September 27, 2022

Alex Louisy, Co-founder & CEO, Upflow

Alex Louisy is the co-founder and CEO of Upflow, a fintech startup on a mission to revolutionize how B2B businesses get paid. Their accounts receivable software is helping hundreds of fast-growing B2B companies collect customer payments effortlessly: saving time, helping make better business decisions, enhancing customers' experience, and improving cash flows. Upflow is backed by leading investors (Y Combinator, 9yards, eFounders) and top BAs from N26, Square, Mercury, Uber, and Netsuite. Previously, Alex started his career in investment banking, before overseeing the international expansion of Wifirst - a telecom company.

Julian: Hey everyone. Thank you for joining the behind company lines podcast. We are here today with Alex Louisy co-founder and CEO of upflow is a FinTech startup on a mission to revolutionize how B2B businesses get paid. Alex, thank you so much for joining the show. I'm really excited to dive deep into, you know, how you thought of the idea of who you are as a person and, and where kind of your experience has, has led you.

So Before I get, or not before I get started, but just to jump into it. What were you doing before you started? Upflow. 

Alex: Hey, first of all, Julian, thank you so much for having me. Were you happy to be here? And sharing like a little bit of like where we are and hopefully helping others on the journey building companies.

So that's where I wanted to, to start with look before upload, like I'm not the kind of traditional, like kind of dropout from school type of entrepreneur. I worked for like eight years in pretty traditional environment. So, you know, I just graduated from a master of engineering and then finance, and then I worked.

In a bank for like four years, you know, like this [00:01:00] kind of investment banking style. Yeah. I was kidding today with our VP of sales event. Like the time when he had to wear a suit to go to, to the office. That was me for four years. And then I actually worked in a small telco company where I was responsible for international development.

So it was kind of interesting working in a very traditional company going going abroad, but that was very, very far away from the startup environment. So that was just sorry, before getting to. 

Julian: amazing. What, what now you're in this traditional environment you're, you know, in, in finance and banking and, and working with international companies, which seems exciting, you're learning a lot.

I'm sure. What is, what inspired you to take, you know, the leap into going on an idea that you thought of and then taking the, the risk of a startup? Yeah. 

Alex: This many reasons to that. The first one is that I come from a family of entrepreneurs. So it's just like really traditional entrepreneurs in the constraining industry.

It's always been like, you know, that's been the family, right. Everyone was building businesses. So, and it was like part of the G and I was like, yeah, one day I'll build a company [00:02:00] myself as well. Right. And then there was another thing, there was a kind of a trigger, which was that I got really annoyed in like companies that had been work working for, but like, you know, a lot of things that I wanted to fix myself, I was like, I don't like the culture.

I don't like the management. I don't like the CAS. I don't like the product. And, you know, it's just kind. If you're an entrepreneur, I guess like there's some kind of willingness to chain things, but not only about complaining, but really like doing it. So I was really like, yeah, one day I'll build my company to change that and make it mine.

And. And, you know, all my friends were just making fun of me saying, well, when are you gonna build a company? Yeah. And it's actually funny, cuz it was actually my wife. At some point they told me like, look, Alex, you've been talking about this for the last 10 years. just do it. You know? And she was right. You know, I don't know if there was a specific trigger or anything, but at some point I just resigned from my job.

I had no plan. I didn't know where to go. Had tried. Like, this is an advice that I give to a lot of people, you know, sometimes you just like, yeah, I'll wait to get the great idea or the great co-founder. You don't no, just quit. And I just like, just do [00:03:00] it, man. Just save a bit of money or do whatever you want and just spend three months or whatever, like how long it takes to just take the time, think about it, meet with people.

And that's what it did. And it was really, really great because actually like the, the way we started upflow was actually like a second project where I started to, I, I was working on another company before was not really a great idea in the end, but I was really happy that I took the time to kind of think about it and get to the idea of what would become upflow later 

Julian: on.

Amazing. What talk about that freedom of just like taking that next step, you know, that like, like you said, it's not there's so many different founder journeys, you know, there's, this there's a dropout there's I just talked to a founder who was a, a, a teacher, a professor for like 30 years. And, and really it it's a, it's a combination of timing.

And idea it's like confidence it's it's experience. There's so much that goes, goes into, you know, going on the journey yourself. Talk about like, where did you feel when you were in that state, after you resigned from your [00:04:00] role? Were, did you feel the freedom? Did you feel that anxiety, give me all the emotions that, that were going through your head at that time?

Was it mainly excitement? 

Alex: There were a lot of a lot of emotion. I think like the, the interesting thing is. After the fact you realize that like, there's never like really like a good moment to get started. This is something that's quite interesting. Like, you know, sometimes you. Usually people that will never start a company are just like, oh yeah, wait for this next experience so that they can learn about X and Y.

And then, then I'll be ready to start my own company. The truth is that once you've started your company, you realize that you don't know much about anything. And then it's. Anyway, it's just a mess. So my advice on this one is just like, when, if you feel that like you want to start your own company, which is definitely not something that I would recommend for everyone, but just do it, you know, just do it, cuz there's no good moment.

You can start at 16 years old or 40 or 45. It doesn't matter. Of course there's some, maybe sometimes financial constraints, you know, we talked about kids and stuff. Sure. Sometimes [00:05:00] you have like other constraints and risks that you can't bear, but otherwise, you know, just do it whenever. And then yeah, but the emotion, the excitement, I think what, one thing that is interesting is that a lot of people are giving you like advice and.

Like, none of them are like the same. Some people were just, you're crazy living such a great position. You, you don't know where you're going and how you're gonna get paid, how you're gonna pay your bills. And it's just like, I don't know. We'll figure out, you know, and, and, you know, that's, that's how it works.

And it's still very much like this today, right. Four years after we started. Right. So that was that was one thing that was kind of important. And then I think this, this moment of freedom. And I think this is something that I didn't cherish, like quite enough at the time when you ultimately free, you know, do you have the Liberty to explore anything, talk to anyone, you know, now you have like team members, customers, constraints, board members, investors, you know?

Yeah. And I think I. At that time, I was like, oh, I really want to get to that point where I [00:06:00] get all this great responsibilities and problems that I have to tackle. But the truth is that at that time, just having a, like a blank piece of paper seemed like a little bit of a, of a stress, but. It was amazing actually back at that time, like we just interviewed people trying to understand problems.

The, the first idea we wanted to work on, I was very focused on that because this is what I was doing in the, at the bank in the first days was like financing. So I was financing for like large companies and I said, how can we bring financing to smaller companies in a more, you know, with more tech approach of like doing it?

Sure. Because there were a lot of great examples in the us. It did not exist really in the, in in Europe back at that time. And I was. Let's do this kind of lending type of FinTech. I thought it was kind of really compelling, but the great thing about this and that's really the feeling of freedom was just like we had, we interviewed like hundreds of final scenes and, you know, CEOs and trying to understand like what's the need.

And it's a, and it's a great moment because [00:07:00] everyone loves entrepreneurs. So everyone. he's like, yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna spend 20 minutes talking to you and telling yeah. How great your idea is. I think it's a little tricky because you realize after that, Even though they say that it's a great idea.

They're not necessarily gonna buy your product in the end. Yeah. but that's like kind of a very traditional confirmation bias that I discovered like, well, after the fact, but anyway, it was a great moment. Great emotions. Yeah. It was well before any trouble occurred. 

Julian: what, what you talk about this discovery process and, and upflow was kind of a, a secondary idea that you were working on while you were working on another company.

Talk about the discovery process, you know, learning about what customers needs and then evolving this product, working on another one. And, and, and what inspired the idea for upflow eventually and moving in that direction? 

Alex: Yeah, so it's actually quite of it was a good journey for us because, so I've always been interested in FinTech.

I was, I wanted to apply FinTech to kind of a more traditional B2B space. And we started interviewing people around [00:08:00] like, okay, how can we lend you money in a more dynamic, in a more easy way? Which makes a lot of sense, you know, like it's a pretty basic idea. and the thing is just that we were trying to get to a little bit of as you, why, you know, why do you need to borrow money?

Why do you need to cover like short term gaps in terms of cash management and stuff? And the funny thing was that as we interviewed people realized that like, very oftentimes like the interim, when you were thinking in terms of short term financing, which is what we wanted to do was more around like, well, you know, had you pay my bills, I can't get paid by customers on time.

So I, I just need to bridge. And I think the idea of upflow came one, because we realized that like building a finance organism financing against them was like really complex. We required a lot of capital to get started, but on the basis of those interviews. And that's why it's really important to do all of those interviews when you get started, which just realized that maybe there was something much more obvious than learning money, which was just helping those [00:09:00] businesses actually get paid.

Right. Cause when you think about it and it's kind of crazy because like a long time to realize that. Getting paid in the B2B space today in 2023 or 2020. Yeah. You know, 29, 20, like, you know, 19 at the time. It's just like, it's crazy. It hasn't changed in the last 50 years. Right. You send an invoice.

Yeah. It's not the paper invoice anymore. You just wait for 30 days. You have to chase it's. Then when you want to pay, it's like a very manual process where you have to go, like, you know, in the us, it's still like a lot of checks. So literally putting a piece of paper in envelope which is crazy. And, you know, if it's not checked, it's like wire transfer ACH, which is also really manual frontiers.

And basically the idea was just like, well, you just look at all payment verticals, like in the consumer space with Venmo online. Stripe you know, for subscription with gold outlets, et cetera, cetera, with PLA you know, just like all of the players. And you just realize that BEB is the last space that hasn't been revolutionized.

Yeah. And so we're just like, okay, let's get on [00:10:00] this very simple idea, very simple product that is about helping you managing your, what we call the cash collection. So basically how you collect your cash and then we'll take it from there. Maybe we do financing as a second step, right? So we still have financing on our.

Yeah, but it's really like about one. How do you get paid on time? Yeah. So can like, how can we finance you? And it's already like helping businesses get paid on time is already like a, a long, long and complex topic. So we were just like, kind of like, we're still getting started on this one. Yeah. 

Julian: Yeah. Do you, do you envision, you know, the financing piece helping rather than businesses kind of, I would say patch the holes in the ship versus helping them, you know, invest into either, I guess, different expansions, different features, different products, or kind of growing their businesses.

That's what the hope is for financing or, or is there other objectives? 

Alex: Yeah, that's exactly right. Julian. I think the point here was just around the idea that like, you know, if you. Like, if you're running out of money, I can lend you [00:11:00] like you know, a hundred bucks or a thousand bucks, right? Yeah. This is great.

It's gonna help you get to the next month and pay your bills, but it's, this is not going to solve like the underlying problem, which is mm-hmm how do you collect your cash? Right. So we try to apply the same idea to businesses. And it's like this pragmatic approach where we say one, you need to get a hundred percent of your turnover on your bank account.

Yeah. And a lot of companies are really focused, especially in the startup environment these days. Everyone is focused on Mr. Revenues and stuff, but there few companies are actually focused on, Hey, do we get that money on the bank account? That's what we here for. And then, and then we say, once you get to that point, you know, once you earn money on a regular basis and stuff, then maybe we can finance you.

And actually we can leverage the data that we have on the platform to provide financing. But you know, this is, this is not something we started. There's so much that needs to be done on just, you know, the communication piece of it, the collaboration the payments method, just trying to modernize the payment method that people are using.

There's already like a bunch of things to do and a [00:12:00] great business to build just out of that. So that's 

Julian: where we are. Yeah. Is, is it, do you think and I'm, I'm curious to hear your thoughts. Is it the types of customers that a certain company has that is difficult to maybe like, you know, collect payments on?

Is it the communication piece? Is it technology, where are the gaps that are difficult for a lot of companies? I'm sure a lot of our founders, you know, know because it haunts them at night, but for our audience in more. You know, what are you seeing that is common for, for the companies that you're working with that it's difficult to 

Alex: collect?

Yeah, that's a great question. I think one thing that we often say is that when you talk about late payments and travel, collecting cash, like the first thing that comes to mind is always like bad payers, right? Yeah. Even though that, like you only have bad pairs out there, or 14, 500 companies that, you know, try to optimize the cash flow so that they can.

and you know, just a bit of money and stuff. And I'm not saying that like, it doesn't exist, they are bad payers, but the truth. And we now have the data in our [00:13:00] product as we process like, you know, north of like, you know, now $2 billion, a quarter of worth of of of money. It's just that the truth is technological problem.

Right. It's just a simple idea. I'm sure you've received that. Like being a, being a cofounder as well. Right. You receive this invoice and you just like it's in the. And you just said a reminder. And basically what you dream about is just like this button. When you say I'm happy with this invoice, let's pay and let forget about it.

And that's, that's not how it is, right? When you buy a pair of shoes online, or when you buying a pair of shoes in the store, you're just gonna put up a phone and just like, put it and say, I don't know how this works, but I just paid and I'm gone. Right. And this is, it's crazy to think that like in the BTB space.

No, no, no, no. First you need to send the invoice to your account. Then you need to wait for three valid. Then they're gonna open the bank account, then they're gonna, you know, like, you know, the story, right. But it's super complex. So I think like what we are trying to explain to our users is really the fact that like, you need to provide good [00:14:00] tech, good technology to both our users.

So the merchants and the customers, so that we can streamline this overall payment experience. So there's a lot of things involved. You rightly pointed that out. Like it's about communication, you know, when you're talking about collect. It's not only about invoices and payments also, like, are you happy with the service you provide?

Are you looking in the right people at the right moment? Do you provide the right payment method? Cuz you're not gonna get paid the same way if you're in the us or in Europe and even depending on the type of customers, maybe they, some of them will still wanna pay by check, whatever you do. Some would be very happy to pay by car, but you need to have like the technology to enable that, you know, these kind of things are actually getting much more complex at when people think.

Yeah. When you think about sending an invoice, getting a. It's actually much more complex. And that's what we create with our product is just really building this hub where finance and business teams can actually collaborate to better collect their, their, their, their revenues. So that that's that's, that's the idea.

Julian: Yeah, well that, that's great to hear cuz now, now it validates a lot of the [00:15:00] issues that we have with, with collecting and it's, and you're right. It's really, you know, it's like making sure we have the right person or, you know, sending an invoice and having, giving them the chance to look over it, validate it within whoever needs to and their team.

There's a lot that goes into it. And especially when you're doing, you know, B2B, you've gotta understand that they're also waiting for payments as well. So it's a whole kind of ecosystem that, that drive. We, we talked a little bit about, you know, the, the traditional route and, and kind of the culture you were in company wise.

But now as a founder, now that you're able to build culture, you know, thinking about that. I always like to ask how do you view culture? How do you view building a successful startup? You know, you hated the cultures you were in or wanted them to change maybe a little by little in the companies that you were working with or working for, but now that you're building your own, how are you viewing that piece in terms of creating a team that's successful, productive and continues to grow?

Alex: Yeah, it's it's actually something that is like one of my key focus as a, as a, as a founder here at now. Get past the point of like, [00:16:00] is there someone who wants to buy our product? You know, yeah. When you get to this point where, you know, you're starting to think about like building a, a long lasting business, right?

You want to, you want to be here like in, in 10, 20 years time and really that's what we are after. And I think, you know, one thing that I often do and I highly encourage, like other funders to do is just like asking people that are 2, 3, 5 years ahead of. You kind of like give you feedback on mostly like the mistakes that they made.

Cause I think it's really hard to replicate like successes because oftentimes like successes, aren't the result of like accompanying effect of a lot of small things. So that's why when you have a successful business, you can't just say, oh, ah, they had this idea. So I'm just gonna copy be based. It. This is not how it works.

I think like mistakes are easier to spot. And one thing that a lot of fun just told me, and, and I really thank them for sharing that with me is the fact that like, if you don't clarify, like the values and the operating principles of your, your company early in the process, [00:17:00] it's usually really, really hard to, to scale and, and, you know, build something that is going to last.

And that has been one of our big focus over the last couple of I've been always obsessed with this. In the first days of a flow, even it was the two of us. We had values, you know, I just, like I wrote, we wrote values and it was just like, yes, this is how we're gonna hire. Yeah. And you know, as the team grew and when we went from two to 10 and now to kind of 70 people, you know, of course it changed a little bit, but there's some things where, you know, six months ago we took the time to sit down with the team and say, Hey, let's sit down and let's look at how we operate and how we want to.

And we actually change it from values to what we call operating principles, so that they're a little bit more actionable. We have five of them and it's really like, you know, the, kind of the funding principles of like how we wanna hire, how we want operate and what other kind of things that we don't wanna compromise with.

And I think it's really like, it's really, really important. And that was one of the. [00:18:00] I mean, we'll see like 10 years from now. we we'll have you again, you I'll invite you to my podcast then by time. Okay. Then we talk about this, but but I think that's, for us, it's been a major point in terms of like, structuring, like mm-hmm team and making sure that we have a clear agreement with everyone around.

So I think it's been one of the biggest, you know, most important thing for us. Yeah. 

Julian: What, what are the five principles? 

Alex: haha. It's I can give you the five principles. Of course. It's just gonna take like a bit of time to go into like all of the, the details, but I think the importance just if you 

Julian: just covered.

Yeah. Yeah. 

Alex: It's just, that's it's just that, you know, it's about like, one of them is the first one is radically on all duties. Mm-hmm covering like how people like have a strong sense of ownership out of flow. Yeah. Is another thing. There's another one called we master our craft. And it's really about this idea.

Like we are constantly improving. Yeah. There's another one about like investing in in communication and and in in honesty, that's [00:19:00] something that is really important for us in terms of how you give feedback to each other what kind of culture you want to give in terms of feedback and and and, and, and stuff.

And that's like, kind of like super, super I. There's another one called we have each other's back. So really important in terms of like, especially when you are working between engineers. Yeah. Product you know, sales success. It's like really, really, really important in terms of like, you know, you always have those teams where people are like, kind of like.

You know, just interested in their own kind of like success. Yeah. And oh yeah. This, this is definitely not something that we want here at the flow and something that like is really, really important. What is important for the team as well is just to make sure that like we understand like how, like those operating principles are lived on a day to day.

So, whether it's like, you know, in terms of fit fits misfits and stuff, and that's really like really something that is really, really, really important. So, yeah. So yeah, that's that's, that's the four, the four first one. And then the last one that we have [00:20:00] that is also super important in how we operate on a day to day basis is we work in small batches with long term in mind, which describes the fact that like, we want to iterate really.

On how we want to do things. And this is really something that actually came from spending those three months in you know, Y enter. Yeah. Where, you know, it was really like this constant struggle of like, what are you gonna deliver next week? , you know? Yeah. And and we really like that. So, you know, a lot of things covering a lot of topics.

It's hard to summarize, like the whole thing, like in in five minutes, but those five operating principles are really important. And, you know, from the first touchpoints that flow till you've been with us for like five years. 

Julian: Amazing. No, and thank you for sharing that I love kind of going through the different values and and operating principles for you on for, for different startups, because I think it speaks to the uniqueness of the business, but also how well structured and guided their, their team is.

And it seems. You know, upflow is, is an amazing place to, to work and, and be a part of tell, tell me a little bit about the traction of the [00:21:00] company, you know you mentioned earlier before the show that, you know, you were able to raise during the bridge period, and you talk about what that means. But you know, where are you at now?

Who are you working with? And what's exciting about being at upflow now. 

Alex: Yeah. It's you know, I think this is something that is quite interesting as a founder is that you always feel like super optimistic and super excited about what you were. Which is the truth, you know, like most of funders, including myself, are like very excited about what they build.

I think the one thing that is a little bit hard when you listen it from the outside, like, you know, I run a lot, so I listen to a lot of podcast as well. You always feel that like other companies are just crushing it and thing is always going like as a straight line. And it's like, it'll kill to me because like, you know, now when like people like look at it, look at flip from the outside, you know, there's only a couple of articles on tech.

And it's just like, oh, there is a C, they went to IC, there is the survey and it seems like it's a continuous line that is going up, you know the truth is that in between all of those points, there's like [00:22:00] sometimes like a year, a year and a half, and it's not a straight line, you know? So that's really something that I wanna share with everyone here and anyone listening, or if you, you know, it's, it's really hard.

It's you always have to look at the glass like half full as a funder. But it's sometimes it's empty and you need to go through this. So, you know, it's been this is, I guess, the story of any single company and stuff. So we talking a little bit about attraction. So the one interesting thing is that we started the company in Europe.

I'm French, as you can probably tell by accent, but we started in friends saying like, Hey, you know, lead payments doesn't seem to be a problem that is more. An American or a French or a whatever problem. So we said, let's start with our home market. And I think one thing that was interesting is that we spent a lot of time trying to distribute like the, what I think is the right product, but on the wrong market.

And it was not related to the fact that again, people don't have any problems to get paid in front. It was [00:23:00] more the distribution aspect of it. So typically we integrate with the finance stack of our. And we realized that like the fine stack was so fragmented in Europe, it was really, really hard to distribute at scale.

And one thing that like, you know, WEC was kind of like helping us kind of like realize was that it would make much more sense on the market. That would be much more homogeneous in terms of solution and technology that they're using. So, you know, in the us, like most companies starts off QuickBooks and then they go to NetSuite or something similar.

But basically with only a couple of integrations, you can cover like the wide majority of the market. And this is something we totally underestimated as we started outflow. And it was big learning for us because it took us too much of a long time to realize that. And actually. Pivot and just moved to where we are now in the us.

We're still selling a lot in EME, but like on these very specific segments of people that actually use those solutions. So it's been something where it took us a lot of time to find like what we call product market fit. I'm sure you're familiar with this, but it took us like much more time than when we [00:24:00] thought, you know, when we came up with the idea of like, we're gonna build a software to help companies get.

We're just like so obvious. I don't know why no one thought about this. We're gonna get rich in like two years, right? yeah. It actually like, you know, we were about to fail like the entire company, like a couple of times. So anyway we get there and once, like we entered the us market and started to also like refocus in terms of segment and doing what we call nailing our niche.

So, you know, realizing. It's probably a product that could cater for any B2B company, but to get started, we're gonna need to focus on a very specific segment where we are gonna be able to, to focus all our efforts, whether it's on marketing, on product, on sales, everything should be focused on this little segment.

And we focus. We currently focusing on beach, fast growing B2B tech companies. So to be companies like . You know, postman, echo like that, that type could be using outflow. And we focused on this segment and, and that's been really like something where we found like [00:25:00] repeatedly in our sales processes. And that's when we raised the series a and back at that time, we were a team of 13 people.

So it was really like, pretty much like very, very, very small team. And we raised our series a at that time. And since then, we've been really like, kind of. Getting to scale, right? So we grew like all teams, like whether it's engineering, product design sales to now a team of 70, and it's now done this path to, you know, kind of scaling it and getting a distribution at scale.

So it's been an exciting journey. But definitely now the straight line. Yeah. 

Julian: yeah, no, it, it never is. There's, there's always some problem or some pitfall, something that kind of blocks away. Some. Road bumps, but you know, that, that also makes the journey worth it and exciting. And, and that's, you know, where the levels of growth come in and I love hearing from, from founders.

And this is obviously one of my favorite questions and I think you'll like this question as well as we chatted before the show, but what are some of the biggest risks that upflow faces 

Alex: today? Yeah, it's I mean, it's important to, to keep that in [00:26:00] mind, because again, you know, people from the outside think that it's a, it's an easy journey.

And I think like, you know, everyone would want to build a company that would be so easy. People often forget that like there's often sleepless night about trying to understand like how to do things. Mm-hmm, how to manage or mitigate some of the risks or problems that you encounter. You know, definitely not something that I would encourage everyone to, to, to get a brochure.

If that's not your style or willingness, you know, at the moment for us, I think, you know, there's two type of things that you can think about. We're not in the stage where again, where we're trying to figure out if people want to use our product, which has been like. You know, the big thing from the very beginning.

And it's, you know, when, why she says like you know, I find some like build something people want, this is actually like, not that easy. It seems easy from the sentence perspective. It's not that easy. I think there's two things. One was about what we discussed earlier around the approaching principles and how you build like cohesive culture around your company, as it grows.

You move from a [00:27:00] stage where as a funder, you have access to everything, you just do everything because you're just such a small team. Yeah. And now you're getting to a point where, you know, you need to delegate, you need to kind of like. It's part of your culture, part of how you operate. I think that's one of the big challenge as we grow the, the, the company, which is like, kind of like the team and how it operates.

But from a very pragmatic perspective, you know, I think right now, and I think it resonates with a lot of funders. We've seen like this massive, like downturn in terms of VC funding and, you know, kind of environment. And, you know, when that started for us, we're in a very good position in terms of runway.

So having enough cash to cover, like where we are, but we, we need to be extremely careful about how we spend our money, how we allocate our resources. And I think like, It's not necessarily a risk, but it's more around like, how do you adjust to the current environment in a meaningful way without like tearing down the entire business and still pushing growth.

I think it's like kind of like finding [00:28:00] striking the right balance between those two is actually like the main focus for us right now as funders, because of course it's great. If. You don't just keep on hiring a bunch of people and everyone is just super happy about it. But if you run out of cash then that's just not gonna work.

So there's couple of options you can, you can pursue. But it's very important that like you're clear on what we call you know, having control over our destiny yeah. In a very simple way, but that's something that like, we work a lot on at the moment at out. 

Julian: Yeah, no, that that's awesome. And I appreciate you sharing it's, you know, I've heard it echoed especially within the current climate, it's just, you know, a lot of it's like tightening the screws, understanding where you are with, within your company, reducing spend, and then operating at such an efficient capacity.

And so it's, it's incredible. And I think companies that focus on that and can do that well. To see a lot of long term success. But you know, if everything goes well with upflow, where do you see what's the long term vision for the company? As it grows, it continues 

Alex: to grow. Yeah. Just, just just [00:29:00] coming back on what you've just said, what is really interesting is that, you know, there's as any problem you encounter, like in, again, looking at the glass, like half full as a good funder any crisis is also bringing like, it's good.

Like kind of like a moment. Yeah. You know, for us, it was also like a great opportunity. You say tightening this cruise, but it's also like about, you know, these are things that you could do, like in any time, right? Whether the money is just like VC money is just pouring, pouring in from this guy and stuff.

It's just like, yep. Like. Typically like the topic we work on, like having a good cash collection and making sure that like, you know, you collect your revenues or not spending money on things that you actually don't use. Like, you'd be surprised to see, like when we did this thorough review on like everything we spend, which is like, wow, do we really need this?

No, maybe not. We actually saved a lot of money. And actually like the, the cash collection rate is so important. We've seen so many companies raising millions. They actually had million sittings on the bank account of their own customers. You just like that doesn't make a lot of sense. So it's also about like getting a little bit more [00:30:00] real and more efficient.

So I think it's also really good. And you can sit with a positive positive angle. So coming back to your question around where do we see ourselves in a, in a couple of years time? I think the real vision we have behind the flow is that we wanna bring to the market, the fact. There's going to be a revolution in the B2B payment space in the next couple of years, you know?

And what I always tell the team and our users is that whether it's us or someone else bringing it, it's gonna happen. Right. There's no way that it's 2030, and I'm still opening. You know, I always get to the team with anything. When we get a check, sometimes we still have clients just paying us by check.

Yeah. We just do not allow for that. We're just like, look, this is money, right. and that seems like crazy, right? Like an artifact it's gonna change. Right. And I like, and I like to picture our trajectory as a company, other flow, where we say there is this curve and you know, I'm sure you've read the book. Crossing the cast more.

Maybe you've heard about this, but like what the early adapters, when there's an intuition, like [00:31:00] things like what are the early adapters? What the logouts are people that are the, the yield mentor. But basically the vision we have for is that we bring this new innovation to the market and we want to work with the early adopters to, we wanna work with people that are gonna modernize, how they get paid, how they, the payment method that they manage, like how they interact.

So that it's a much mature experience. And we want to be the house and the whole name for this, like this, this solutions that B2B companies will be using in the future to actually get paid. And that's really where we want to. That being said, like, we wanna make sure that like, we do this in a way that is a, is a long lasting business.

So, you know, for us, like, we've seen a lot of companies, like, especially over the last couple of years where it was like growth at all costs and type of thing. This is not something where, which we've been interested, like just from a DNA perspective, this wasn't our style. And I'd much rather have a kind of smaller, but like kind of longlasting business than something that's just like insanely.[00:32:00] 

But just, you know, go bust in a couple of month just because you are just because you are the mercy of like, you know, the next round of funding or anything. So it's something that is like in terms of vision is also like not only the product that we're gonna deliver to the market, but also how we do it is really, really important for our side of 

Julian: love.

Amazing amazing. I I'm so excited to see where you bring up flow and, and how it revolutionizes the B2B space. And I always like to ask this, I know we're, we're coming to time, but before we do, I like to ask a bonus question for my own research and, and the audience as well. But what books or, or people have influenced you the most?

Alex: Yeah, that's. I'm a big fan of books. And I actually have a big argument with my wife who asked me to get away all the management book that I had from, at home, just out of home, because she didn't like those books, but I love like reading those books and getting like, you know, just insights from others.

There's a little book that I like to recommend. It's a, it's really easy to read. It's fun. Read it's book [00:33:00] that was written by guy Kazaki. He was. One of the early guys at apple and it's super called the art of the start. I don't know if you've ever read it. I've heard of it. It's I've heard it. Yeah.

Yeah. It's really great. I really like, it's like really like you know, practical topics and stuff, and it goes from very, very practical to like, kind of like more like culture and values of your company. And it ends on, you know, why like great companies are being built by. People are just good people.

Guy Kazaki called being a mench. And this is something that I'm, you know, ultimately, like I always think that like good people. bring something to the world whether it's, you know, just for two people, 10 people, a hundred people, a thousand people. And I think that we should, that's something that we should pursue.

So, and it's easy to forget that when you just trapped into like hyper growth and raising tons of money and stuff. So this is a little book that I really, I really, really enjoy reading. And I recommend quite often to founders when I get a chance to and you know, the time [00:34:00] to, to. 

Julian: Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Alex.

It's been such a pleasure chatting with you and I, I know we could chat for hours and hours, but we'll have to do that in person. But thank you so much for being on the show. I'm, I'm hoping that you enjoyed yourself and I'm excited for our audience to listen to this episode. So thank 

Alex: you again.

Yeah, we'd welcome in in New York, Julian, when you, when you come back, very happy to have you, and thank you so much for having me happy to share that and follow up on any questions you have and good luck with. With the next episode. Thank you 

Julian: so much. Thanks, man. Yeah, I appreciate it.

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