Giving due credit to small business

Giving credit to b-to-b

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For Autodesk, a San Rafael, Calif.-based developer of software used by architects and engineers, the notion of Internet b-to-b credit seems promising, said Jan P. Berger, Autodesk corporate treasurer.

It is not unusual for an architectural firm to order products ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, so a credit card or purchasing card purchase is out of the question, Berger said. By signing with LiveCapital, Autodesk will be able to create lines of credit with business buyers at the moment they are considering a sale, he said.

"We wanted to give the customer the choice of getting external credit from a third-party institution, and to get it instantly," Berger said. "The choice between a loan or line of credit is within the shopping cart experience, and it means that if a customer buys $40,000 worth of software from Autodesk, we get paid within 48 hours."

In tapping LiveCapital, Autodesk does not have to negotiate with each financial institution it offers credit through. Instead, LiveCapital takes on the risk of the relationship with lenders, Berger said. That means Autodesk could forego a complex contract that would cover the responsibilities of the bank, Autodesk, a third-party credit provider, Autodesk's hosting company and the customer. The financing relationship is simplified to be between the customer and LiveCapital, Berger said.

The iVesta deal is notable because of the clout of the partners. A joint venture between John Deere Credit and CoBank, Iowa-based iVesta will introduce LiveCapital as a b-to-b financing instrument to farmers and other agribusiness buyers. Deere Credit currently has 500,000 lending accounts and manages a portfolio exceeding $12 billion. LiveCapital competes with such companies as Inc. and PrimeStreet Corp. for these types of lending services.

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