Interview With Andrew Hoag
Describe your product or service:
“Teampay helps high-growth companies streamline the purchasing process across virtual cards, physical cards, invoices, and reimbursements. The only purchasing software designed with employees in mind, Teampay’s automated workflows empower employees to quickly buy what they need while staying in policy. The platform issues secure payment methods with built-in controls and reconciles transactions into the customer’s accounting system in real-time. This modern approach to purchasing eliminates unauthorized and out-of-policy spending provides full visibility for finance and helps build better relationships between finance and employees. Teampay was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in New York City.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Teampay is making company purchasing simpler and more enjoyable for everyone, one customer at a time. Our values include curiosity, grit, teamwork, self-discipline, and impact.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“We announced Teampay had closed Series A funding in 2020, bringing its total funding to $21 million. Its latest raise was led by new investor Fin Venture Capital and supported by existing investors Tribe, Crosscut, and Precursor.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“Teampay’s staff is between 60 to 75 full-time employees, and quickly scaling. We have several freelancers, and while we are headquartered in New York City, we support a flexible work environment and have co-workers spread across the globe. Our executive team is made up of a Founder/CEO, a CFO, and a CTO. All of our talent is bucketed into teams: operations, marketing, success, engineering, product, sales, finance, and people.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“I initially came up with the idea for Teampay when I was in the early stages of some new projects. As an operator, I was trying to focus on the business strategy; however, I found myself constantly sidelined and bombarded by requests from employees to buy things, use my corporate card, purchase items on their behalf, and/or reimburse them for things I didn’t even know they had purchased. At that moment, I realized just how much corporate spending has changed over the last decade. Between the explosion of SaaS software and fractional services, the overwhelming shift to on-demand everything, and a rise in freelance and remote workers, today’s purchasing department is no longer a centralized procurement team–in a modern company, your procurement team is all your employees. And yet, the tools and software solutions for finance hadn’t changed for literally decades. Today, finance is tasked with managing this new world of decentralized purchasing; however, because of outdated systems, companies are struggling with policy misalignment, manual work, and best-guess accounting, not to mention awkward conversations with employees for not staying in compliance at the end of each month. Teampay’s mission is to help modern businesses spend money more efficiently.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Actually a close friend and early advisor came up with the name ‘Teampay it’ (which we still own). We did not know if that was the name at first, so [we] incorporated as Team Labs, but we still love it.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yes — in fact, I started a lawn mowing business when I was 12. Since then, I’ve founded four companies, including Teampay. My true passion is building things from scratch.”
Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?
“Of course, we faced many, but we’ve faced them all with a sense of persistence and grit.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“Teampay’s target is high-growth companies. While our clients range from manufacturing to software and hardware firms, most were founded in the last 15 to 20 years and are cloud-native with a strong tech stack and a digital-first approach.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“A surprising amount of companies are still using outdated purchasing processes because they don’t know there’s a better way. So, our marketing strategy is pretty simple–we let companies know that they no longer have to chase down receipts or get bogged down with clunky approval processes. We meet buyers where they are in their journey to find that better solution through digital marketing, brand awareness campaigns, exclusive events, and partnerships with industry-leading institutions.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“I started out all by myself. So, first, through my network, and next, through cold calling/emailing and reaching out on LinkedIn. Then, eventually, we had our first sales hire who helped close that last mile.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“We look at metrics across the entire customer lifecycle, from how many customers we are closing, to then, for the customers that we have, how we are expanding and continuing to retain and grow those customers. So, we're looking at metrics kind of across the entire journey.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“‘Founders at Work’ by Jessica Livingston”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
“I listen to ‘Brain.FM’ — it has neurologically-tuned music that helps you stay focused and connects to your brainwaves.”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“We are a Slack company. Since we are hybrid, and many of our employees are remote-first, connectivity has been key.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“Finding balance is forever a work in progress. However, it’s important to work hard and play hard. I generally take one day of the week (typically Sundays) for rest where I don’t check email or Slack or anything work-related. I think having that separation and taking breaks and vacations is very important.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“Taking control over my time, whether that’s making sure that I take breaks between meetings and Zoom, or leveraging the focus music for a specific time. Also, I try to work from different locations because I find changing scenery actually can help me focus, versus working in the same place every day.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“In my first job after graduation, I connected and built supercomputers for NASA. It truly ingrained my ‘builder’ sensibility in the most literal way–I love taking things apart and figuring out how they work and how they can work better. As a kid, I was always entrepreneurial, including selling BBS software online, building computers, and even mowing lawns to buy more computers.”
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Teampay is improving the lives of its customers by providing companies with a simplified and consolidated solution for payments and procurements.