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This Week in B2B Innovation: Embedded Experiences, AI and Leverage

Digital is a one-way street. And that street is being populated by B2B firms who aren’t looking back after embracing digital innovation to both compete in new markets while at the same time transform their existing commercial relationships.

This digital shift is fostering a more agile and responsive business environment, where data-driven decision-making is paramount. It is also driving a cultural shift within organizations as they adopt a more collaborative, innovative and flexible mindset to unlock change-driven growth opportunities.

The top themes PYMNTS heard this week were about embedded innovations, unlocking operational leverage with artificial intelligence (AI), small business transformations, and moving processes from analogue and manual to automated and digital.

Embedded Solutions

A surge of embedded digital solutions are challenging the incumbent ways of doing things, from B2B payments to treasury management and beyond.

Embedded payments technology company VoPay on Wednesday (May 29) debuted a digital transaction and cash management platform. Dubbed TXB, the platform is designed to help banks and credit unions launch “API-first transaction banking and cash management services.”

TXB also offers real-time liquidity management, automating important treasury functions for enhanced efficiency. It also integrates business banking capabilities into products, and offers real-time account ledger tracking.

Nue also on Wednesday launched a platform that unifies configure, price and quote (CPQ) and billing, and accelerates finance operations across every B2B model. The new Everything Billing product brings together direct sales and product-led growth, subscription- and usage-based pricing, and bundling across software, physical goods and services, the company said.

And API-driven innovation is transforming the B2B space — as PYMNTS dissected Monday (May 27). API technology can help enable seamless integration between separate systems and platforms, leading to automated data exchange, streamlined processes and enhanced interoperability without requiring a total revamp of accounting infrastructure.

Of course, vendor risk mitigation and governance is a must for any business. That’s why on Thursday (May 30) we looked into the reasons why the story of banking-as-a-service provider Synapse’s collapse is a B2B story, one with commercial relationships at its center.

Former Synapse customer Relay announced Wednesday it had raised $32.2 million in a Series B financing round to accelerate product development of its business banking platform.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS on Wednesday also unpacked how Tuesday’s (May 28) T+1 settlement implementation for capital markets could add pressure for financial institutions to automate and modernize their core infrastructure, which could prove to be a boon for B2B payments.

Still, as Jay Dearborn, chief strategy officer at WEX, told PYMNTS that same Tuesday, bringing B2B payments fully into the digital age will require a global platform with three elements — payments, data and software — working concurrently to help simplify commercial transactions.

Unlocking Leverage

Leveraging AI across B2B operations to enhance efficiency, accuracy and strategic decision-making is at the top of the agenda for many businesses, which is why PYMNTS unpacked some of the key use cases on Friday (May 24).

And the marketplace is responding with innovative tooling solutions that look to improve, augment, and optimize B2B processes.

Transcend has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round to continue growing its suite of privacy and AI governance solutions and now offers 12 products that help enterprises understand and manage personal data, privacy tasks, risks and AI systems.

Billtrust, a B2B order-to-cash and digital payments provider, also unveiled AI tools within its accounts receivable software platform on Thursday.

But AI isn’t the only buzzy innovation that could change B2B payments. New PYMNTS Intelligence finds that businesses can no longer afford the sluggish and costly burden of legacy cross-border payment systems — but blockchain could potentially deliver seamless efficiency in cross-border B2B payments.

Still, the report asks, can it surmount the challenge to transform ailing legacy rails?

Small Business Is a Big Market

There are three primary factors influencing the contemporary B2B landscape, Ben Weiner, senior vice president and global head of B2B Payments at Nuvei, told PYMNTS Thursday (May 30), citing prevailing high interest rates, the growth and challenges faced by small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and the increasing interest in alternative capital within the FinTech sector.

And the lack of access to capital to invest into their operations leaves SMBs unable to invest in innovations necessary to compete.

The PYMNTS Intelligence report “Small Business Real-Time Payments Barometer: Restaurants Edition” found that the number of restaurant SMBs now sending instant payments surpasses those that send checks or use ACH payments.

The lack of access to capital also leaves SMBs more vulnerable than their larger peers.

Visa Senior Vice President and Global Head of Risk and Identity Solutions James Mirfin and Jotform Head of Information Security Johannes Wiklund told PYMNTS that small businesses are particularly vulnerable to fraud and cyberscam attacks, and dissected the best practices to stay safe, in the latest installment of the Visa SMBTV series.

B2B Marketplace Moves

Financial Information Technologies (Fintech) acquired Nexxus Group to expand its B2B payment capabilities, per a Wednesday announcement.

Elavon and Woo partnered to facilitate online payments for SMBs in Europe.

Sunrate and Voxel partnered Tuesday on travel industry B2B solutions. With this collaboration, Sunrate’s virtual card issuing engine will join Voxel’s payment solution, Bavel Pay, with the Sunrate virtual credit cards.

Also on Tuesday, Ramp and Ascenda partnered to provide Ramp’s customers with more ways to redeem points earned on U.S. spend. With the collaboration, Ramp’s financial automation platform and corporate card will connect to Ascenda’s global rewards ecosystem.

And Brazilian bank Banco Inter, a business unit of Inter&Co, announced on Tuesday that it plans to acquire the remaining 50% of merchant acquirer Granito, giving it full ownership of the company. Granito, which provides financial services to more than 100,000 SMBs across Brazil, will be renamed Inter Pag.

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