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Comma to shut down in November


Payments app Comma will come to a full stop on 30 November following its acquisition by embedded finance provider Weavr.

17th Oct 2023
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In a statement, Comma founder Tom Beckenham said as part of its “commitment to embedded finance”, parent company Weavr does not deliver any of its financial solutions directly to customers. Therefore, the Comma app will close on 30 November 2023.

Founded by Beckenham in 2019, Comma developed an Open Banking-based integration that allowed accounting systems to embed payments into their solutions. Businesses, accountants and bookkeepers could use the tool to pay invoices and salaries to suppliers and staff, and make payments to multiple suppliers at once without manually keying in details or relying on corporate banking services.

After initial success targeting the growing demand for managing bulk payments online, the company had to scale back its ambitions in 2022. In an interview featured on the Connect Ventures Medium page, Beckenham referred to “extremely tough decisions” he had to make as the market turned, with the company having to pare back its workforce through redundancies.

“One mistake we made as we were fundraising was ramping up too quickly, assuming we had found product-market fit because we had really strong data points indicating we were there,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was still quite early traction, and our hypothesis turned out to be very different from reality.”

In March this year, Comma was acquired by embedded finance provider Weavr in a bid to bring Open Banking to the embedded finance space. London-based fintech Weavr offers API connections that allow businesses to embed banking products and payments into their platforms or mobile apps, potentially boosting revenues by making the purchase process easier.

Until the app’s closure, Comma’s customer support team will be available to answer any questions or concerns users may have. You can reach them at [email protected].

The statement also gave details of alternative payment providers Comma customers might want to investigate as alternatives, including Apron, Crezco, Nook and Telleroo.

Will accountants play the payments game?

Traditionally an underserved area in accounting technology, the past two years have seen an influx of bulk payment apps that link to leading online accounting platforms such as Xero, Sage, QuickBooks and FreeAgent.

On last year’s Tech Stack webinar about the latest fintech apps, accountant panellists referred to the growing client need for payment services. 

Businesses faced with staffing pressures and increasing overhead costs are frustrated at seeing hours of their time eaten up by manually logging into bank accounts to make multiple payments, and are turning to accounting firms for help. In turn, firms are seeking out technology that makes this process more efficient. 

Tech developers have attempted to surf this wave of interest, with payments specialist Apron recently raising £12m in new investment, Nook aiming to bring invoice processing, approvals and payments under one roof, and Pleo, World First, Crezco, Airwallex and Telleroo all garnering interest in their solutions.

However, it’s not all been plain sailing for software houses and their backers, with French payments firm Libeo cutting its losses and retreating back across the channel in June and now Comma closing down its app.

While investor belts are tightening and startup “runways” (the amount of time a business has to remain solvent, provided it doesn’t raise any additional funds) are shortening, business-to-business (B2B) payments are still a particular area of interest for investors. Apron’s founder and CEO Bogdan Uzbekov recently told AccountingWEB that investors are still in the market, they’re just a bit more discerning. 

“The good companies still get the attention,” said Uzbekov. “The trick is to be that good company.”

Whether Comma is an outlier in a growing space or the canary in the payments coalmine, remains to be seen, but as the recent cashflow forecasting tool boom and contraction has shown, the world of accounting technology rarely stands still for long.

Discover how the right payments tool could save you and your clients time and reduce errors by registering for our upcoming De-stacking and de-risking accounts payable webinar. The show will go live on Wednesday, 8 November at 11am. For more details or to register click here.

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