Melbourne startup Gobbill seeks to eliminate rampant fraud in bogus bills while returning the precious resource of time to overburdened small business owners and consumers.
Gobbill users forward email bills to their @gobbill.com account and the cloud service checks for scams before making on-time payments. Users benefit by avoiding late fees, receiving on-time discounts and protecting their credit score.
After two years of development and testing, Gobbill launched in May 2017 with a free service to households and has patents in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the US.
Sponsored by Microsoft’s BizSpark program and located at Stone & Chalk’s Melbourne fintech hub, the entrant in this year’s CRN Impact Awards is also a partner of Stay Smart Online, a Commonwealth initiative to keep Australians safe in cyberspace.
CEO Shendon Ewans, who founded Gobbill with Quentin Marsh, said the bill-paying start-up was born of a mission to solve three problems in an ever-more hostile online environment:
- More businesses are emailing bills rather than posting
- Criminal email scams are rapidly rising
- Consumers want more control over when and whom they pay.
While householders access it for free, Gobbill is integrated with Xero for SMBs.
A key innovation is Gobbill’s ability to extract “text in the wild” from images, Ewans says.
“This enabled Gobbill to extend the degree of automation from digitising email bills including photos, checking for fraud and paying bills on time,” Ewans says. Gobbill has patents for extracting text for bill payments using deep learning systems, and processing to pay bills delivered on email.
Gobbill says these cover data extraction combining optical character recognition engines and deep learning (or neural networks) computer algorithms to achieve a high level of accuracy in text recognition from bills – including identifying fraudulent bills.
So far, consumers seem to like it.
“Looking after patients and running a medical practice is full-on. I used to send hours each week staying on top of the books, checking and paying invoices,” says Paul O’Keefe, an osteopath and Premier Health Partners medical practice owner.
“Then one of my patients got me on to Gobbill. It draws out all your invoice insights, checks for fake bills and pays direct from your credit card. It also works in with our Xero software. Gobbill has given me back heaps of time so I can focus on my business.”
Separated from her office base by travel commitments, Susie Sheldrick, founder of virtual tourism start-up BonVR, said she likes the financial control Gobbill affords her.
“It can be a hassle managing my bills,” Sheldrick says. “Gobbill protects me against email bill scams. At any time, I jump online to stop or change payments.”
The ATO issued a private ruling for Gobbill stating: “Gobbill’s email bill innovation is the first holistic product that provides end-to-end processing using a digital service platform that includes the detection of fraudulent bills. It has been identified as having a wider global addressable market.”
And while Gobbill is initially going direct to consumer, it’s evaluating partnership with infomediaries, banks and payment providers, it says. Licensing of its intellectual properties in foreign jurisdictions is another potential revenue stream.
Gobbill is a finalist in the 'Emerging Innovator' category in the 2018 CRN Impact Awards. For a list of all finalists and further details on the awards, please head to the CRN Impact Awards hub. The awards take place during the CRN Pipeline conference. You can get more information and purchase tickets here.