On-Stage Interview by Armin Häberle, Member of the Executive Board of F.A.Z. Business Media, with Markus Rupprecht, CEO of Traxpay. This event took place to mark the occasion of the Treasury of the Year Award at this year’s Structured FINANCE. The discussion centered around key trends in treasury and finance such as sustainability in the supply chain.
Armin Häberle: What have been the key trends in treasury over the last year and a half?
Markus Rupprecht: Treasury covers a large range of topics and Supply Chain Finance is only one of them. However, as CEO of Traxpay, I can confirm that we see corporates using ever fewer bank-specific, mono-bank programs, because clients – given the option – no longer want to rely on just one bank. This is not because enterprises don’t want to work or cooperate with key providers, but because they want to reserve the right to change banks in the future. Freedom of choice is why many companies are moving to non-bank, neutral platforms such as Traxpay. Another trend that we have observed has to do with the topic of ESG becoming increasingly important. There is a growing awareness, across the board, that we need to tackle the topic of sustainability. Some parts of treasury are farther along today than others, but we can clearly see that changes in sustainability levels can be influenced. We feel that Supply Chain Finance is a real lever to incentivize ESG compliant behavior and that the Traxpay platform can support this important goal.
Häberle: How can companies handle the ESG topic in the supply chain via a platform?
Rupprecht: The big question is how to help your suppliers to actually become sustainable. On the one hand, you could agree to only onboard companies who already meet stringent criteria. But I would argue, that this is actually counterproductive. It’s a little like raising children… we know that we achieve more by working with rewards rather than sanctions and punishment. One of the reasons that, among others, EcoVadis is particularly keen on working with Traxpay is that they feel that incentives can move suppliers onto a path to sustainability. It is clear that not every company can be ESG-ready from the beginning, but if there are rewards for getting there, the journey may be both quicker and easier.
Häberle: Traxpay as a platform is a typical start-up that probably burns cash as it grows. How does Traxpay manage its own liquidity?
Rupprecht: We have a few family offices that are huge supporters and who stand behind us. They very much believe in what we are doing. Deutsche Bank now also has a small stake in Traxpay as well as a vested interest in our continuing success. I thus feel very comfortable with our present funding and shareholder structure.