This week on our Founder Feature series we are talking to financial wellbeing advocate James Herbert, CEO at Hastee – an earnings on demand platform championing financial freedom.
Hastee has been adopted by some leading companies and organisations, such as the NHS, London City Airport, Kronos and more. These businesses have broken the typical traditions of monthly pay cycle to opt for a more flexible earnings solution.
Q: Could you tell us about your company and what you’re striving to achieve?
A: Hastee is an Earnings on Demand platform providing a new payment solution to help businesses improve their financial wellbeing offering. Hastee strives to champion financial freedom and recognises that traditional monthly pay cycles restrict this. Our 2019 Workplace Wellbeing study found that finance-induced stress can have detrimental effects on workers’ mental and physical health as well as performance. Hastee strives to make earnings more flexible, offering workers a motivating ‘effort-to-reward cycle’, breaking the rigidities of current monthly pay.
Q: What made you decide to take on the challenge of founding your business?
A: Whilst I was at university I had set up a business staffed by students and found that workers had liquidity issues which affected their ability to even turn up to work. As workers were limited to monthly pay, they were struggling to pay bills and make work commutes. People were not able to access the money they had already earned, instead that month. Liquidity is a widespread issue faced by people in all industries and many people turn to high-cost methods of financing. Hastee offers agility as an Earnings on Demand platform. It allows workers to access the portion of their pay that they have already accrued, in advance, without any interest payments, fines, or credit checks.
Q: What is the core technology driving your start-up’s product/service?
A: I have to credit Peter Ingram, CTO of Hastee and former CTO of Addison Lee for the technology innovation behind Hastee. Hastee is built on a cloud-native platform and can easily be integrated with other technologies making the onboarding process much more seamless for HR to implement. Hastee is also built to support organisations who may not have a solid system in play as our technology can automatically extract data from various sources in the business to offer Earnings on Demand to employees.
As well as being dynamic, Hastee technology is safe and secure, protecting both the business and their workers, as workers can only withdraw what they have earned that month. There is also background monitoring of unusual behaviour. Hastee also supports money management as the technology will automatically prompt empathetic assistance, directing users to free helpful resources if it seems they need it.
Q: What’s most exciting about your traction to date?
A: Onboarding new customers and seeing the success they’re experiencing after adopting the Earnings on Demand solution. It’s difficult to introduce a new payment solution as people are so used to the traditional monthly pay cycle but it’s extremely rewarding when workers and business have improved their financial wellbeing through Hastee and our agile Earnings on Demand solution.
Q: Tell us about some of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome?
A: One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome is learning balance – in my personal and professional life. Being able to balance competing demands for my time and resource across my growing business and young family has been a true test and an ongoing battle. Although I wouldn’t say it’s something I have fully overcome, through trust in my team, strict time management and ongoing compromise I have been able to work on my personal and professional development through obstacles.
Q: What has surprised you in your journey so far?
A: I was particularly surprised about people’s initial perception of Hastee and their understanding of our Earnings on Demand offering. I thought people would immediately understand and relate to how our payment solution works and how it can help both employers and their workers. I had perhaps been influenced by the conversations I had with investors, who generally got it straight away. But Earnings on Demand is new and people are understandably cautious, so the awareness and education process is taking much longer than I anticipated.
What’s great is, seeing people experience real value from us which also motivates me to make Earnings on Demand a more widespread solution to society’s liquidity issues.
Q: Can you tell us who your mentors and heroes are, and what impact they’ve had on you?
A: I’ve been very lucky to have a great mentor throughout much of my career in Geoff Unwin. Having mentored me from early in my journey, being the first investor in my first business, an early investor in Hastee, and I’m proud to have him as a Chairman at Hastee. Geoff has both supported and challenged me by asking questions that I hadn’t thought of. His dedication to Hastee and continuous presence throughout my professional career has allowed me to take a step back from the day to day to look at the big picture and develop strategy appropriately. He has continued to mentor and advise me – Geoff is a big part of why I’m here now. Thank you Geoff!
Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to budding innovators taking the same journey?
A: Work smart AND hard. It’s no coincidence that top athletes train as hard as they do.
As such, find something that you are passionate enough about so that you actually enjoy the hard work and processes that come with building a successful business. Being passionate about what you do will fuel those long hours and make all the effort worthwhile.
Learn more about how Hastee is championing financial wellbeing at www.hastee.com