication between companies and customers better. “We subscribe to the HOLD philosophy – High Output, Low Drama – just get the work done. We believe that by creating a nurturing culture and investing in our employees, Inlet will benefit. Inlet is also unique since 80% of our employees work from home offices across the U.S. We depend on digital solutions and collaborative tools to communicate and be productive on a day-to-day basis,” delineates Cordray.
“Music was revolutionized by iTunes, TV and movies were changed by Netflix, travel reinvented by Uber and Airbnb – but what about a person’s daily habit and necessity of paying bills? That hasn’t changed in decades and digital innovation is passing it by at lightning speed. It’s safe to say that consumers are expecting and demanding flexibility, convenience and digital solutions from all their providers and if they don’t get it, they move on,”says Lolita Verny-Acosta, Director of Communications and Marketing, Inlet.
Inlet believes the answer is simple – consumers want to control their interaction with billers and they want to trust their online destinations so they can confidently consolidate their bills and statements and go paperless.
Determined to improve the end users’ experience by providing more robust, more interactive and less fragmented platforms, Chris Johnson, Vice President/General Manager, Inlet affirms, “we are going to change the way business and their customers communicate. We enable billers to offer their consumers choice and finally give them the confidence to turn off the paper”. The company going forward intends to expand the number of channels and bank/credit union sites across the country that have access to this new eBilling capability. “We are successfully working with Jack Henry Payment Solutions and FIS on enhancing their current eBilling capabilities. Also, there are so many more opportunities on the horizon that we are excited to announce in the coming months, so stay tuned,” concludes Johnson.
Quotes: Many startups go around the problem and fail to address the pain points that hinder customers from optimizing a particular service or product
Inlet’s mission is to help consumers go paperless and to bridge the innovation gap between billers and banks