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Learn to deal with rejection early

Imburse SaaS Enterprise platform focusing on solving the complexity of payment integrations

Please introduce yourself and your startup Imburse Payments to our readers!

I am Oliver, the CEO and co-founder of Imburse, a  SaaS Enterprise platform focusing on solving the complexity of payment integrations. Imburse was founded in February 2018 as a pivot and has grown rapidly since then. We now have offices in Zurich and London and count some large multinational clients such as Generali, Mapfre, Swiss Re, Zurich and more as clients. Before starting Imburse I spent more than a decade working at various insurers and reinsurers in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. 

I started my first company, a computer hardware sales company, at the age of 16, and have been an Entrepreneur ever since.

How did you get the idea of Imburse Payments? 

We were forced into it as a pivot actually. We had a completely different business in 2012, in the flight tracking space. Our business model was to sell flight-delay insurance to consumers, and we needed to be able to do real-time payments to meet customer expectations. Unfortunately, the insurer we worked with did not have that functionality available and was not prepared to develop it. It would have cost them $ 500,000 and taken an estimated 15 months to deploy. We wanted to make our business a success of course, so we built what we thought would be a temporary solution. This was the beginning of Imburse. Going back to the insurer with this solution garnered a lot of interest. It became clear to us then that there is a pain point that needs to be solved.

Why did you decide to start with Imburse Payments? 

Many of the founders had started companies before and once we got an inkling that there is a problem that needs addressing, that companies are willing to pay for, we invested more time in understanding the problem at hand. What we found was that companies really struggle with technical integrations, both from a time and cost perspective. According to Gartner, companies in Europe spend about $ 105Bn a year on IT just on these topics, $275Bn in North America and $600Bn globally. It’s a problem shared by many companies and there exists no solution addressing payments as a whole for companies. In short, there is a large problem that companies are willing to pay for,  it’s cross-vertical and it has global reach. These are great foundations for a startup. 

What is the vision behind Imburse Payments? 

Freedom and value. Most corporations today are hampered by their own process inefficiencies, lack of access to specific skills, and of course budget constraints. A lot of resources, both financial and human, is wasted on helping complex and old systems cope to meet ever-evolving customer needs and expectations. We free up companies from these restrictions, allowing them to deploy their resources to build better companies, better products and generate more value for their customers. We focus on solving the payments integration problem  

How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?

The start was hard. The main challenge is to get early investors excited about B2B software. The problems are sometimes more difficult to understand and not as well known, as customer pain points. Add to this the fact that B2B deals take longer to conclude and the solution needs to be essentially operational before it can be sold. The pool of early-stage investors who have a good B2B software market appreciation is small, but we managed to attract some of the best early-stage investors Switzerland and Germany had to offer. This allowed us to invest in the product and grow the company successfully.

Who is your target audience? 

We target medium and large corporates, specifically those with complex corporate structures, old IT systems or multi-market presence. Within those companies, the buyers of our solution are CFOs and COOs, and their teams. 

What is the USP of your startup? 

Through us companies can address ALL of their payment topics, for collection and payout. We give access to a variety of payment services such as vouchers, inter-bank rails and other non-traditional payment mechanisms. Most importantly, we are accessible to enterprises with older, legacy IT systems and old finance processes, not just straight API. This means we are best positioned to solve the payments integration problem for any corporate globally.

Can you describe your typical workday? 

I generally dedicate my morning to my family, making sure I get the kids ready for school (physically and mentally), spend some time playing with them beforehand and spend some time with my wife. I generally start work around 9am, focussing mainly on sales activities and management topics (a lot of recruitment and certification topics). Than I try to have at least 2 – 3 hours for 1:1 engagements around the team. I clock off at 5pm to spend the afternoon with the family and get some admin done around the house. I work again from about 8:30pm (once kids are in bed) until about 10:30pm to sweep up the open topics of the day and to set up the teams to start productively the next day.   

Where do you see yourself and your startup Imburse Payments in five years? 

In 5 years, Imburse will have offices on all 6 continents, being the “go-to” solution provider for corporates and SMEs for anything related to the topic of payments. We will be a strong team sharing a common mission, and excited by the opportunity to grow even further into other industry verticals. Imburse will be a globally recognised brand in the B2B software space with a reputation for delivery and bringing value to our clients.

What 3 tips would you give to founders? 

Firstly, do not be scared to spend money on lawyers early. Having solid contracts, correct conducting of board and meeting matters, and the right advice, really sets you up later to have less issues and allows you to move through investment rounds and closing deals faster. Secondly, hire more, earlier. We learned painfully how hard it is to hire people and how long it takes. Spend time very early on to define your hiring strategy, Such as salary only, and in which quartile do you hire, will you hire using share options to reduce costs, who gets them, and so on.

Lastly, learn to deal with rejection early. You need to find the right balance between taking feedback to improve your offering and ignoring negative people that may not understand your offering. There are unfortunately some investors who look to justify why not to invest, rather than look for opportunities to invest, and this means you will probably get more “no” than “yes”. Filter, but also learn from it.

More information you will find here

Thank you Oliver Werneyer for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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