A Chat with Louis Carbonnier, Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Hokodo: B2B Buy Now Pay Later For E-Commerce

Founded in 2018, Hokodo was started to bring B2B trade up to date with easy, fast and safe payment solutions. Hokodo’s founders, Richard, Sami and I, began this journey to encourage the growth of merchants and marketplaces through our Buy Now, Pay Later solution designed specifically for B2B trade. With Hokodo B2B businesses can focus on expansion and forget about the dangers of offering trade credit online

The Hokodo system allows merchants to offer payments instantly online and helps small business buyers access the payment terms they need and want.

We are passionate about Hokodo because it makes B2B trade not only simple, fair and accessible to sellers, but also to buyers.
Fintech Hokodo Raises $12.5 Million in Series A Funding, Enabling B2B  Merchants to Offer Instant Payment Terms and Scale With Confidence |  Business Wire

How did you come up with the idea for Hokodo?

Before starting Hokodo, fellow founder Richard and I worked in embedded finance together where we aided high-profile banks and insurance companies in selling financial services.

After working in embedded finance, I started with a company called Euler Hermes (who recently rebranded as Allianz Trade), the world leader in trade credit insurance and insurance against unpaid invoices. My work here allowed me to see two major shortcomings in credit support.

First, the complex nature of credit support means that it is largely accessible to corporations with sophisticated finance departments, rather than the SMEs who need it most. The SMEs who need this protection can’t access this product and this opened my eyes to this gap in the market.

Second, this product was designed for the offline world in which we no longer live. The 48-hour cyclical nature of the product is unsupportive of e-commerce merchants and participants who need solutions to their problems in real-time.

After my initial enthusiasm for this opportunity, Sami joined me to prototype some BNPL APIs. Then I caught up with Richard, who was growing tired of corporate life and couldn’t believe the gap in the market that Hokodo could fill. After days of searching through Google to see if anything like this had been invented already, we concluded that we would be first. With Sami and Richard on board, the Hokodo team took its shape.


How has Hokodo evolved over the last couple of years?

We had originally planned to create an invoice insurance company, that would make trade credit insurance accessible to SME businesses who were shut out from traditional trade finance instruments. We built a real-time credit decision engine allowing credit insurance to be embedded in various environments such as accounting software, invoicing packages and B2B marketplaces.

The latter use case was the most successful and attracted the highest take-up rates from SMEs. At that point we knew we had designed a solution that small and medium sized businesses really needed when transacting with each other online. As we discovered more about our users’ needs, there was quite a big evolution in our messaging as we pivoted from invoice insurance to our current B2B Buy Now, Pay Later solution. Essentially, we realised that our clients don’t wake up looking for credit insurance – but that they do need to offer credit terms when selling online.

The other key area of evolution has been simply the sheer growth of our team, especially in the past 6-12 months. In 2021, the Hokodo team grew by 140%, and since the start of this year we’ve already seen the headcount increase further. This growth has ultimately been fuelled by the demand for our B2B BNPL product, and we’re all super excited to see this continue as we head into Q2 of 2022.

What can we hope to see from Hokodo in the future?

We’re currently in the final stages of revamping our brand identity, so, in the short-term, it won’t be long before we begin to share our new look with the world. We’re really pleased with how it’s shaping up and can’t wait to roll it out.

Our mission at Hokodo is to enable 1 million businesses to access a better way to pay by 2025, so in the mid-term, we’re going to remain laser-focused on this mission until we achieve it. We like to envision a world in which every company has access to the financial tools they need to buy, sell and do more. So, at a more abstract and long-term level, this is what we hope the future holds, and we see Hokodo as the catalyst for this.