As the economic climate continues to intensify, the environment for StartUps looking to evolve their business and flourish is becoming increasingly challenging. 

In the latest edition of StartUp Sessions, we spoke to Daniel Greiller of Weavr, who discussed the challenges and importance of creating an inclusive culture at a newly formed company as well as why efficient onboarding is vital. 

Firstly are you able to tell us more about your Startup and the role you play in your payments industry? 

Daniel Greiller: Banking as a Service (BaaS) refers to a business model where banks or financial institutions provide access to their banking infrastructure and services to third-party companies through APIs. Embedded finance is the outcome of providing BaaS services seamlessly inside non-banking platforms. Businesses embed finance to enhance their product offering and, in turn, expands the reach of financial services.

The problem is, however, that it is very costly and difficult to manage a BaaS programme. It requires a lot of capital to launch and expertise to run, making it prohibitive for the majority of organisations and thereby both stifling innovation and limiting access.

Weavr is a disrupter in the embedded finance industry, supplying solutions that are easy-to-deploy and cost-effective, which we call Financial Plug-ins. Non-financial businesses do not want to have to understand the minutiae of how the financial services they’ve embedded work – and how those services are regulated. Our solution takes on all that complexity for them but packages it up into something powerfully simple. 

The result is that clients can be onboarded and activated in weeks rather than months and at a fraction of the cost of Banking as a Service, where costs can run into the millions. So, in short, Weavr’s Financial Plug-ins offer everything businesses need to deploy financial services while shouldering the significant burden of compliance, regulation and data security.

Can you detail some of the challenges in gaining funding and building momentum during a tough economic climate? 

The conflict between jam today and jam tomorrow when building momentum is a difficult call to make. We identified broadly three different types of businesses: disruptive startups, established but innovative, and large & under pressure. Each sector has pros and cons from a go-to-market (GTM) perspective – effectively it’s a sliding scale of time to money and size of opportunity. Getting the balance right in your GTM approach is tricky as you only have a limited amount of resources you can expend. 

So, you have to make some bets. And in the current economic climate your bets could easily go bad. Start-ups could go under or large companies could cut back on investing in new areas. Both make building momentum unpredictable and lumpy. So far, we’ve managed to maintain a strong upwards trajectory with healthy and increasing growth rates. 

In terms of your roadmap, what are your goals for the future and how do you plan on reaching them? 

Weavr’s roadmap is incredibly exciting and includes expansion into new geographies, new financial service capabilities and selling technology as well as financial services. We have bolstered all the relevant GTM teams (tech, product and commercial) in addition to lining up some very powerful partnerships. We have started the year ahead of plan and I’m looking forward to continuing to see great returns on the investments we are making.

In a competitive market, what are some of the most challenging factors when it comes to gaining funding? 

Investors are looking for many more proof points than before and the focus on achieving profitability is unrelenting. Once you get past seed/Series A, it’s not enough to have a great idea or have identified an attractive total addressable market. And forget about raising based on hype! You need to be able to prove that you have identified customer needs and how to service it. You need both traction and strong unit economics, as well as a structured plan for expansion.

As you have grown your company, can you tell us some of the key challenges and how have you evolved your company? 

Weavr came out of beta during the pandemic but I feel like the challenges of building a company in the pandemic have been well covered. The same goes for getting the balance right between office and remote working. 

Perhaps for me personally, the challenge of creating an inclusive culture has been more challenging than I expected. I don’t think we’re doing a bad job when it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), but I don’t think we’re doing a great job either. I don’t believe in DEI because it’s a nice tickbox exercise. I believe having a diverse workforce means you broaden your experience, are more creative and less likely to make mistakes because you have less blindspots as an organisation. I want to see Weavr evolve from good to great in this regard.

Can you tell us more about some of the challenges involved in hiring and acquisition as a startup?

I suppose finding people that really resonate with the mission. We’ve recently gone past the 100-employee mark, which is a major milestone. I know most of the people in the company well on a personal level and I am confident almost all of them really give a … monkeys … about what we are doing. That’s important because working at a start-up is really hard! You have to do so much more than your job description. As we continue to grow, maintaining that “giving-a-monkey” attitude is going to get harder. We recently made an acquisition of another company – Comma – and ensuring cultural alignment, complete with “giving a monkeys”, was important as we expanded our team.

It just occurred to me that it somewhat sounds like I’m describing stocking a zoo.