Cody Austin said his group had their a-ha moment when they realized that companies wanted a higher level of trust in transactions.
Technology like blockchain provides all of the technical elements for secure transactions but companies want to trust the terms of an agreement are correct.
“Blockchain can do this but you need to get into the business of trust and how do we bring trust to the transactions,” Austin said.
Austin himself is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and began in the oil and gas industry 15 years ago. His team at the start-up company Integrity Technology Solutions is composed of auditors and accountants by trade.
After spending time in oil and gas, Austin got into auditing. He’s been there for 10 years while working on his MBA in entrepreneurship and innovation.
The goal at Integrity Technology Solutions is to help companies validate costs – and therefore build the trust in transactions – in real-time.
Audits are the oversight on a contract, Austin said. Quite often auditors are sent into a deal up to two years post-transaction.
“What we’ve done is we’ve kind of moved that audit process further up the value chain,” he said.
“Instead of auditing a transaction two years before the current, we’re trying to audit the transaction, as they occur. You can kind of develop that trust that these transactions have been audited similar to like a TSA PreCheck.”
Natural language processing
Integrity Technology Solutions has a system in place that reviews complex contracts to interpret and match agreements.
They use Natural Language Procession (NLP) to review the documents and AI and data scraping matches the key terms in an agreement. This validates the contracts and ensures payments and deliverables match.
That’s the trust Integrity Technology Solutions is looking to provide. They do so through a license-based system that allows the secure transfer of documents for interpretation and validation.
By creating a trusted contract, they want to expedite the payment process, Austin said.
“It could take 120 days from when the transaction occurs to when you actually receive your cash for that,” Austin said.
“One-hundred- and twenty-days lead time for a couple hundred dollars isn’t a huge problem. But when you’re talking about an industry that spends in the billions, 120 days is quite a significant working capital ratio.”
Their target market to start is the oil and gas industry. That sector, known for its swings in revenue, relies upon cash flow to stay in operation, Austin said. They also need the cash flow to keep their financiers happy, too.
They’d like to help close that payment gap to 30 to 60 days.
Connection with specific problems
Austin and his team have business acumen; they’re accountants and auditors. He’s also got the education in innovation and entrepreneurship.
With the Junction program with Platform Calgary, they’re gaining something they didn’t have: Connections. It’s allowing them to work with people that have experienced many of the barriers they didn’t anticipate.
“There’s so much value that can be gained from that program because it kind of rounds out the blind spots you didn’t know you had,” Austin said.
Austin has also run a consulting company, but never had one with a specific product, and that’s a different way of looking at things.
While oil and gas is their primary market today, Austin sees this having applications in other areas. It has a natural application in real estate, but they’ve also seen interest from contract appliance vendors, too.
The nature of secure online transactions also gives them the flexibility to handle contracts globally moving forward, Austin said.