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Fintech Focus Rewind: This CEO Wants To Make Business Expenses Easier

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Fintech Focus Rewind: This CEO Wants To Make Business Expenses Easier

The Fintech Focus Rewind is a recurring feature in which we revisit previous episodes of Benzinga's Fintech Focus Podcast. To get the Fintech Focus delivered to your inbox weekly, subscribe to the Fintech Focus newsletter. Don’t forget to check out upcoming programming at Benzinga events.

Employees may not have to charge company expenses on a personal card and wait for reimbursement much longer.

Andrew Jamison is the CEO and founder of Extend, a company selling technology to credit card issuers that allows corporate clients to share company credit cards with employees. Instead of waiting to get reimbursed for business expenses, an employee can simply download the app and charge to the company credit card. It even allows for spending limits and expiration dates to help firms regulate purchases.

The startup recently raised $11 million in funding from Point72 Ventures and FinTech Collective, along with others to help advance product development and partnerships with big banks.

How Extend Developed

Born to an Australian father and Swedish mother, Jamison grew up in France before attending boarding school in England. He moved to the United States to work at American Express (NYSE: AXP), where he worked his way up to Vice President of B2B Product Management and Development. The experience at American Express and marrying his American wife motivated him to move to New York.

It was in this journey he decided to leave the corporate world and solve a problem he believed the fintech world was not addressing: company credit card accessibility.

“The reality is too many people are being forced to use their personal cards because there isn't a product in the market that companies feel comfortable with that they can actually go in and give access to those individuals to go and spend against a company funded account,” Jamison said.

After analyzing data from expense management solutions providers, Jamison saw the opportunity to launch his solution to solve the card accessibility problem.

“What we found is the more we dug into this, the more examples there were when people were using their cards instead a company funded account,” Jamison said. “When we looked into the size of that opportunity, we looked at expense management solutions providers and saw how much was charged on cards that weren't corporate cards. We estimated the US alone, to be an opportunity of about $400 billion, so a really sizeable opportunity.”

How It Works

To use Extend, a user must create a profile on the app and authenticate themselves. Extend will then give users access to an account number linked to the company credit card and make the purchases desired.

Extend’s vision is to operate a consortium that eventually could be integrated into mobile banking apps.

Goals for the immediate future development of the product include building out the technology to become more like a platform, building pipes into major credit-card companies like Visa (NASDAQ: V), and engage more with major banks.

Safety and security of the virtual cards remains Jamison’s top goal, and he says this is where the money will be prioritized as the company expands.

“We're allowing sort of safe and secured distribution of virtual credit cards,” Jamison said. “That's really where the money will be invested to build out that platform that will create that connective tissue between those two really important ecosystems that businesses rely on every day.”

This idea helped investors notice Extend was on the cusp of developing a brand new means of doing business, Jamison says.

“They quickly realized unlike many other players in this space, who are leveraging prepaid accounts or debit accounts where funds have to first be deposited, we were looking to leverage existing rails and existing credit that people had already you know, earned with their banks,” Jamison said.

Bigger banks tend to take more time in innovating new products while smaller banks are more willing to take on risk to attract new customers. Jamison thinks a company like his can help more established banks compete in an ever more competitive fintech space.

“The banks are feeling that pressure, and what we feel we can do is to go and create that gateway that will allow them to seamlessly go and interact with all of these technology players, and therefore retain their customers,” Jamison said. “These customers would rather stay with their bank and manage the working capital they have through their existing bank, than having to go and open up a net new account, with a separate bank, and manage the operational nightmare to come with having to manage working capital across these multiple accounts.”

What He Has Learned

The biggest thing Jamison says he’s learned in his startup journey is how to be patient as his company’s creative ideas develop. He notes that having a bad day is acceptable because dwelling on the negatives can deteriorate performance over time.

“If you have a bad day, that's okay,” Jamison said. “You have a bad week, you start to feel it. You have a bad month, you're 30 days out of your 540 odd days, you know you've had a terrible month. So, it's this very different and delicate balance between the two.”

The fast-paced and multitasking performance found in startup culture has taught Jamison his love for the work he does.

“You may have to present the same concept 16 times, and 37 versions of the same presentation,” Jamison said. “What keeps me up at night is, in reality, just that one minute I'm doing this, which is fantastic and great exposure. On the other, next minute I'm talking to a customer. At the same time I'm talking to lawyers about the next fundraiser, or about a contract with a bank. It's just this permanent list of activities which is never ending. And realistically, I realize you can never get done what you need to get done in the day, because there is always more you can get done.”

Posted-In: Andrew Jamison Extend Fintech Focus RewindFintech Success Stories Startups Interview

 

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