Startup of the Week: Haslle
A lot of companies have struggled with managing employees’ expenses in a smooth and digital process from purchase approval to filing an expense report. Haslle developed a B2B solution to facilitate daily management of buying things for work simply on mobile and web, adding real-time analytics, budget control, and a reward component for companies wishing to set up an incentive program and provide benefits for their employees. Sounds interesting? Read the whole interview with the team of Haslle.
1.So what is Haslle? How does it work?
With Haslle, businesses can empower employees, departments, and teams to make purchases on their behalf with payment cards, yet retain full control, thanks to easily defined budgets, category limits, and spending rules. With Haslle’s mobile app, employees can add data to each transaction, such as receipts, notes, labels like customer or project codes, and merchant ratings. These are in turn used to generate insights on B2B services, produce saving suggestions, negotiate better deals from providers and incentivize company spending on better services and products.
Haslle is a modern interface that enables an efficient process that saves time for employees, managers and accountants who no longer need to collect, approve, and otherwise process expenses manually.
2.What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
Every good business has competition. Keeping an eye on your competitors helps you anticipate shifts in the market, spot new trends and successful tactics, and stay on the cutting edge of what is working within your niche.
We have quite a few competitors as Pleo, Soldo, Payhawk, Spendesk that have a head start in this sphere. We are monitoring what our competitors are doing so that we could improve, see in which directions they are going and react accordingly.
Haslle’s solution gives the possibility to dynamically control budgets while most competitors are very focused solely on payment cards management. Hence, companies can be more flexible and process payments using different Team or Employee cards as well as scheduled bank transfers. Moreover, Haslle is much more focused on team-wide transparency on budgets and finances, allowing teams and employees to participate and discuss the company’s budgets while contributing to saving the company’s cash. Lastly, Haslle can collect, enrich, and organize a larger variety of spending data, providing best in class analytics on where cash can be saved.
3.What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product?
A large part of my job as Head of Product at LuxTrust always involved traveling to various events and conferences which meant I spent company money often. I have noticed that the process of paying with my personal card, getting approvals on Excel sheets signed by my boss, and bringing my expense reports along with receipts to the accounting team in order to claim my money back is not only cumbersome for me but also my manager and our accountant.
I observed that most companies in Europe are still using reimbursable expenses spreadsheets to manage the expense management cycle. I wanted to make this process easier by unlocking the value of company spending data to control spending in real-time and offer saving suggestions targeted at buying better, cheaper, and greener services.
4.When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?
Haslle was founded in 2019 and it was quite a path for us to launch the product. Of course, like all the companies we had challenges as well. Haslle competes in a huge industry of financial services and the main goal is to re-invent the industry and bring better solutions for moving money around.
After we launched a couple of months ago, the biggest challenges were – as with any fintech – the KYC/AML and the banking infrastructure-related operations. Building a technology stack of a mini bank while really rewarding was more difficult than we imagined in the beginning.
Our clients are innovative SMEs and startups based in Germany, Benelux, Finland, or Baltics who need to automate and optimize their company spending, improve approval process efficiency/accounting data consistency and enable their teams with quick financial decision making.
6.What are main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
The main challenges for our company and as we think for most technical co-founders are to build successful sales and marketing processes. Another challenge in making these processes right is that they could bring measurable and predictable sales and revenue outcomes that could be used for securing the next investment to grow the business.
7.How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
We bootstrapped with founders’ money before we got investment from Startup Wise Guys. Also, recently we received an investment from APX by Axel Springer and Porsche who also offer a tailor-made program for our business to grow in Berlin. In addition, we are raising an investment of 250k, and half of it is already committed by a Lithuanian fund this year.
8.Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
At Haslle we have a team full of professionals in their fields. All founders have years of experience in building successful software products as leaders of engineering as well as product teams. I was Head of Product in the biggest cybersecurity company in Luxembourg. While working for this company I had the privilege to build digital identity management software along with a startup from Boston. Together with this startup, I participated in pitching to PayPal, and later they decided to invest in this product. I was inspired by this experience and that encouraged me to start my own company in the same year.
9.How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc.)?
We are seeing a constant growth in the visitors to our website or the followers on social media, which is one of the components that attract our potential clients and users.
For the moment we have quite a number of businesses that are in the free trial period of our product and we are seeing them satisfied and willing to extend our cooperation. Our next milestone is converting those dozens of beta users to paying customers. First conversions are happening this month and we are very excited to serve at least 50 companies by the end of the year.
10.Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
We start APX by Axel Springer and Porsche tailor-made program in Berlin this month and we are very excited to take Haslle to the German market. We hope to build a successful business there, expanding our client base but also our partner’s and investor’s network. We are also looking to integrate with more banking infrastructure providers and help our customers not only spend money with ease and control but also get short term loans on demand.