Having to wait for your next payday can have a negative impact on your mental health. Stressing over financial issues like whether you will be able to afford your next weekly shopping is a very common issue. Lee Bowden is the co-Founder and CEO of fastP.A.Y.E. This tool allows employees to access their already earnt money. This is their solution to reducing workers’ financial struggles in order to improve the wellbeing of workers.
How Lee’s journey took him to where he is right now
After an early experience in publishing & telecoms, Lee’s first tech business (a mobile marketing/comms platform) was sold to a NASDAQ listed company. It was this that gave him the passion for tech. So Lee, along with a couple of partners, built a WFM/T&A platform. Reason being that there were only big players of ERP systems available, and neither were commercially viable for at least half of the businesses that needed them. That catalyst served him well when they identified serious and damaging challenges for WFM clients across various sectors. This included retaining and motivating staff with unsociable hours or with traditionally high attrition rates, in Retail Hospitality, Leisure, Call Centers etc.
So Lee’s latest project, fastP.A.Y.E, is about delivering a flexible wage solution for all sectors. It offers organizations a financial wellbeing strategy, as it is closely linked to mental health. It simultaneously helps normal working people avoid the pitfalls of short term expensive credit like PDL’s, overdrafts and credit cards.
What was Lee’s aha moment which led him to create his business?
Lee was cheeky and offered two. We thought we would be kind and grant him this generous offering.
They built a WFM prototype for a client in a previous business to test. After a couple months the client says…”my figures are suggesting a 15% reduction in costs”. Lee told him that must be incorrect. So Lee presented the solution to a very well known high street brand. They said “that’s exactly what we have been looking for”.
The second moment was when they first offered staff a flexible wage offering. They had a huge amount of positive feedback as you would expect from staff that used it for emergencies etc. But employers witnessed a transition between more shifts than staff, to not enough work for staff.
What do they do that matters?
fastP.A.Y.E try to make ordinary people’s lives better with their technology.
EVERYONE runs out of money. Yet, technically they are waiting for wages that they have already earned. So why are they borrowing or using short term expensive credit? Lee and his team make the process easier for employers to adopt and then deliver multiple benefits for both parties. Reducing financial struggles and improving wellbeing.
Why is fastP.A.Y.E relevant to the issues Lee has identified?
Debt levels are running at unprecedented levels for ordinary working class and professionals. Also in discussions with the prominent homeless & debt charities, they have substantiated that this is partly due to the antiquated lengthy pay cycles that include 4 and 5 weekends between pay days. Everyone can last a couple of days, but not everyone can last a couple of days and a weekend. So they want to deliver a more flexible approach to people receiving their earned wages, without stressing companies, or going back to a weekly pay scenario.
fastP.A.Y.E has been designed to be accessible by all. Allowing employers to configure any model they wish, but more importantly, one that doesn’t impact or affect existing processes, or create further work internally. This reduces the financial struggles to improve the wellbeing of workers.
What has been Lee’s biggest learnings in growing his business
Lee and his team underestimated the educational process required. Even when the offering is so progressive. Especially in an area where there is a high level of resistance to change, and towards looking at new possibilities. They are still learning and dealing with this today.
fastP.A.Y.E’s customer acquisition systems
Lee was a big believer in certain trade shows and exhibitions. Unfortunately, they just haven’t managed to deliver that live experience on zoom.
Lee has a team that works extremely close in Marketing, Product Owner, Biz Dev & Customer Success. They started with, and invested a lot of time in HubSpot. They are big advocates of this company as they use a whole range of their digital automations.
Everyone uses all of the typical campaigns via email, social media, Google and so on. Lee’s company tries to specifically target sectors with relevant topics. They are also big advocates of using video to deliver complex elements in sub 60 seconds. They request the intended recipient just sit back and enjoy!
What do Lee wish more people knew?
What a difference a company makes when they make available a few hundred pounds to their staff, irrelevant of what they do, or what they earn before pay day. The difference it makes to their lives is profound. Whether the car is broken, new stuff is needed for school, money for the weekly shopping, or getting to work. You could help them eradicate their debt cycle, or even stop someone from seeking credit. As a result, they can hopefully retain more of their hard earned wages.
Thinking about his legacy, how does Lee want to be remembered?
Great Dad, good friend, generous and not quite as stupid as he looked!
About the speaker
As a founder of WFM business ShopWorks & new flexible wage application fastP.A.Y.E, Lee Bowden was at the centre of winning and developing the commercial partnerships of some of the most well known global brands in Retail, Hospitality & Leisure. His new venture enters a previously un-encountered world of Fintech, where he firmly believes that he can make a significant contribution to reducing the debt and improving the wellbeing of workers.
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