When was SimpledCard set up, and who was involved?
SimpledCard was founded in 2014. Together with my business partner Yvo Gortemaker we brought together a team with over 25 years of experience in finance and custom software development. We had worked with many finance departments and found that they were struggling with controlling their spend.
Who exactly is your audience?
We work with finance teams of medium-sized businesses. Many of them have complex administrations and multiple locations or entities. Among our customers are leading organisations in the healthcare, education, governmental, media, industrial and logistics sectors. With our integrated system of payment cards and expense management, we help them achieve fluid business operations with solid controls.
Can you share any stumbling blocks that were experienced in the early days?
I remember back when we started, some of our clients were still used to cash. Several of them had a hard time working with mobile apps or didn’t want to use their private phones for business. Nowadays we rarely hear this obstacle. The adoption of mobile applications went very fast.
Also in 2015, merchants were very much used to local bank cards. They were reluctant to use credit cards. When we introduced our SimpledCard cards we still had acceptance issues to solve. Our issuing partners and Mastercard have been a great help to get to the high acceptance level we have now.
What are the things you are most proud of in your company’s journey? We have been able to build a very professional team that is able to make things as simple as possible for our clients without compromising on quality and trust. It always makes me proud to see how our team interacts with our customers. Support is key for us. Our customers do not want to talk to a chatbot. They want to talk to a human being that competently and empathically solves their problem. These conversations help us to learn and continuously improve our service.
Looking outside of SimpledCard now, how do you see your industry developing in the coming years?
In the past years, several thousands of organisations have opted for an integrated business spend solution. But there are many more that are still struggling with disconnected payment and expense systems. So the growth will be driven by an accelerated digitisation trend among SME’s.
At the same time, several players coming from travel booking and expense software will seek to add payment card offerings and pull in larger corporations. Finance managers of mid-sized organisations will eventually pick a solution that offers security and control. And that provides a sufficient level of support and customisation to get the best out of the internal business and accounting workflows.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has been going on for almost a year at the time of this interview. Can you share any survival tips for businesses? Clearly, the pandemic has had a different impact on various sectors. Business spend in the tourism industry dramatically collapsed. Whereas the healthcare and professional services sectors are at a high. With lots of people working from home, we obviously have seen a shift to online ordering. I’m very happy that with our latest release of 3D Secure employees that only have a SimpledCard Maestro card can now safely do their online purchases.
Going forward, many organisations that have taken loans to bridge the pandemic will want to improve their cost control. While not limiting their options to profit from the reopening of the economy. If you haven’t done so yet, the coming months may offer the perfect window to prepare for streamlining of your spend management.
And finally, what do you see as the future of fintech?
Some speak of a new realism in fintech and increased regulation weighing in. But if I look at our domain, we have only seen the beginning of SaaS solutions and machine learning helping to lift business accounting to a new level of efficiency and control. I see lots of smart young people who would like to work in shaping the way we do business tomorrow.