Go to any UK supermarket or corner shop and look at the selection of disposable vape pods. Chances are MK Europe imported them.
Vladimir Cauville is the CEO of MK Europe, a truly international business.
Incorporated in Luxemburg, with offices across Eastern and Central Europe, MK Europe acts as a middleman between Chinese manufacturers of disposable vape pods and European buyers, handling everything from export contracts to sourcing new clients.
Traditional banks were always going to pose a problem for Vladimir.
"Our sector is often associated with tobacco, although our products don’t contain any tobacco. It’s a restricted area for quite a few traditional banks."
Restricted products aside, he has no illusions about the way in which traditional banks view small businesses.
Banks are interested in straightforward enterprises not involved in cross-border payments. In contrast, an SME that wants to send money to China and receive money from all over Europe would be viewed differently. “As something complicated,” said Vladimir. “They think they’re going to spend an awful lot of time checking every transaction. They’re not worth the risk.”
Vladimir pointed out that banks are more interested in big enterprises with regular local consumer clients and steady streams of value. In short, they’re not interested in dealing with start-ups that require them to spend money on high-risk, low-return accounts.
Bureaucracy also posed a problem to Vladimir. Instead of a close-knit team with which to communicate, Vladimir came face to face with a cold financial machine hampered by red tape and slow, outdated processes.
Swift and seamless transactions are critical for MK Europe. When they receive an order, they must convert and forward the funds quickly to the manufacturer so that the products can be delivered as soon as possible.
As Vladimir said, the same applies to personal finance. Let’s say you send money to someone. You hope they will receive the money within minutes, but the next day comes and they still haven’t received it. They get nervous. They wonder: did you even send the money?
The same applies to the business world. Vladimir said, “It can lead to embarrassing situations with younger companies that don’t necessarily have a substantial overdraft. Younger companies function with the money they have. If you haven’t received money from your supplier or client, you’re functioning on your own funds.”
He found a solution in Silverbird. The international makeup of the team impressed him. He liked the platform too. “Especially considering the fact that it’s a fairly new product.”
More importantly, Silverbird’s speed of transactions was a game-changer.
This is partly a result of his relationship with Silverbird — the company didn’t treat his business as a number.
"We were able to establish a relationship with our account manager. We know what to do in order to avoid holdups."
MK Europe continues to grow and expand across Europe, turbocharged by Silverbird’s international payment solution.