Startup Perspectives – Playter Pay

For the first in a series of Startup Perspective interviews, we caught up with Jamie Beaumont, founder of Playter.

Treading the line between FinTech and SaaS, Jamie and his team are on a journey to build “the Klarna of recruitment”.

Name: Jamie Beaumont
Role: Founder
Company: Playter/ Offerd

Tell us in a sentence what Playter Pay (formerly Fuel) does.

We allow SMEs to pay for hires through recruitment agencies over 6 months, while the agency gets paid on day 1. Simple.

Where did the idea come from?

I’ve been heavily involved in the running of recruitment companies in the past and what I noticed was that agencies get a hard time when finding finance.

Even when they do, it’s expensive and risky. On the other side of the coin, from speaking with SMEs, I knew that paying large recruitment fees was tough. So I went about finding a solution for both parties.

Tell us about your startup journey so far.

Like a lot of founders, I’ve been through the rough and smooth.

I went full time on my startup Journey in Feb 2019 (I can’t believe it’s nearly 2 years ago!). I’ve learned that your idea means nothing and that unless the market tells you so, your product has no use.

So far, I’ve raised just under £1.4m in funding overall for two products, Offered and Playter. I’m just about to make my first full time hire and have worked with too many outsourced tech companies (most terrible) until I found Evovle, by far the most amazing tech partner I’ve known.

Our next steps will be taking Playter to market and proving the concept of scalable split payments in the recruitment industry. I’ve been through a global recession and pandemic, whilst running a business in an industry that has been hit hard so that fact that I’ve got through it so far, is promising. 

So you’re funded partly through equity capital and partly through debt capital; does it hurt to give up a piece of your business?

No, 100% of nothing is 0. I still can’t understand founders who have an obsession with keeping equity when it all adds up to nothing. That said, it depends on your model. The injection of cash into Playter and Offerd has meant that we can grow whilst working on our growth strategies at the same time.

The overall value of Playter will be worth far more because of our fundraising and we couldn’t have done it without investment. 

What does success look like, for you as a founder?

This is obviously split into personal and professional and always has to be, because as a Founder, your life IS the business. 

I want to be able to scale the business to the point where we’re a profitable FinTech that is growing 100% YoY at minimum. To be able to build the business to a value in the multi millions, whilst having a fantastic team and a product that has been widely used would be a great achievement. 

Personally, I’m a simple man. I’m not flashy so a nice big house, big garden, a wine cellar and the means to make sure I can look after my family is all I’m aiming for. 

This isn’t your first startup; do you think it will be your last?

Absolutely not. I couldn’t think of anything worse than giving up having a startup.

It’s stressful and causes huge amounts of anxiety, but I wouldn’t swap it for the world. As soon as this is over (good or bad), I’ll be moving onto my next venture, whatever that’ll be. 

Richard Branson believes that everyone can be an entrepreneur. Do you think everyone has what it takes?

Rubbish. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and being an entrepreneur has become too ‘fashionable’ when in fact it comes down to skillset.

There are a million things I CANNOT do, because I lack the skills. To be an entrepreneur you need to be able to wear 10 hats at the same time, have a cool head at all times, think about the business (not yourself) and live in fear comfortably.

It’s certainly not meant for everyone but because being a founder is now ‘cool’, our ‘idols’ want to tell us that anything is possible. That’s just wrong. 

Has Covid made scaling a business more difficult, or is it offering opportunities?

In times of peril, there will always be opportunity.

I created Playter during the national lockdown, at a time when businesses were going bust, people losing their jobs and economies at a complete standstill. There will always be opportunity in any market, but it’s obviously more difficult at the moment.

What makes it more difficult is society’s uncertainty as to what is happening. It slows decision making, makes businesses nervous and buying patterns traditionally change.

For Playter, it’s meant that I can create a business model that is needed in the industry, for Offerd, it’s been harder as recruitment agencies were essentially closed for months over the summer.

What advice would you offer a budding Founder looking to launch a business in 2021?

Don’t rush it. Ask the market about your idea and don’t be too afraid to get negative feedback. At the end of the day, your opening idea will probably be average, what makes it great is listening to market feedback and iterating to match the needs of your demographic and users. 

I wish someone would have told me just how hard it was, but not just that, just how many things you miss out on.

Working on weekends, holidays take a backseat, good luck getting a mortgage… All the things no one really tells you. But lastly, if you do go for it, enjoy the ride. It’s the single most amazing thing you’ll ever do. Take the bad times, celebrate the good and never EVER give up.

Favourite book or Podcast to recommend to other Founders?

I’m not actually a big book of Podcast fan, I find them distracting. Everyone has advice to give and there’s only so much conflicting advice a founder can take until you end up running in circles.

So, Ricky Gervais’ and Karl Pilkingtons podcast has always been my favourite, it helps me wind down and get out of my own head. 

Keep an eye out for the next interview in our Startup Perspective series over the coming weeks.