Apruve Inc, a processor of electronic purchase orders, invoices, and payments via payment cards and paper checks, is looking to grow along with increasing demand for e-commerce payment services among small manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers, CEO and founder Michael Noble says.

“In the B2B world buyers and sellers don’t always consummate their orders with a credit card or through PayPal,” Noble says. “B2B buyers pay on payment terms with purchase orders and corporate accounts. This is currently an offline, labor-intensive accounts receivable mess to manage.”

Apruve’s technology is designed to automate multiple aspects of corporate account management within the e-commerce checkout process. For example, when a registered buyer completes an online purchase and chooses to pay through her corporate account Apruve applies the payment terms as specified under her account. Such terms could include generating an invoice with payment due in 30 days.

The Minneapolis-based Apruve processes thousands of invoices per month, a figure that is increasing at a rate of 21% monthly, Noble says. The company’s primarily small-and medium-sized clients include Legal Supply, a distributor of office supplies to law firms; Curriculet Inc., a provider of software and textbooks to schools; and Intervotion LLC, which provides software to government agencies.

Apruve can support international clients, but all of its existing users are based in the United States, Noble says. Nancy Atkinson, a senior analyst who specializes in online payments at research and consulting firm Aite Group, says the company’s focus on small businesses carves Apruve a niche in the B2B e-commerce market.

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“Apruve may be focused on small or micro businesses earning hundreds of thousands in annual revenue, and for those groups there’s no one out there that’s really promoting the electronic exchange of invoices and purchase orders,” she says. “That’s fairly unique and is recognizing something that is most definitely a need in the B2B space.”

Buyers using Apruve can choose multiple payment options during checkout, including charging purchases to corporate accounts or routing them to a superior authorized to approve purchases. Before a purchase is completed, Apruve recommends complementary products to the buyer in charge of completing the purchase.

Sellers can use Apruve to consolidate multiple invoices for buyers into a single monthly invoice, manage invoices and payments for customers’ automated replenishment of regularly ordered products, and issue customers payment terms on an individualized basis. In the next year, the company plans to offer automated credit approvals for buyers for purchases made with Apruve’s technology, in association with participating financial institutions.

Appruve integrates with such software-commerce systems as Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Volusion and others through its Open API, or application programming interface. An API is a set of software instructions for setting up data transmission between software applications.

The company charges fees equal to 2.9% of transaction value, plus 35 cents per transaction. This includes the merchant fees charged by credit card companies. It also charges a monthly licensing fee to use its software-as-a-service, or SaaS platform, that Apruve hosts and clients can access via the web. Clients can choose from packages priced at $29 per month, $99 per month and $299 per month, with the fee varying based on the number of corporate accounts managed and the type of payment services provided. The company declined to comment on revenue earned thus far.

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“I think Apruve is pretty timely in their launch,” Atkinson says. “B2B e-commerce is just on the cusp of really being looked at. Businesses have certainly allowed customers to make online purchases for lower-value, frequent items before, but I think Apruve has a good spot in the market with its ability to support electronic POs.”

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