In the sixth year of building his international culinary events enterprise, EzTix founder and CEO Jeremy Mitchell hit a wall.
His firm was operating successfully in North America and the U.K. but he was spending 75 percent of his time dealing with complicated cross-border payments to partners overseas.
He knew that spending three-quarters of his day on international payments was not a productive use of time – or a way to run a business that was built for global growth.
“Hiring a small army of staff to build banking relationships in a whole host of foreign countries was a non-starter,” says Jeremy. “It came down to either continually struggling to facilitate crucial transactions, or finding a new way to handle cross-border payments that didn’t require local accounts.”
Around this time, Jeremy saw an advertisement for HSBC which got him thinking about the bank’s international presence. He reached out to see if it could solve his international payments problem.
HSBC was at that time promoting its Global Disbursements tool, combining FX and payments services into one seamless process to enable cross-border payments in more than 130 currencies from a single operating account.
Jeremy realized Global Disbursements could open up the world for EzTix, saving him time and money by consolidating payments, streamlining reconciliation and gaining control over cash flows.
“From day one I started strategizing on what other countries and markets we could take on as a result of that product,” explains Jeremy.
HSBC has been key to EzTix expanding its global presence to a point today where it operates in nearly 30 countries. Since signing on with Global Disbursements, EzTix has deployed its all-in-one ticketing solution to a variety of businesses within the culinary and tourism industries across South America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East.
“Those markets are all great tourist destinations,” says Jeremy, “but we flat out couldn’t be in any of those countries without Global Disbursements.”
The solution has brought other benefits. Beyond the greater efficiencies that allow EzTix to send 18 different currencies to anywhere in the world, the new system makes it easier to optimize FX rates. EzTix now has a pre-negotiated fixed rate where the actual exchange rate fluctuates but the margins on it are pre-negotiated.
However, as Jeremy points out, Global Disbursements is about more than saving money. It’s about driving additional revenue in markets that were previously unavailable to EzTix.
Such markets include Cambodia, where the company is routinely spending around CAD10 on a weekly payments that would cost up to CAD50 per transaction on a traditional wire payment.
“Having a fixed, predictable cost for sending out payments to our clients, allows us to build a business model around that fixed cost which is just something we otherwise could not do.”
Beyond the clear cost advantages for Jeremy, is Global Disbursements’ ability to trace payments – a crucial feature for clients in his sector, which helps resolve potential disputes over transactions.
And he adds that significant efficiencies are achieved, too: “Previously, I would have to have at least one dedicated full time staff member, doing nothing but sending our outbound payments every week... Now, I can personally process all payments for a week in less than one hour.”
Another benefit has been the start of a bigger banking relationship between a business that’s growing internationally and HSBC.
“I can’t imagine doing this with any other bank,” says Jeremy. “The idea of not being able to transact across borders seems insane to me. If there aren’t better systems in place to facilitate multinational commerce, it’s going to hinder growth in any business. Global Disbursements addresses that need. It’s exciting to be developing an international business with a financial solution that just knocks down those barriers.”
EzTix was founded in 2007 to promote international culinary tours and events. Since then, Jeremy Mitchell has led the EzTix team from a small ticketing solutions provider to a global leader working with some of the world’s most respected tourism brands.
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