“Daniele and I had a friend who was a freelancer with a long, complicated last name and address. Whenever we went out to dinner with him, he always had to waste a lot of time at the cash register giving all his personal data for the invoice. This is in part what inspired the idea for GetYourBill: we wanted to simplify the lives of customers and businesses by digitalizing the invoicing process.”
The year was 2011, and digitalization was still in its infancy, but already there was clearly a need to come up with innovative solutions for companies. So Nicolas Ancot and Daniele Fanzutto, two alumni of the Global Executive MBA-GEMBA at SDA Bocconi, with a couple of other friends, took what they learned from that experience and started laying the groundwork for GetYourBill, a platform for generating e-invoices directly from the front office of businesses, in particular restaurants and retailers.
Here’s Nicolas: “The idea we had with Daniele and the others was still in its inception at that time. Support from the GEMBA faculty was fundamental to make that idea grow both in the initial development stage and during the execution. I remember the GEMBA module we did at UCLA in Los Angeles really well. During that course we focused our attention not only on the impacts that digitalization could have on business, but also on the need to organize the startup phase as best we could, how to formulate a business plan and raise capital. Thanks to the advice we got in the classroom, we managed to accumulate an initial investment of €700,000 and start our business.”
Today GetYourBill counts 12 employees who handle about 6 million invoices a year. The company’s services support over 14,000 retailers.
Integrated with cash registers or automatic touchpoints, like the self-service totems at gas stations, the platform makes it possible to recover the client’s company data needed for the invoice without any need for registration or manual data entry, working directly with a set of publicly available databases. GetYourBill then generates the xml of the electronic invoice and sends it to the Tax Authority platform (SDI). The merchant can follow the whole process through his GetYourBill portal. Thanks to 20 or so partnerships with IT producers (key collaborators in Italy are for example Oracle and RCH), GetYourBill can meet a wide range of needs. Today thousands of customers all over Italy access the platform, including Prada, Armani, the Cigierre Group (which runs restaurants like the Old Wild West chain), as well as small businesses and neighborhood pizzerias.
The company’s biggest claim to fame was being ahead of its time. In Italy, e-invoicing only became mandatory in 2019, eight years after Nicolas and Daniele had their idea and 5 years after GetYourBill was founded. As Nicolas remembers it: “This secured a huge competitive advantage for us on the market. On one hand, some companies began to build platforms that looked like ours but only after the law passed, which meant that they had to accelerate processes that we had already consolidated, offering services that were much more expensive and not user friendly. On the other hand, the big groups that decided to develop solutions internally for e-invoicing quickly realized how much they would have to spend on it, both in terms of time and money, and they came to us instead.”
But there have been tough times too. Until 2017, the company couldn’t generate turnover, and was on the brink of bankruptcy. The idea underpinning the project was a solid one, but real business opportunities were not materializing. Then in 2018 came the turnaround: in less than a year, Get Your Bill went from 500 customers to 10,000. Growth that has continued steadily, albeit with a few bumps in the road during the pandemic. This is one of the reasons why in 2022, according to Retail Tech Insights magazine (the go-to resource in Europe for the industry), GetYourBill ranks in the Top Ten for best solutions in retail automation.