One more week in the hyperloop

As things move so fast — what mattered last week?

Louis and I started EHDA 20 months ago, at the speed of Elon Musk’s hyperloop. We had nothing to slow us. Quite frankly, at that time, I thought things would start fast but then would slow down a bit while the transformation would reach a greater part of the big EH organization. Instead, every week since we started, things accelerated: number of experiments, innovativeness of each experiment, number of innovators engaged with us to revolutionize trade finance, speed at which we create new products or improve existing products. And as things move so fast, I have been wondering, week after week — what mattered last week?

This post is an attempt to share what mattered last week, and to explain what we fight for, what matters for us, what progress makes us really proud, to step back on why we think we are building a better tomorrow.

So what mattered last week?

As a team designed to reinvent Trade Finance, the core of our job is to decrypt and understand the market shifts induced by new technologies, innovations in our industry, and behavioral evolutions, and to engineer new products, new concepts, new features that are relevant in tomorrow’s Trade Finance.

Last week, Louis and I got a demo of one of our most promising experiments currently incubated in our Innovation Lab, a concept that will fundamentally change the way SMEs get paid. Sorry I can’t name it for now, but will hopefully share you more details soon. This disruptive concept is derived from one of our longest research efforts and it is now taking shape extremely fast. The demo we saw is simply beautiful and the early market feedback is overwhelming. As innovators, it makes Louis and I happy, but there is more: the simple fact that this product is fundamentally good for SMEs, who are the most sensitive to payment delays, really matters for us: it will make B2B commerce better, a lot better, for many companies who dreadfully need it.

And besides this awesome experiment, 20+ other great experiments are happening at the moment, in the US, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, … The momentum of our Innovation Lab is fascinating. There is so much going on, and the effort to communicate about our experiments and our learnings is exponential. Louis and I are very happy that Caroline accepted to join the team as head of beautification: she will help us make our messages resonate across EH and the industry.

Beyond the experiments, the team ❤

The team dynamics are great too. Or, should I not be afraid to say, our team is awesome. We had our quarterly catch-up with the Innovation Lab on Friday. This is a session aimed at looking back and forward, and thinking together how to achieve even more, and have greater impact on EH, in the 3 months to come. Louis and I do this with each of our teams on a regular basis.

Each of our teams gets more and more visible too, in each of their specialty or geography, and this is great as it helps getting even more traction with innovators outside of our industry. Last week, Raphaël, who leads our Innovation Lab in the UK, was in the news. In particular, journalists wanted to understand why we made the UK one of our top priorities, and indeed despite the Brexit, we believe that a lot of the trade finance innovation will still happen there in the coming years.

Last week was also the end of one of our EH Talent Accelerator session — a program we designed with EH group HR to let anyone from EH work on an idea at the speed of a startup. This session lasted 5 weeks and allowed Jeanne to focus entirely on her idea, going much further into cracking the business case than she would ever been able to while managing her job. Jeanne loved participating and learnt a lot — which is what counts the most for me. But she also designed a very promising MVP. I can’t wait to see what this will become in the weeks to come!

Happy clients

Least week (what a week!!) was also a great week for our star product, Single Invoice Cover. It is about to launch in a new country, and the API got twice as fast as it used to be, thanks to a great joint effort by EH IT teams and our EHDA developers. We were looking for a game-changing architecture to offer a true real-time experience to our clients, and despite many uncertainties and a lot of pressure on timing, EH IT took the challenge with us. It feels really good when we are able to create such a motivating context, and it leads to amazing progress.

Finally, last week also saw EHDA make promising progress on a research we are currently conducting on legal structures. We are taking the same approach as we did for our technology and our product — starting from a blank sheet of paper, and trying to design something that really works well for the end user, without compromise. This time we are doing it with legal structures, to make it even easier to work with credit insurance. It did not imagine I would ever be interested in legal stuff, but innovating in this space is hard, and exciting! And maybe we just found the set-up of the future for credit insurance, which is not a bad way of ending the week!

I hope you had a great week too!

Best, Christophe