Recently, we were lucky enough to interview Arthur Waller, co-founder, and CEO of Pennylane. We picked Pennylane for this interview as they are an example of a startup who, despite Covid-19, has done a fantastic job during the crisis by taking on new staff and scaling up their mission. The Partech Shaker has been an integral part of Arthur’s entrepreneurial journey as his previous startup (also invested in by Partech) PriceMatch, had their office here as well! Despite the health restrictions in place in 2020, Arthur took the bold move to make the Partech Shaker Pennylane’s home, from which they look to go from strength to strength.
Want to know more about Pennylane’s mission?
Let’s get to it!
1. First thing’s first Arthur, could you tell us more about PennyLane and what you do?
Our mission at Pennylane is to make sure entrepreneurs can access complete, reliable and actionable financial data about their business, enabling them to make the right decisions. We're building the financial Operating System of European SMEs, enabling entrepreneurs and accountants to collaborate and access up-to-date financial data, getting rid of silos. Imagine - all your sales, expenses, cash and accounting data in one place!
We started this journey as a tech-enabled accounting firm, now we also offer SaaS tools that we've been able to test on our customers and accountants.
2. Tell us more about the journey of you and your 7 co-founders from PriceMatch to PennyLane?
We cofounded PriceMatch in 2012, while still in college. It was more successful than expected and we ended up selling PriceMatch to Booking.com, with Partech as an investor and our office on the 3rd floor of the Partech Shaker :)
We then spent 3 years working for Booking.com in Amsterdam and after a bit of time off, decided to launch another start-up. We had struggled with accounting and financial management and heard the same story again and again. So, we decided we needed to give it a go.
3. How did you identify the gap in the market for financial management and how did you look to exploit it?
We talked to entrepreneurs, first from the startup ecosystem and then more traditional SMEs. Asking them how they managed their finance, admin, and accounting. How they picked their accountant, whether they had access to their financial data and what could be improved. Again and again, we heard the same story: siloed data and no access to their accountant's software. This seemed a pity given the accountant is the one with the most comprehensive and reliable financial data about a business...
4. Your latest funding round was announced back in May, how did you manage a fundraising process in Covid times?
We actually did raise our round back in January, not long before the first Covid lockdown... so we decided to postpone our PR :)
5. As PennyLane continues to grow, you are looking to recruit more staff, what do you look for when recruiting new talent?
We define our company's culture mainly as customer-centric, ambitious, data-driven and accommodating. We're looking for people that fit with this culture and that want to make a difference!
6. In the context of Covid19, how has the crisis caused your business to change or revaluate your core business practices?
We have grown from 0 to 70 employees with two lockdowns in the middle, so it is obviously harder to maintain the company culture. Our tech team has been remote-first from the start, even before covid, so we already have a couple of good habits we had implemented with them. But other than this, we try to remain as available as possible for our employees and a lot of this happens thanks to our people managers.
7. How did you try and maintain a good working environment during the home-working period?
We try to cultivate close relationships within the company by having some rituals and it is not just in the workplace where we try to have some fun together.
8. What are your main objectives for 2021, where would you like to be at the end of the year?
By the end of 2021, I'd like us to have thousands of happy Pennylane customers performing their financial tasks and piloting their businesses. This will only be possible with a great team!
Do you want to know more about Pennylane, Arthur’s journey and his previous company: PriceMatch?
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