The App Developer’s Guide to Accounts Receivables Factoring
If you’re an app developer, chances are you’ve heard about accounts receivables factoring as a way to help speed up growth. But what exactly is accounts receivables factoring? Is factoring worth the effort? And what should app developers in particular look for when considering working with an accounts receivables company?
We’ve provided a quick introduction to accounts receivables factoring below. (Want to dive deeper into what to look out for when evaluating a factoring company? Check out our article here.)
Why does accounts receivables factoring matter for app developers?
After months of eating ramen, pulling all-nighters, and making some big product decisions based on not a whole lot of data, your crazy idea for an app is not only live, it’s growing and generating revenue.
Congratulations! It’s a major milestone, and you and your growing team should be proud.
But before you start looking at leases for an office space, you may have noticed that, in the wise words of the Notorious B.I.G., more money means more problems.
Specifically, you’ve got an accounts receivables problem: You’re not getting your hands on your app store earnings for as long as 45-60 days, and you’re not getting your earnings for as long as 45-120 days from the ad networks.
For app developers starting out, this is a serious hamper on cash flow and growth. When you don’t have a lot of additional capital to work with, you’ll have to wait while Apple, Google Play, and the various ad networks delay paying you out. In that time, you could have been doubling down on user acquisition while your game is hot, made a key hire to help take your company even further, or funneled resources toward improving your product.
At this point, you have three options:
- Lose months to hitting up all of your friends, school alumni, and your fifth cousin once removed in the hopes of getting in front of a VC and iterating on yet another pitch deck, just so you can raise some money to pay for some ads.
- Contact all of your banks for a loan and try to explain to a stodgy, out-of-touch financial institution what’s an app.
- Give up, move back in with your parents, and take a corporate job.
Understandably, none of these options are appealing, especially if your app is performing well. We’d like to think there’s a 4th option here, and that’s called accounts receivables factoring.
What is accounts receivables factoring?
Getting paid back in a timely manner is an age-old problem that small business owners have been trying to solve for a long time.
With accounts receivables factoring, finance providers step in to advance a business’ receivables based on its invoices. These advances are for receivables that aren’t paid out for a period of time that may (negatively) impact the business.
In the case of an app store or ad network, the invoice is the revenue owed to the mobile app company for their sales during a given payment cycle.
What kinds of mobile app businesses benefit from factoring?
As mentioned earlier, Apple and Google Play pay up to 45-60 days after the first sale. Mobile ad networks, such as Facebook, Admob, Applovin, Ad Colony, ironSource, Unity, and more, may pay out anywhere from 45-120 days after the first sale. Obviously, waiting to get paid 1-3 months after you make a sale is not ideal. All kinds of app businesses can benefit from accounts receivables factoring.
We at Braavo have seen accounts receivables factoring work particularly well for subscription-based apps. By nature, subscription apps tend to generate consistent and low-volatile recurring revenue. It’s easier to track how pulling different growth strategy levers – e.g., paid UA channels, influencer marketing, cross-platform promotion, email marketing, partnership channels, etc. – impacts your revenue.
Once a growth strategy begins to show success and profitability, you’re hampered mainly by your ability to optimize it. Factoring your receivables is an easy way to invest into that strategy at a much higher velocity.
Accounts receivables factoring also works well for mobile games. Since a mobile game’s revenue is often far more volatile and complex to manage, factoring can decrease the overall complexity of a game’s revenue streams. Factoring revenue from 10 different networks on the same day every week is far more consistent and predictable than receiving 10 different payments over the course of 60-120 days. Game developers can spend less time agonizing over spreadsheet financial models and more time building and shipping.
What should you look for in an accounts receivables factoring company?
Not all factoring products are created equally. If you’re thinking about working with a factoring provider, we recommend considering these questions:
- How convenient is the product? How much upkeep and maintenance will this require on your end?
- What is the company’s target market? Are they qualified to support a business like yours?
- How is their technology infrastructure?
- Do they have a strong reputation for trustworthiness?
- What is their track record for success?
- Do they have the financial resources to stay in business?
- What other products besides factoring do they provide that would add value to you and your business?
- How is their customer support?
- What are their terms?
Always remember to do your research. Reputable companies tend to work with reputable companies. Look at the provider’s website to see who they’ve worked with, and check out their case studies. This is the time to reach out to your network to see if anyone has worked with them and what it’s been like.
Pros and Cons of Factoring
As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to using accounts receivables factoring for your mobile app business.
- Execute on time-sensitive and/or unplanned initiatives, such as a key hire, seasonal marketing campaigns, or new products
- Smooth out cash flow for a more consistent, efficient and predictable revenue stream
- Grow faster by reinvesting your earnings into profitable marketing channels
- Extend your runway, slow your burn rate, and delay equity rounds
- Increase your business’ enterprise value and raise more capital for less equity
- Retain control over your business and build the app you want to make
We at Braavo specialize in supporting mobile apps and games. We’ve taken great care to ensure that our product is flexible and adaptable and meets the needs of app developers at the highest quality possible.
However, not all accounts receivables factoring companies are built to support mobile app business entrepreneurs. Their products can create additional burdens and complexities for app developers looking for a quick and easy solution. Watch out for:
- Long and arduous qualification and onboarding process
- Long-term commitments that are inflexible for your situation
- Monthly factoring requirements
- Hidden fees
- Burdensome security requirements, such as lien over all assets, and/or a personal guarantee
Accounts receivables factoring can make growing a mobile app business easier. Instead of waiting 45-120 days to get your receivables, you can use factoring to invest in marketing, improve your product, expand your company, and more. With the time-sensitive nature of the mobile app space, app developers can use factoring to move quickly and make their earnings do more. Not all accounts receivables factoring companies are alike, though, so be sure to do your research and make sure that the factoring company you work with is aligned in supporting your needs.
Now more than ever, access to working capital is crucial for mobile app businesses and games. Traditional sources of funding may have pulled back, but we have not.
We’re here to help. If you’re a mobile app or gaming business looking for financing, you can learn more about our financing products here.