03 Sep 2020 | 11.41 am
Soldo Finds Fintech Niche In Streamlined Spending
Interview with CEO Carlo Gualandri
03 Sep 2020 | 11.41 am
Every employee can have a Mastercard payment card using the Soldo platform, writes Robert O’Brien
Fintech company Soldo has been filling its coffers with big fundraisers to finance Europe-wide expansion. CEO Carlo Gualandri can think of a few reasons why investors are interested. “We’re boring but we’re also stable and necessary, and we’re in a market that is willing to pay,” he says
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in London, Soldo has developed a smart payment card system for businesses. In most firms, the company plastic is reserved for a handful of top executives, and usually it’s a credit card. With Soldo, everybody who is incurring expense on behalf of the company can have a Mastercard debit card, each one with individual spending limits.
“Thanks to integration with your accounting software, we make it easy and quick to manage and reconcile all company expenses,” Gualandri explains. “We’re here to complement the traditional business credit card with more advanced and innovative financial services.
“You can give Soldo cards to some or every employee, to entire teams or even contractors, deciding who can access company money and the rules they need to follow to spend it. Through the mobile app and web console, managers can establish budgets and rules, track spending in real time and instantly transfer funds to all card holders.”
Integration with company accounts is easier with some systems than others. Soldo claims it has “the world’s most complete API connection” to Xero, sending transactions daily via an automatic bank feed. For QuickBooks and Sage, it’s a case of exporting transaction data from Soldo in a variety of file formats and then importing them to the office accounts system.
There are two price plans: an entry-level plan that costs €5 per card per month and a premium option with more features for €9 per month. “Most competing banking products are single-user programmes but Soldo is a multi-user solution,” says Gualandri. “It can manage spend for an entire organisation with as many users as you want. If you compare us with other solutions, we don’t just handle payments but everything that comes after the payment too.”
Based in London, Soldo put down roots in Dublin in 2019 to avail of passporting rights to sell across Europe from Ireland in case the UK and the EU fail to reach agreement on financial services during ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Securing Central Bank of Ireland approval was a tortuous process, though Gualandri says IDA Ireland was helpful. “Securing the e-money license in Ireland was more challenging than in the UK but we used it as an opportunity to raise our own standards,” he adds.
Since being established, Soldo has raised upwards of $80m, including a c.$60m funding round in 2019, which was led by Battery Ventures and Dawn Capital. It helps that Gualandri is a seasoned entrepreneur, having previously founded ventures in online banking, gaming and advertising. Ongoing software development is not cheap, and localisation for different markets is costly too.
“Raising money is like having debt – it’s better if you can create value without needing the money. However, we built something that requires a lot of investment and we still have a heavy cost base because of how many people we employ.”
Soldo’s platform is available to Irish businesses but the company’s primary focus is expanding across mainland Europe, where it has signed up c.60,000 customers.
“Our core markets are the UK, Italy and Ireland but we wanted to be pan-European from the very first day,” says Gualandri. “We currently have localised products for additional markets that include Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands, and we should have a localised product ready for Sweden in the summer.”
Photo: Soldo founder and CEO Carlo Gualandri