Will Bill.com and Intuit Lead Small Business FinTech Space?

Rene Lacerte

In Episode #668, Nathan interviews René Lacerte. He’s the founder and CEO of Bill.com, the leading business payments company. He’s a fintech industry vettor and has been working to simplify business payments since 1999, when he founded PayCycle, which was later acquired by Intuit in 2009. Bill.com is now working to help bridge the digital divide between banks and businesses by partnering with 3 of the top US banks and 45% of the top hundred accounting firms. He believes that banks play a critical role in the advancement of fintech. While technology advancement since Silicon startups are divided by or driving much of the industry change, René believes that banks are and will remain the center of the financial universe for quite some time.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The Advantage
  • What CEO do you follow? – Pete Kight
  • Favorite online tool? — Dropbox
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 6-7
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Don’t stress over the hard decisions”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:22 – Nathan introduces René to the show
  • 02:07 – Andy from Wealthfront disagrees that banks will remain to be the center of the universe
  • 02:27 – Bill.com makes close to $40B a year
    • 02:32 – The average transaction is $1700 to $2000
  • 03:16 – “We make doing business really easy”
  • 03:17 – Bill.com automates the back office of businesses
    • 03:24 – They take all the paperwork, workflow, payments and integration with the accounting software
  • 03:40 – Bill.com charges per seat, per subscription and transaction fees
  • 04:15 – The subscription model is their main revenue stream
  • 04:36 – Bill.com charges .49 cents for every electronic payment and $1.49 for paper
  • 05:30 – The fintech space is a natural viral coefficient space
  • 06:00 – Bill.com had $110M from venture capital
  • 06:12 – René was 32 when he started PayCycle, in 1999
  • 06:20 – René worked in Intuit prior to PayCycle and stayed there for 5 years
  • 06:34 – René had some experience innovating products from Intuit
  • 06:54 – René grew up in a family of entrepreneurs
    • 07:04 – One of René’s grandfather’s businesses is an automatic data processing company
    • 08:26 – René’s father went back to college to understand more about business
  • 09:16 – The idea of Bill.com is that there’s a better way to take advantage of technology to make payroll easier
  • 09:58 – Bill.com helps define and automate the back office
  • 10:06 – PayScale does online payroll and started with household payroll, which Intuit doesn’t want to do
    • 10:47 – PayScale raised $150K
    • 11:23 – PayScale was acquired by Intuit for $170M
  • 12:21 – Average number of paying customers of Bill.com
  • 13:16 – “If we get customers active and get them using it, they don’t churn”
    • 13:26 – They’re active when they already have paid for Bill.com
    • 14:04 – Average customer pay per month is $100
    • 14:15 – You can try it for the first month, for free
    • 15:00 – Bill.com automates some of their tools to make the customer feel that they need the product
    • 15:18 – Bill.com does A/B testing to check how they can get their customers engaged
    • 15:52 – Bill.com is adding thousands of new businesses a month
  • 16:56 – René tracks how many months the payback will be when it comes to CAC
    • 17:23 – Payback target is 10-13 months
  • 18:07 – LTV is around 5 years
  • 18:48 – René has raised $50M
  • 19:39 – René’s strategy is to maintain a strong relationship with VC
  • 19:53 – Team size is 225
  • 20:10 – Bill.com was launched in 2008
  • 21:07 – Bill.com isn’t selling anything and not partnered with anybody, today
  • 22:45 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. It is important to engage your customers.
  2. Banks are and will remain to be the center of the financial universe.
  3. Hard decisions and their consequences will pass, so don’t let them bother you too much.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • Organifi – The juice was Nathan’s life saver during his trip in Southeast Asia
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Freshbooks – Nathan doesn’t waste time so he uses Freshbooks to send out invoices and collect his money. Get your free month NOW
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives