“Every company knows their revenue in real-time. But they all struggle to do the same with costs. Only at the end of the month does each department submits its expenses. Until then, the CFO has no idea of the real-time spend of the company,” says Rajith Shaji, the Co-Founder of Volopay, describing a universal problem. On top of this, any business dealing with international transactions also struggle with high foreign exchange fees.
But it doesn’t need to be this way. Since its founding in 2019, Volopay has been on a mission to build a financial control centre for modern businesses. The Singapore-based technology company combines business accounts, corporate cards, bill payments, expense reimbursements, credit, and accounting automation into a single platform. Thus, enabling businesses to eliminate painful admin work and have unprecedented control over their spending.
Understanding the Volopay platform
Within most organisations, finances are processed manually with painstaking administrative work. Only after a chain of emails travels between managers are budgets approved. Finance teams have to ask employees to submit invoices repeatedly. Dangerously, there’s no clear indication of the total expenditure until the end of the month. This poor visibility and lack of control mean an organisation could quickly be leaking money, and nobody would even know it.
To tackle these issues, Volopay offers a purpose-built spend management platform. It’s a financial centre with a robust set of features for modern business. These include prepaid multi-currency corporate cards, affordable bank transfers, automated payments and expense and accounting software. Collectively, they help companies of all sizes solve the problems they face with spend management.
To better understand how each piece of the Volopay puzzle works, it helps to start with the most visible aspect. Managers can use the platform to assign prepaid multi-currency corporate cards to employees with a simple click. These are available as both physical and virtual cards. Importantly, managers can set spending rules for each of them when assigning these cards. Further, Volopay offers automatic receipt matching in real-time, which means managers can track expenses in real-time without employees submitting receipts.
Going one step further, Volopay eliminates having multiple business accounts. Instead, the platform allows businesses to open corporate bank accounts in EUR, GBP, AUD, and USD. Then, all it takes is a few clicks to get started and manage them. Furthermore, it allows businesses to transfer money to 130+ countries using SWIFT and non-swift payment methods at low rates. The platform even offers a flexible credit line that meets the needs of both startups and huge enterprises.
Finally, Volopay seamlessly integrates with any accounting system, be it Netsuite, Xero, Quickbooks, or anything else. Thereby allowing the financial processes companies have in place to be streamlined and automated for greater efficiency. Thus, eliminating painful administrative work while offering more control and visibility over expenses at all levels of the organisation.
Volopay in action – Helping modern businesses succeed
Since its launch, several large and small companies have adopted Volopay. The startup’s customers include several names such as Antler, Cuckoo, Dathena, Fireshot, and more. The familiar story is how the platform and its advanced features have reshaped spend management.
For instance, Black Pine Executive Consulting, a boutique consulting firm in Singapore, struggled to monitor the travel expenses of its employees. Like many other organisations, they issued advance payments to employees for business trips. But there was no process nor a budgeting system to account for expenses, which resulted in overspending and underspending by employees. After integrating Volopay, Black Pine issued physical corporate cards with a pre-existing budget and spending rules set by management. These cards automatically synced with their accounting software, and real-time receipt matching meant Black Pine had streamlined its spend management significantly.
Similarly, Lynx Analytics, a Singapore-based AI and data science solutions provider, faced key spending management challenges. It struggled to manage several SaaS subscriptions as they were all paid via one company card. If the company changed the card, billing information had to be updated on all these subscriptions. Further, it was a struggle for expenditure and enforce budgets. When Lynx switched to Volopay, the company issued virtual cards with a corresponding budget for each department. Each of these virtual cards can be activated with a few clicks and similarly deactivated if an irregularity is found without affecting the subscriptions of other teams. Thus, reducing the dependency on a single card.
The meteoric rise of Volopay
The initial spark for Volopay came to Rajith after a business trip when he was reconciling his expenses. “It was a nightmare,” he recalls, “Every time I travelled, my expenses ran up to thousands of dollars. The company would, of course, reimburse me. But that required me to submit invoices for everything I spent that the finance department then reviewed. Even after that, it could take months! So it was a long, painful process.”
After going through the process several times, Rajith was determined to find a solution. A career in product development in the finance industry had given him the expertise to identify that technology could fix this problem. The next step was to find a technical co-founder and build an MVP. Then in 2019, Rajith and Rajesh had their fateful meeting where the duo decided to jump headfirst into the world of entrepreneurship. Thus, Volopay was born.
The duo had decided to set up their base of operations in Singapore very early on. The initial hurdle to cross for the Indian founders was to secure a visa, which they obtained after getting accepted into the Antler accelerator programme. Furthermore, it was also accepted into Y Combinator and the Bolt fintech accelerator programme by Nium. Collectively, they offered access to funding, access to networks, and any other support Volopay needed to expand. The doors of the island nation were now open.
Soon after, they began approaching potential customers with their MVP. While it wasn’t smooth sailing, the duo sold the promise of Volopay. Describing those early days, Rajith shared, “Not long after we landed, we met a potential customer and gave them a demo. Unfortunately, there were bugs in the software, and we thought we’d bombed it. But at the end of it, the client saw the product’s promise and wanted it badly! It was our moment of market validation.” A few months later, the duo had fixed the bugs. Not long after, that visionary customer (Black Pine Executive Consulting) immediately adopted Volopay and saw its spending culture transform.
From these humble beginnings, Volopay has grown rapidly. It now has offices in Singapore, Australia, and Bangkok. It’s got a long list of large and small clients across the region. Having closed its seed funding round earlier this year, Volopay raised $2.1 million and is poised to grow to even greater heights. The funding round was led by Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, with participation from Soma Capital, CP Ventures, Y Combinator, VentureSouq, the founders of Razorpay, Antler and other angel investors.
The future of Volopay
When asked about their future plans, Rajith stated, “We’re committed to simplifying the B2B payment experience for companies across the APAC region. It’s a space in its early days and is primed for growth.” Elaborating on this, he pointed to the evolution of accounting. It all started with books, desktop computers, and the cloud with apps like Xero and Quickbooks. “The next stage is spend management where we combine accounting and payments,” he explains, “But most companies are still on cloud accounting. So there’s a lot of room for growth until we hit that point of inflection.”
Reaching that point of inflection in the APAC region will require investment into fintech infrastructure. In developed economies such as the US and European nations, it’s easy for a fintech startup to get up and running. Whereas, in the APAC region, it varies drastically between countries. This is one of the most considerable barriers fintech companies face to expand into new markets. But Rajith welcomes this challenge to fill the infrastructure gaps stating, “In markets like the Philippines, we have to work with banks and other stakeholders. So it’s a very ambitious challenge for us as we expand our platform across the region. But if we can do it here, then we can easily achieve our vision to become a global leader in spend management software.”