Interview - Pieter de Haas
“Joining the experienced and super ambitious Payaut team provided me with the full entrepreneurial experience while having a small team, great idea and funding, already in place.”
How did you end up working for Payaut?
I was introduced to Ernst (van Niekerk, Founder & Chief Executive Officer) by a mutual friend who knew that I was looking for something completely new. Starting my own company from scratch and leaving the ‘safe’ corporate world was my original plan. But I have always viewed this as a huge risk.
However, joining the experienced and super ambitious Payaut team provided me with the full entrepreneurial experience while having a small team, great idea and funding, already in place. It felt like the perfect middle ground. That was why I decided to join Payaut as the Chief Commercial Officer.
What first attracted you to Payaut?
The team, the ambition and the product… It just felt like a great opportunity.
How did you find moving from the corporate world to a start-up?
I’ve now been working at Payaut for seven months and so far, there’s not been a single moment where I’ve regretted my decision. I learned a lot at Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser, for which I’m very thankful. But I never had the feeling that the decisions I was making were having a huge impact on the future of the company.
This is now the opposite. I now set the direction and make decisions with the rest of the team that can make or break the success of Payaut. Networking is one of the more crucial things I’m currently doing. I like it and I didn’t do a lot of it in the past. It happens at the larger companies but mostly internally and with the main objective to drive your success within the organisation. These days, I’m meeting so many new people from different organisations and they can all play their part in the success of Payaut. This gives me lots of energy!
Coming from selling Gillette blades and Dishwashing tablets,
did you know anything about payments?
No, nothing! And it was really strange completely moving out of my comfort zone. In my previous jobs, I knew almost all the answers to the clients’ questions but at Payaut I didn’t know a thing. When I started working for Payaut, I could tell the story of Payaut, by repeating what others in the team were saying. But I lacked a true understanding of what Payaut is about.
Today, I look back at that period as a fun time that had a steep learning curve.
I was afraid to receive questions, while today I like to think that I can explain most of the situations brought up at the table, quite effectively.
How do you start a typical day at Payaut?
After I drop the kids off at daycare, I start my day at home, or at the office, always with a coffee and I take a look at my agenda. Then I take a look at the Payaut dashboard to get a business update and to see which prospects we’re speaking with that day or which potential clients we need to have a chat with.
I normally also join our stand-up at 9.15am, where the whole team meets virtually to stay in touch with each other, which is even more important now as we’re all working from home.
What are your day-to-day priorities and responsibilities?
As the Chief Commercial Officer, I’m responsible with my team for Payaut’s revenue. This means a lot of calls with existing customers but also exploring new leads. On top of that, I’m also leading the marketing to drive awareness of Payaut across the marketplaces and their stakeholders. This starts with a good brand strategy and ends with full execution. It sounds more complicated than it is! But we are very pragmatic and we try to keep things simple with super-high quality.
Are you currently working on any big projects or goals?
We’re currently in the process of defining our strategy for expansion into other European markets. We’re also preparing the hiring process for new sales, PR and marketing people and doing all the market research for this, so that we can start sooner rather than later.
Any big wins for you at Payaut?
Signing my first client was of course the biggest win. And I had my one idea that worked very well! We sent 250 coffee mugs to marketplaces and this way we invited ourselves to have a (virtual) coffee with them. This introduction resulted in a couple of interesting leads and contacts.
What’s on your wish list for the next 10 years with Payaut?
I believe that our product will be one of the leading payment solutions for online marketplaces and platforms. This means that we are working closely with some of the leading global marketplaces. But more importantly, I want to have fun and build and be part of a successful company.
“There is no paved path ahead. You end up discovering new opportunities and challenges every day.”
What’s your favourite thing about working for Payaut?
To start with, there are so many marketplaces choosing our product!
On top of that though, there is no paved path ahead. You end up discovering new opportunities and challenges every day. A must-have is a can-do mentality otherwise it’s hard to succeed. That’s what I like the most – when we find our way to discovering solutions together as a team!
How do you unwind from work?
This is now especially harder than ever as Covid is forcing us to work from home. While normally you have 20 minutes in the car where you can unwind, you now tend to switch between your job and private life almost straight away.
But I unwind by doing sports nearly every day like golf, padel tennis, squash and running. I also take a lot of phone calls while walking outside and this helps me to unwind too.