marketer of the month

EPISODE 193: Marketer of the Month Podcast with Benoit Menardo

Hey there! Welcome to the Marketer Of The Month blog!

We recently interviewed Benoit Menardo for our monthly podcast – ‘Marketer of the Month’! We had some amazing insightful conversations with Benoit and here’s what we discussed about –

1. Focus on empowering employees by allowing access to earned wages, and fostering financial responsibility and control.

2. Critical reliance on payroll data integration for instant calculations and seamless service delivery.

3. Employee-controlled data sharing ensures privacy and service efficacy, with strict opt-in protocols.

4. Exposure to global trends in AI and blockchain, offering strategic insights despite indirect relevance to PayFlow’s market.

5. API adoption, open banking, and instant transactions are pivotal for service efficiency and user satisfaction.

6. Navigating regulatory landscapes by partnering with compliant financial service providers to avoid direct financial regulation.

About our host:

Dr. Saksham Sharda is the Chief Information Officer at He specializes in data collection, analysis, filtering, and transfer by means of widgets and applets. Interactive, cultural, and trending widgets designed by him have been featured on TrendHunter, Alibaba, ProductHunt, New York Marketing Association, FactoryBerlin, Digimarcon Silicon Valley, and at The European Affiliate Summit.

About our guest:

Benoit Menardo, Co-Founder of Payflow, is passionate about leveraging technology to innovate financial solutions. With a strong interest in entrepreneurship, he also serves as an investor at Lanai and Sketchnote Partners, supporting startups and fostering innovation. His diverse roles reflect his commitment to driving technological advancements and his keen eye for promising investment opportunities.

Instant Cash, No Strings: How PayFlow is Disrupting the Payroll Market

The Intro!

Saksham Sharda: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. I’m your host, Dr. Saksham Sharda, and I’m the creative director at Outgrow. co. And for this month we are going to interview Benoit Menardo who is the Co-founder of Payflow.

Benoit Menardo: Great to be here. Thank you.

Don’t have time to read? No problem, just watch the Podcast!


Challenge yourself with this trivia about the exciting topics Benoit Menardo covered in the podcast.

Launch Interactive Quiz

Or you can just listen to it on Spotify!

The Rapid Fire Round!

rapid fire Don McGuire

Saksham Sharda: So, Benoit, we’re gonna start with a rapid-fire round. Just to break the ice, you get three passes. In case you don’t want to answer the question, you can just say pass. But try to keep your answers to one word or one sentence only. 

Benoit Menardo: Sounds good.

Saksham Sharda: Alright, the first one is, at what age do you want to retire?

Benoit Menardo: A hundred years.

Saksham Sharda: How long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?

Benoit Menardo: 10 minutes.

Saksham Sharda: Most embarrassing moment of your life?

Benoit Menardo: I was in prep school. So, before university, after the second year, I couldn’t make it to the school I wanted to, so I had to repeat and do it. Do one more year.

Saksham Sharda: Favorite color?

Benoit Menardo: Blue.

Saksham Sharda: What time of day are you most inspired?

Benoit Menardo: Morning like before 10.

Saksham Sharda: How many hours of sleep can you survive on?

Benoit Menardo: Two-three.

Saksham Sharda: Fill in the blank. An upcoming technology trend is _____. 

Benoit Menardo: Salary on the men.

Saksham Sharda: The city in which the best kiss of your life happened? 

Benoit Menardo: Geneva.

Saksham Sharda: Pick one. Mark. Zuckerberg or Elon Musk.

Benoit Menardo: Zuckerberg,

Saksham Sharda: The biggest mistake of your career?

Benoit Menardo: I would say not starting a startup early enough.

Saksham Sharda: How do you relax?

Benoit Menardo: Spending time with my wife.

Saksham Sharda: How many cups of coffee do you drink per day?

Benoit Menardo: Zero.

Saksham Sharda: A habit of yours that you hate?

Benoit Menardo: I don’t do sports.

Saksham Sharda: The most valuable skill you’ve learned in life.

Benoit Menardo: How to talk to different types of people and be in rapport.

Saksham Sharda: Favorite Netflix show?

Benoit Menardo: I dunno if it’s on Netflix, but I liked it a lot. The one I liked a lot was the startup one. So like, the dropout was good, super pumped was good. And the Spotify one was really good.

Saksham Sharda: One-word description of your leadership style.

Benoit Menardo: I would say empathetic.

Saksham Sharda: The top priority in your daily schedule?

Benoit Menardo: Get the three most important things done.

Saksham Sharda: A key factor for maintaining work-life balance.

Benoit Menardo: I would say know your limits.

Saksham Sharda: Memorable career milestone.

Benoit Menardo: First one. Rising round of PayFlow.

The Big Questions!

Big Questions Don McGuire

Saksham Sharda: Alright, well that’s the end of the rapid fire. Now we can go onto the longer questions, which you can answer with as much ease and time as you like. The first one is, can you provide a brief overview of PayFlow and its mission in the financial technology space?

Benoit Menardo: Yeah, for sure. So basically PayFlow is a mobile lab that allows people to get paid whenever they want, right? And we sell as an employee benefit to companies in Latin America and Southern Europe. So in very simple words, it means that if it’s the 10th of the month and you’ve worked for nine days in a couple of hours as an employee, you can withdraw that money for free, right? The advantage of that is obviously that you’re gonna be more sticky to your company, and that’s why the company is ready to pay for it, right? So this is life in Colombia, Peru, Spain, and Portugal. If you think about it like we’re, we’re a competitor and an alternative to, for instance, macro loans, payday lending, credit cards, like all the financial institutions charging very high interest rates are our indirect competitors.

Saksham Sharda: And so what is the mission in general for the future? What do you envisage for the company?

Benoit Menardo: Yeah. Right. So it’s allowing people to access what is theirs, right? So basically like we fundamentally believe that kind of like, it makes no sense to have those inflows and outflows during a month, right? So like, we wanna make people more responsible and we wanna help them better manage their finances. And the general mission is to help them be in control of their money, of what is there, right? So it’s never a loan, it’s never an advance. It’s always what is already yours. You can have it, you can access it. So that’s kind of like what we want. It’s a concept and it’s a mission that has already been achieved in some economies, right? So for instance, in the gig economy, if you look at it like, for an Uber driver, every time the person drives, they get paid, right? So it’s not that the person has been taking advantage of the future rides. No, it’s been like they’ve been driving and then they get paid for it, right? So we want to kind of like, use that on any type of drug.

Saksham Sharda: And is there any specific success story or impact that PayFlow has had that you’d like to highlight? For the financial well-being of individuals or companies that are using a platform?

Benoit Menardo: For sure. I mean, like not so long ago I was in our Colombian office, and I realized that on the street you had someone that was giving what’s called the go gata, which is basically like a kind of a short-term loan. And the percentage of interest was 1% daily, right? That’s why the daily is the important part, right? When you compound it’s like 3200% per year, right? It’s more than 3000% interest. So obviously when you’re an employee and you have to use that because you need handbooks, you’re not gonna notice it. But actually, this is what makes your life impossible. And that’s why the system prevents you from growing and, and being financially free, right? So that’s why like when we’re providing that service to our users, they’re saying that they had no other options. Like they want their way to work, they have to fill the tank and they have no money, right? And their choice is that 1% daily or it’s like expensive micro-loans or, any other solution, right? So this is the value we’re bringing in. And we hear stories of people who say that we saved their lives, right? Which, I mean, looks a bit too much, but it’s what some of the employees say, right? So, it’s really good to feel that you’re providing a fair solution that no one can give because they’re a very high-risk population, right? So like, they don’t have any guarantee they have changed jobs three times in the last year. Like, it makes very little amounts. So if you are a bank and you wanna give them a loan, you will have to charge them a thousand percent interest. And it’s not because you’re a bad person, it’s because you have pricing and be, and this person is extremely risky. So we’re not doing it, we’re doing it because we’re working with a very low-risk repair, right? But with a very high-risk user, where the value is created.

Saksham Sharda: And so you guys recently won funding of 20 million euros from BBVA Spark. Can you share how this funding will contribute to what you’re currently doing, as you’re saying, in your growth in Europe and Latin America?

Benoit Menardo: No. So, as you understood, basically we’re providing liquidity to the employees, right? So at a given month, we need to have this capital to fuel our growth. So you have two parts in funding, right? You have the equity part and the debt part. This one is the debt part, right? The equity part is what allows us to hire developers and improve our product. The debt part is what allows us with the same product to have more clients and serve bigger areas, more companies, and higher volumes, right? So this round is going to be used for the second part, and the facilities have been live since Q4 last year. And it’s allowed us to free up a lot of capacity and to better, better manage our growth. And today we can grow 10 x and we don’t have to think about that anymore, just simply because we have the facility already created.

Saksham Sharda: And, we heard that you also were recognized or endorsed by notable figures like President Macron. How has this influenced your journey in addition to the funding and what kind of support have you received from influential re-leaders?

Benoit Menardo: Yeah, I think that’s a good point. I mean, at the end of the day, like it’s most of the recognitions are not let’s say they don’t impact our sales, right? They’re not gonna be bringing clients. They’re not gonna be, it’s not like some French governmental companies are gonna start using PayFlow. No, it’s very indirect. So at the end of the day, we’re not seeking any type of recognition. They come because, I mean, we’re just doing our job. When they happen, it’s often a great it’s great recognition for the whole team because like, you can tell the team that they’re doing great, but when you have influential people that can tell them this, like, it gives them a lot of motivation and it helps them believe that what they’re doing is, is changing the world, right? So I mean, I would say this is the main value versus the value that will be more, let’s say, commercial traction base, which is not the case when you’re recognized typically by whatever leaders and more figures.

Saksham Sharda: So if this model is rapidly adopted, do you think there are any potential challenges or concerns related to the implementation of earned wage access and different cultural and regulatory environments?

Benoit Menardo: Yeah, I think it’s a great point. What we’re seeing is that the original earned wage access model, which is the employee pays for accessing their salary, is slowly dying, right? And this is because of a higher penetration and a better awareness of the product, right? Is the same idea as when, like at the beginning, you were going from one bank account, one bank account to another one, and making a transfer was very expensive. Calling from one mobile carrier to another was very expensive. But if you call the same one, it’s very cheap or withdrawing at an ATM, right? So those are signals of early markets. And then when the market kind of goes much more mature, this is where you start to see what is going to be the long-term model. In our case, the long-term model that complies with regulation and that complies with basically what the user wants is that the employee is empowered, the employee does not pay for the service, and the company provides this at a cost for them, right? And that’s what we’re seeing. That is like an impact of how fast this has grown, right? I think the other point that is quite important for us is that we heavily rely on payroll to operate because we need to calculate instantly the money that people are owed. And when someone makes a withdrawal, we need to instantly write to a payroll provider, right? This, as easy as it sounds, seems complex in reality, right? And so, this is something that has been a challenge for most players in most countries. That is going better over time because payroll providers understand how critical it is to open the data to employees who are willing to share it to provide services. Right? So this is fairly new, and you have a lot of models around it.

Saksham Sharda: And our company is easily able to share this data with you, or what safeguards are there?

Benoit Menardo: No, of course. So, it’s the data of the employee, right? So the employee is the one deciding to use the service. If the employee doesn’t use the service and PayFlow doesn’t use their data, that is obvious, right? So, if the employee wants to use the service, then obviously the employee needs to tell us in what account we should send the money and they should allow us to read how much money they’ve earned. Otherwise, we can’t provide them with a service. This is always something that kind of employee must be willing to do. And it’s not kind of like the company cannot force the employee to get paid that way, it’s a benefit.

Saksham Sharda: And so what does your typical day at PayFlow look like? You wake up in the morning and then?

Benoit Menardo: And then I’m at meetings the whole day? No, I mean, it varies a lot because, first of all, it varies because it’s cyclical. Because I take our fundraising, it’s going to depend if we’re fundraising or not. In fundraising season, it’s very intense and in others, it is less. And it also depends a lot on the stage of the company. So you see, like the company is three and a half, roughly four years old. The first year, the micro co-founder and myself were doing pretty much everything. I mean, we designed the first screens, we called the first users, we did everything. And right now, basically like when the company grows, like now we’re 70 people on the team, you start to hire people to lead their departments, and the organization is being created, right? So that’s why this also massively depends. And, so right now I like what I’m doing. Talking to investors, talking to the team, and recruiting is a big part of my time. Also think about the overall vision and the strategy, right? 

Saksham Sharda: And what kind of hiring are you still doing? Are you doing some hiring still? Are you looking for talent in the market?

Benoit Menardo: So, we do a lot of opportunistic hiring. We have all our positions that are kind of critical to feel they are published. I would say that it’s mostly on the roles that directly create traction. So basically sales would be a lot of technical hiring and also selective operations finance depending on how fast the business, if you have more sales, then you close more clients, then you need to onboard them, then you need to make sure that you have a finance team that manages that. And you may need to make sure that your product is scalable enough. So you’re going to be able to cross-sell and upsell them more products. So these would be the departments.

Saksham Sharda: And so you recently also attended the World Economic Forum in Davos. What were the key takeaways and insights from the event, especially regarding energy transition, AI, and blockchain?

Benoit Menardo: Yeah, this is quite interesting. So, it was the first time I attended DeVos. So I didn’t know what to expect. And especially as a startup, and like, it’s not an event for the startup, right? So, I attend quite a few of the web submit South, submit four years from now type of events. But it was the first time I went there. I think that overall it’s an event that is very representative of the big trends, that you and I can read. In most of the newspapers, most of the sessions were indeed about AI, like AI was the main protagonist there. Like everyone was talking about it. Blockchain is a bit less. But I’ve heard that last year was still very popular and like, it’s a good representation of what you can read online. I mean, for our business, it’s still quite far from what is tangible, I mean, it doesn’t bring tangible value to the business. It’s not like I met HR leaders in Columbia, Peru, Spain, and Portugal there, right? But it’s still very good because it opens your mind to new trends and new categories, right? The thing that I felt there on the main one, for instance, AI, is that you have lots of projects very similar to actual blockchain, when, when people started to, to look at it in depth, and when you had the whole NFT friendly and all of that. So like, I felt that you have a good technology, a really powerful technology, which is the same as blockchain technology is a really powerful technology. Unfortunately, there have been too many projects. There’s been too much of a gold rush. And then you have 10% of really good projects that bring value and that are applicable and 90% of scams, right? So like, that’s fine or, or scam or projects that do not create something that are more kind of like using infrastructure or using technology that is of others, right? And, so you see for me here, the real question is like, who are these, these 10%, right? And like, what exactly is going to be applicable, and what is going to be like the same as now, right? And this, and it, exactly for me, has very similar dynamics as what you have with blockchain. Like, blockchain is not going to completely change the world. It’s not true. It’s going to have a very good impact on a few verticals that will completely change. And that without blockchain, it would not be possible to do as good and as fast these operations. Right? But it’s not true. That applies to everything. For me, that’s a long story.

Saksham Sharda: And are there any takeaways from Davos that you plan to implement in PayFlow?

Benoit Menardo: I mean, little, because again, it’s very high level and it’s really about macroeconomics, and it’s really about kind of like also markets that are, that we’re not really of interest. I mean, you see, it’s still very focused in the US and, I mean, it’s not focused in Latin America. It’s not focused on southern Europe. So, most of the macroeconomic takeaways do not apply to us, I would say, right? Like, it’s more about kind of like general trends and kind of like, see if there is anything that is going to impact how our end users are gonna see or gonna feel. And then basically, if it’s something that is a global trend, it’s going to impact us, but it’s very indirect.

Saksham Sharda: And so PayFlow we heard was a finalist at the Webit Capital Scale-Up competition. How do such recognition and participation in competitions contribute to pay flows, visibility, and growth?

Benoit Menardo: Yeah, so this was a great opportunity to be honest, because like, I mean, we had like 5,000 people competing, right? And then we first got into the semifinalists and we went to Dubai for the cop. And there we had quite a lot of exposure. And then after managed to be the finalist and our, of the, like the 12 that receive investments or can receive investments from the, from the fund. It’s great to be honest. Like, it’s great because you get access to potential investors and people that you would not get access to overall. So this visibility is like a tangible benefit of going into such types of events because the investors you will meet, they’re like, you’re not gonna reach them on LinkedIn, basically, right? So like it’s powerful. It’s the result of a lot of work. It’s again, just like other types of recognition, confirms to the team good for also hiring. I mean, people wanna go to startups that are the best and that I’ve been winning. But I would say that Al is also for us as a company that has the real benefit of connecting us with really important investors.

Saksham Sharda: And are there any other competitions that you’re planning to go to or you’ve gone to?

Benoit Menardo: So, I mean, we won four years from now in Barcelona last year. And then we won the competition in Madrid two years ago. So like, at the end of the day, we’re applying to a few of them. And, some of them, sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t win, right? But it’s important to do it because first of all, the applications allow you to think about your business. After all, they’re very complete. They ask you tons of things about all the different parts of your business. So this kind of allows you to do that self-reflection. And also when you prepare, when you present, this is a great opportunity, right? So on top of that visibility, that preparation, at the end of the day, it’s not so different when you’re pitching to an investor, but it’s a lot the level of preparation you need to get to pitch in front of 500,000 people. Like, it’s high. So it’s positive for the company to have that level of depth of understanding of your business.

Saksham Sharda: And so having participated in all these competitions and one of you, what emerging trends do you foresee in the FinTech industry in general, and how does PayFlow position itself to stay at the forefront?

Benoit Menardo: So of these trends, I’ll try to go for trends that apply to us directly. I think the first one is regarding APIs and kind of like moving most of the data to the cloud. So this is something that started much before pay-for started, it has a different level of adoption. And I think for our markets, we’re still at the beginning of that adoption curve. It changes everything to make our market and our business work, right? So like, typically if we can instantly get access to the employee’s information, versus if the systems are not in the cloud and they’re like in on-premise systems, it changes. It makes everything much faster and much more flexible, right? This is the first trend. The second trend that exists already, but for our market is fairly new, is open banking, instant transactions, and being able to receive and send money fast. So when we started in Colombia, it was impossible to send money instantly. Now it’s possible or much easier at least. And, that changes everything because if you are at the gas station to take back the example that we had, and if you need $5 to put gas in your motorbike, then you can’t wait for two hours until the transactions arrive. You need the money now, right? And that’s something that has changed, like how people are interacting with the platform, because before they were like, oh, tomorrow I’m gonna need money. So they need to remember to use it. And now it’s like, okay, whenever I need it, I do it. Right. So this drastically changes the type of usage, obviously the volumes, and the value you’re bringing to that, right? This is the second trend, I think the third trend that is impacting us in one of our latest products, is that you’re able to understand and categorize very quickly the type of merchants that you are transacting into, right? Why is this so powerful for us in our last product, the flex product, what we’re doing is that we’re telling employees that if they spend their money on food or transport or some categories that the government recognizes as benefits, they don’t pay tax on it, income tax, right? And it’s very like, imagine if you had to get the list of their transactions and then afterward make a clarification, like matching. It would be impossible, right? To reconcile that right now, because we can know the POS-like code, which is like an MCC, like a merchant code, you match that with another database, and instantly you can identify the payment, and identify transactions that are eligible and not eligible. And that allows people at the end of the day, to spend tax-free, which is an amazing product. That’s like five years ago would not have been possible. So I would say these would be the three trends that have drastically impacted us.

Saksham Sharda: And so are there any specific regulatory or compliance challenges that PayFlow anticipates in light of all these evolving industry trends?

Benoit Menardo: Yeah, I think that it depends on who touches the money in what process. And it’s for us, we heavily rely on partners every time some transactions are involved, right? To specifically fall into regulation and to be faithful to the HR industry that there is this wall with, you are providing an HR service to the company, and yes, there is money involved, but you’re not the one who is doing that. Because if you do that, then you fall under a lot of regulations. And also it’s you’re doing two products at the same time, right? So at the end of the day, like we’re lucky to have an ecosystem that’s, that is very complete and with good providers, and so we heavily rely on them to be like, the regulator is always going to look at like who made the transaction and making sure that this one is illicit one, right? If you are a platform, and if you’re moving information, you’re not moving money, then its very impact is that there will be Titan regulation for the open banking providers for people that are asking for licenses. But, that will not impact us, but that will impact our providers and our end users. This will make KYC more painful. This will be the, but that’s kind of on the provider to make sure that kind of what they’re doing is legal. You see, for us, we’re again serving the company with the benefits. We have to pick our battles.

Saksham Sharda: So, keeping all these battles and regulations and trends aside, the last question for you is of a personal kind. What would you be doing in your life, if not this?

Benoit Menardo: I’ll be teaching math and physics. I like numbers and I like teaching.

Saksham Sharda: Oh, wow. That’s amazing. So you would’ve been a professor somewhere or like a school teacher.

Benoit Menardo: Probably.

Let’s Conclude!

Saksham Sharda: Thanks, everyone for joining us for this month’s episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. That was Benoit Menardo who is the Co-founder of Payflow.

Benoit Menardo: Pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Saksham Sharda: Check out the website for more details and we’ll see you once again next month with another marketer of the month.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply