Tradeshift bags the NHS as a customer for its free e-invoicing, details emerge

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Tradeshift, the free invoicing platform and wider play to become a social network for business, is to provide e-invoicing services to 6,000 suppliers of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

Although the NHS was already known to be a Tradeshift user, it’s only now that details of the tie-in have emerged, while suppliers to the NHS via Anglia Support Partnership (ASP), the leading shared service provider to the NHS in the east of England, will be told of the initiative this week. Under the arrangement they’ll be asked to start using Tradeshift, which offers a free way to submit invoices electronically and monitor their progress, as the mechanism for which to invoice ASP with the carrot of speedier payments in return.

That’s because there is a guarantee that invoices will be accepted or rejected within five working days so it’s potentially quite an attractive proposition especially for smaller suppliers who may have less capacity in their cash flow. That’s the pitch anyway.

In terms of what ASP gets from using Tradeshift’s e-invoicing service, it’s said to reduce the cost of processing the 425,000 invoices it deals with each year. This is based on the fact that invoices are submitted in a chaotic mix of physical and electronic formats, which have to be manually scanned. The benefits of streamlining this through one online system are obvious.

But of course, Tradeshift, which has been dubbed “Skype for invoicing” based on its disruptive potential also offers business social networking features as well as its own app store and it’s here where the startup aims to make money. Companies are able to connect to customers, leave comments, make changes to documents, and request credit notes. Tradeshift offers additional business applications where organisations can find apps to help extend a company’s business processes “such as purchase orders and quotes.”

The company is well funded too. Back in May, Tradeshift raised a $7m round from Notion Capital. This was after reports that the Denmark and London, UK-based startup was rumoured to be courting VC funding at an $80-100 million valuation after scoring angel investment from former MySQL CEO Mårten Mickos and founding investor in Last.fm Stefan Glaenzer. PayPal, which is integrated into the platform, is also thought to be an investor.