Meet Evan Michaels, CEO and Co-Founder of HELPFUL

Tell us about the business – how did it start? 

HELPFUL was set up in 2019 by William Nordh and myself. We’ve known each other for a  while, in fact this is the third business that we have set up together and the most ambitious one, balancing purpose, people and profit.  

At HELPFUL we use payments as a force for good, not just an add-on to complete a  transaction, but to deliver seamless experiences that people expect from a sustainable  society. 

We do this by building b2b partnerships with sustainable partners to meet the demands of  the net zero future; from shopping for fashion and food and drink, to recycling, to urban mobility and EV charging. 

 

How is your business different?

We’ve not come across anyone else approaching payments in the same way as us. 

The current landscape is complex, with multiple apps, registration processes and payment  options for consumers to choose from, which results in abandoned purchases and low repeat  purchases. This means that we need cross industry simplification, that will deliver a seamless  experience. 

At HELPFUL we work across sustainable industries, we integrate with existing and new  business models to simplify the user experience and provide sustainable outcomes. We bring  new and repeat customers, savings, rewards and a seamless experience.

 

 

What challenges have you overcome? What have you learnt?

The biggest challenges a start-up faces are funding and partnerships and it is usually one  that brings the other! We were very fortunate to secure some key partnerships early on,  including Railsbank and Mastercard. This helped us shape the solution and has saved us a lot  of time and resources, on our journey to date.  

As a result of the pandemic, we’ve seen companies reflect on their models and look at  alternative ways to deliver more sustainable products, with a digital focus, thanks to a leap of about 5 years in adoption of digital, by consumers and business, according to McKinsey. This  has been a great benefit to us. 

There’s still a long way to go in terms of everyone embracing digital solutions, but we see a  real opportunity for digital payments to play a big part in simplifying the consumer  experience. Our first piece of consumer analysis revealed that 18-34 year-olds make up 80%  of HELPFUL users.  

We’re starting to see more integrated experiences, companies working together, combining technologies to deliver solutions and I think we’ll see barriers to sustainable options  removed, providing better access to products and services, as well as more rewards for  consumers who make responsible choices.

 

What are your plans for growth?

We think that collaboration is key to deliver a seamless and sustainable experience and we  expect to see some really exciting partnerships and pilots in 2022 that reflect the move from  business as usual, towards more sustainable models. We work alongside policy and  regulation, meaning businesses who partner with HELPFUL can prepare for regulation  changes, address the requirements of a net zero future, engage with new customers and  operate a more cost-effective model.