Meet Ryan Edwards – Pritchard CEO @ Cape
In a snapshot, tell us who is Cape and the services you offer?
Cape is the first expense management platform designing smart business cards to put money back in your pocket & time back on the clock.
Cape empowers Founders and Finance Leaders to set up guard rails around how company funds are spent by employees so they can manage and reduce their burn rate.
Our platform aims to provide configurable budgets, seamless accounting integration, instantaneous receipt matching and more. We enable our customers to stay in full control with configurable payment guardrails that are customised to a company’s expense policy. Ensuring employees are empowered with access to funds whilst every cent on every card is managed efficiently.
To date what is Cape’s biggest achievement?
Building a business is always a long journey, it can often feel like there’s a never ending to-do list before you can launch.
With Cape in particular, given we’re changing not 1, but 2 outdated industries in expense management and corporate cards the size and complexity of the platform we’re building is huge and meant there was a long build out phase of 18 months before we could launch.
With all of that in mind, going from zero customers to our first was actually a really monumental moment for me and all of us in the team.
Putting all that aside, we’ve had a great month on the recognition front, so I’d also focus there. Having just recently launched we were named this week by Wealth and Finance International as the ‘Emerging Fintech of the Year’. We’ve also had our amazing CFO & COO being named as a finalist in Female Fintech Leader of the year at the prestigious Australian Finnies.
Not only launching a business, but scaling a Startup during a pandemic, what was learnt?
The financial and resource capital demands of any startup can vary drastically. And given what I mentioned above, this poised a real challenge as we were so nascent in our journey with no proven metrics or execution proof points to support a fundraise when we started on Cape and equally had no mechanism to monetize customers.
Speaking to investors during the pandemic their priority was to reserve funds to support their portfolio companies. It meant we had to bootstrap Cape much longer than intended, which came with personal sacrifices that most Founders would have felt at some point.
On a positive, feeling overlooked for a sustained long period of time I believe breeds resilience and a real underdog mentality.
Having landed in Australia during the pandemic I didn’t have much of a network of people to turn to for help. Instead I leaned into my network back in the UK to help us build Cape.
Becoming a remote first business from day dot might have been driven by the pandemic and my own circumstances, but we’ve realised it’s a real competitive advantage and it’s something we’re committed to keeping.
All in all, the key lesson has been about adopting a scarcity mindset and having to be creative in how I approach building a business.
So far what have been the key drivers of success for Cape?
From a strategy perspective I’ve spent a lot of my time articulating the product vision and setting cultural standards. This started with refining our mission statement so that its clear that we’re focused on building “complete expense nirvana” for our customers, with a vision to save Australian modern businesses $1 billion per year, which will be achieved with our core values of SAVE (Stronger is smarter, Actions need ownership, Visible for all, Empathy not ego). Developing our values has ensured our culture is more carefully created and guided.
As a startup grows, your role shifts pretty quickly from delivering tasks to building a team. And with that in mind, the other thing that has defined our success with launching such a simple yet complex software platform has been our ability to directly attract some of the most talented builders in the fintech & broad software space. What’s more, we’ve managed to hire everyone directly from referrals from within our networks.
What can we expect to see from Cape in the upcoming year? Any exciting news to share?
We’ve already announced a significant pre-seed fundraise this year, and that has allowed us to grow the team to 24 people strong.
With that in place we’re now focused on our North Star of achieving $1 billion in savings per annum for modern businesses. We’ve got a busy year ahead with product releases focused on helping our customers cut wasteful spending. Whilst achieving more with less resources when it comes to financial administration with accounting automation.
Be sure to sign up to our Beta platform to get first access to our cards and latest features.