Transforming the Global B2B Industry from Santa Cruz: a Conversation with Paystand’s Jeremy AlmondTransforming the Global B2B Industry from Santa Cruz: a Conversation with Paystand’s Jeremy Almond
by Cat Johnson
Paystand is on a mission to transform B2B payments using the internet, blockchain, and SaaS technologies. The goal is to enable enterprises of all size to reduce their time to cash, lower cost, and improve their operational efficiency.
The Santa Cruz standout is growing rapidly and catching people’s attention. The company has been featured in TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and more.
But all the attention is peripheral to the company’s focus.
“The company is growing right now and we’re in a space where there’s a lot of interest and attention,” says Paystand co-founder and CEO Jeremy Almond. “Our culture, though, is really about show, don’t tell. Our company has been pretty heads-down building a great product, a great business and great customers. That’s fundamental.”
Almond adds that they’re always happy to have recognition but that seeing the company grow, seeing customers served well and recruiting talent is priority.
“That, to me,” he says, “is true north.”
Blockchain is a hot topic and Almond has built his company on the somewhat puzzling technology. He believes that it’s here to stay and that it will have “material impact on our society and economy.”
But Almond says this will take time. He compares it to the internet, which took over 20 years from when it was first invented to when iconic companies, products and services changed how we do things.
The road to change is particularly long in the financial services world.
“Financial services, by nature, is conservative, it’s risk averse—as it should be,” Almond explains. “It’s not the solution to everything, just like the internet wasn’t the solution to everything. But it is a completely new set of technology and new way for us to think about democratizing core parts of our economic infrastructure.”
The big picture for Paystand is to bring the way financial services are handled into the 21st century. Almond explains that although consumers are starting to live in a cashless society, that shift hasn’t happened on the commercial side, which still relies heavily on paper checks, clunky, dated systems and multi-step processes.
“The money movement, which is the part that really does fuel the company,” he says, “is using manual systems that, at best case have been designed pre-internet and, at worst case, have been designed in the Middle Ages.”
While Paystand uses blockchain to transform the financial services industry, it isn’t in a blockchain silo. People using the services don’t have to enter a new economy, blockchain is just, as Almond puts it, “woven into the fabric of the company.”
“The way we look at it, blockchain is the enabling technology but ultimately our goal for our customers is to speed up their time to cash, automate their process and lower their transaction cost,” he says. “Blockchain is just how that happens.”
As a comparison, Almond points out that if you built a company in the late-‘90s, you’d be remiss not to build it on the internet. Blockchain can be used in a similar way. Paystand is a company servicing finance departments that operate with banks and with U.S. dollars—it just happens that blockchain is under the hood.
“What the blockchain will do,” says Almond, “is secure the digital payment. It just happens to be a better way for control, authenticity and security behind the scenes, but the money movement is still a bank money movement process. They work symbiotically.”
Paystand is currently testing a new AP (accounts payable) product, which is a digital, automated way to pay bills to other businesses. Almond and his team wanted to make the entry point easier for companies of all size. Paystand’s core product, for accounts receivable, is “really great for fast-growing companies or more mature enterprises,” says Almond, but may be “a little bit more upstream” for some small businesses.
The AP product is designed for businesses that are in Santa Cruz. It’s a free product that makes it easy for small businesses to pay their bills in an automated way without having to cut paper checks or use a clunky banking process.
Supporting Santa Cruz businesses and the local community is a priority for Almond. He likes the enthusiasm in the Santa Cruz tech scene and the fact that we’re starting to see more classes of companies grow and get critical mass and validation nationally and globally. He sees the combination of local talent and Santa Cruz’s natural beauty and lifestyle as a signal that companies can build iconic, world-class companies here.
“That’s why we continue to be really boorish on building the company in Santa Cruz.”
Almond wants to put 1,000 new jobs in Santa Cruz on his way to building the best B2B financial service company in the world. Paystand is currently hiring, with roles open in numerous departments. The company is positioned nicely to attract and retain talent with an offering to “build an iconic company...in a place we all love.”
For Santa Cruz to catapult forward as a tech center, Almond says we need “a couple of companies with breakout success. We need some companies to really knock it out of the park because when one company knocks it out of the park, it tends to create and feed other companies.”
He hopes that Paystand can be one of those companies, emphasizing that they have great investors and a great team.
But he cautions that the company is still in the early days and has a long way to go.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he says.
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