Santander has joined forces with business networking firm Tradeshift to bring more capital to its clients’ supply chains. The two will be launching a joint offering later this year.

The announcement comes just a few months after HSBC entered a similar collaboration with the San Francisco-based firm, whose platform connects more than 1.5 million companies across 190 countries and helps them manage their global supply chains.

The Tradeshift platform enables digital connectivity in one single business network – no disconnected systems and paper-heavy processes – and includes capabilities such as electronic invoicing, document matching and early payment capabilities.

Speaking to GTR, Santander’s global head of supply chain finance innovation Alejandro Romanos says the partnership will enhance the bank’s current supply chain finance offering, enabling it to fund companies further down the supply chain while simplifying and speeding up the process.

“Tradeshift is bringing to us better ways to reach the low-end suppliers,” he says. “The approach and cover we have is not changing, but Tradeshift will indeed be another channel to tackle the suppliers of our clients. Through these means we should be able to target a larger number of suppliers and offer them financing, more than what we can today.”

For a start, Romanos adds, the bank will offer approved payables finance for companies in the UK.

“But this is really an initial step,” he says. “Our ambition is to go much further than that. What Tradeshift is offering is to link our financial solutions with the digital version of the physical transactions. So through the network, we will know exactly when the order is made, when the invoice is issued, when the invoice is approved for payments, and other steps. We want to be in each of those steps and be ready to finance the suppliers of our clients in each of the transactions happening in the network. This is our final goal.”

As previously reported by GTR, Tradeshift’s platform has allowed companies to digitalise on average 70-80% of their supply chains.

The duo is planning to make the joint solution available to Santander clients in the UK in the beginning of Q4, before expanding to other countries next year.

In a statement, Tradeshift’s CEO and co-founder Christian Lanng says the benefit to the users of the platform “will be real”.

“We’re excited to partner with Santander to co-develop joint financial-services propositions for trading partners. This initiative aims to reduce structural barriers for provisioning liquidity across entire supply chains to enable commerce for all. Together with Santander, we are enabling every supplier – big or small – to more easily accessible cash,” he says.

The partnership is a result of a portfolio investment made by Santander InnoVentures, the group’s venture capital fund, in Tradeshift in December. The amount has not been disclosed.