9 Spokes crystallises deal with OCBC Bank to service Asian small businesses

9 Spokes ASX 9SP Asian Singapore OCBC bank SME
9 Spokes has signed its 4th global banking partner, OCBC Bank, the 2nd largest financial services group in Southeast Asia by assets.

Business insights company 9 Spokes International (ASX: 9SP) is making effective progress as part of its Asia-Pacific operations with the news that its previously-signed proof of concept and memorandum of understanding would be converted into a formal contract.

The deal is the fourth of such like agreements struck by 9 Spokes with several Asian banking institutions over the past year. News of the deal this morning helped 9 Spokes shares to rise 11% up to $0.040 per share, buoyed by strong investor sentiment that 9 Spokes will continue it growth trajectory.

In June last year, 9 Spokes signed a proof of concept agreement with OCBC Bank, Asia’s 2nd largest financial services group, to deliver a white-labelled platform that could support its small business customers and provide services that stretch “beyond traditional banking toolsets”.

The business enabler has developed a platform that allows brand new businesses to set up and monitor their internal operations “in minutes”.

Businesses are able to customise 9 Spokes’ platform in accordance with their specific business traits including installing customised “apps” that streamline business analysis and day-to-day performance.

The key feature that appeals to small businesses is the ability to access business sales, marketing, people and finance data from one centralised place. Greater accessibility to more diverse information being recorded in real-time helps business managers to track business performance at a glance and make more informed decisions far quicker than before.

Asian allure

OCBC is a Singapore-based top-tier bank with an Aa1 rating from rating agency Moody’s.

The bank offers a broad range of banking, specialist financial and wealth management services, offered to individuals and companies alike. Its key markets include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and China where OCBC operates a total of 310 branches.

The partnership with OCBC is significant for 9 Spokes because it opens the possibility of accelerated market sales in one of the world’s fastest-growing countries that births thousands of new businesses each year.

Its most powerful product is its proprietary tracking tool designed to help small businesses enhance their performance and “be their best business self”, according to 9 Spokes. By collating and sorting reams of data obtained in real-time, 9 Spokes is able to help identify crucial business changes that could streamline small business operations.

According to 9 Spokes, the total number of users across all channel platforms has surpassed 64,000. Growth from its enterprise channels accounted for over 50% of the increase in Q2 2018.

9 Spokes has already established similar agreements with banks in other regions including Barclays in Europe, Royal Bank of Canada in North America and Bank of New Zealand for Australasia.

According to the company, the partnership with OCBC will “facilitate the establishment of an Asia-Pacific regional hub to support 9 Spokes’ regional growth aspirations,” which effectively places OCBC as 9 Spokes’ banking partner in Asia.

“OCBC Bank is an absolute leader in SME banking in Asia and its decision to partner with 9 Spokes is further evidence of the value that our platform can add to global banks and their SME customers,” said Adrian Grant, co-founder and executive director of 9 Spokes.

“This is the first step of several, as we work together to provide a digital marketplace and business insights to the SME business community. We look forward to integrating our platform into OCBC Bank’s systems and delivering a unique opportunity to SME clients of OCBC Bank to have a business homepage that delivers insights and a real-time, single pane view of how their business is really performing,” added Mr Grant.