Payhawk & Visa Innovation Program: “They helped us with the execution and the validation phase on 13 markets”

“We started talking to Visa when we actually still didn’t have a product. We were looking for ways to do things that were not possible before and to open connections that are very hard to make if you are not part of that kind of community,” says Hristo Borisov, the co-founder and CEO of Payhawk.  The core product of the founded in 2018 company Payhawk is an expense management software integrated with a company card that we are targeting to small and medium-sized businesses across Europe.

It was started 18 months ago and for this year and a half it managed to close two financing rounds bringing the total amount of investments to €3.5M. While being part of the Visa Innovation Program, Payhawk managed to also attract as business angel Mark Antipof, the former Chief Commercial Officer for Europe at Visa, and grow in 15 markets leveraging the Visa infrastructure.

“We currently have customers from 15 different countries and we are serving more than a thousand employees traveling across the globe with Payhawk,” summarized their traction Borisov. 

The role of big and established brands in the development of startups, according to Borisov is exactly that – they have a lot of local presence and they really understand the specifics of the local markets. “I think this is something every startup can benefit from when they are building their go-to-market strategy. They helped us not only with the execution but also with the validation phase on the market, to actually understand where and what are the challenges of SMEs when they are issuing their company cards,” he says. 

Just a few days ago, Payhawk announced a strategic partnership with Visa and the German payment provider Wirecard, which will offer debit cards to companies in 13 European countries. The first target markets are the UK, Germany, Spain, and Bulgaria.  Payhawk’s customers across Europe can now use virtual and physical Visa card, which can then be used anywhere Visa is accepted, in-store and online, as well as for cash withdrawals at ATMs. The new partnership allows the startup to offer more efficient exchange rates and card fees to their customers. For its Bulgarian customers, the company even offers free foreign currency transactions for accounts in Euro.

“Visa is committed to supporting FinTechs advance their potential and get to market quickly, so they are ready to provide innovations that move the world forward every day – especially in current times,” says Jana Lvova, Head of Fintech Delivery at Visa in an official statement.

“Payhawk can serve customers across the EEA countries even today, but with this new Visa relationship, we are able to offer more competitive cards that help us position as the preferred business card for SMEs for certain markets like the UK, Germany, Spain, and Bulgaria,” explains to us Hristo Borisov.

In the next months, Payhawk will be focusing exactly on this – strengthening positions in these four core markets, and further enhancing their offering on its way to becoming the biggest bank that doesn’t hold a cent.

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