Interview with James Herbert, Founder and CEO of Hastee

We caught up with James Herbert, Founder and CEO of Hastee, to talk all things from starting Hastee, to the plans for Hastee in the future…

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

At university, I created a company called Brightsparks to connect students with work opportunities so they could earn money. But I noticed a common trend. With students often having to wait for the monthly pay cycle to get their earnings, many were having to turn down work simply because they couldn’t afford the travel day-by-day. It became very apparent that not having £20 today could stop them earning £150 tomorrow.

I thought: why does payday itself have to be a rigid construct that people have to wait for? If you think about the hunter-gatherer mindset, we are wired to expend effort and expect an immediate reward.

Looking at the opportunity, it is not just specific to students. Liquidity is a widespread issue faced by individuals across all types of industries and of all ages and many turn to high-cost credit options to tide them over when needed. I wanted to find a solution to give individuals access to a portion of their earned wages whenever they need it, in advance of the monthly pay cycle – whether to help during challenging times or in day-to-day life.

 

What makes Hastee different?

Hastee is an Earnings on Demand platform providing a new payment solution to help businesses improve their financial wellbeing offering. We want to champion financial freedom as the traditional monthly pay cycles restrict this. We support over 400 businesses across a variety of industries – from healthcare to hospitality and manufacturing to construction – to enable their workers to receive a portion of their monthly salary on the day they earn it. For employees, this increases personal liquidity and promotes positive financial habits over negative ones, such as debt reliance. And for companies, this means more engaged, happier and less financially stressed staff, leading to increased productivity.

We’re different as, unlike anyone else in our space, we are always free to businesses and with no impact on their cash flow. We’re built on a cloud-native platform and can easily be integrated with other technologies making the onboarding process seamless for HR and payroll to implement. Hastee is additionally built to support organisations who may not have a solid system in play as our technology can automatically extract data from various sources in the business to offer Earnings on Demand to employees without technology integrations. We are also safe and secure, protecting both the business and their workers, as workers can only withdraw what they have earned that month. There is also background monitoring of unusual behaviour through our wellbeing algorithms and we help support money management as the platform will automatically prompt empathetic assistance, directing users to free helpful resources if it seems they need it.

 

What have you learnt?

There are loads of things I’ve learnt along the way. The first being learning balance, both in my personal and professional life with a young family and a growing business. Things which have really helped me include having strict time management, trust in my team, and compromising along the way.

I’ve also learned a lot about people’s perceptions towards finance and particularly towards Hastee, based on their understanding of our Earnings on Demand offering. Given Earnings on Demand is still relatively fresh, I’ve found people are understandably questioning and so, the awareness and education process is taking a little longer than expected. This is also motivating for me as we have seen the result and heard positive feedback from our customers once they onboard and experience using Hastee. We strongly believe in our value proposition and how it can help people in so many ways – whether it’s with financial wellbeing or general money management.

 

What are the plans for Hastee’s growth?

We will be laser focussed on improving Hastee’s Earnings on Demand offering so we can continue to revolutionise the way people are paid, for the better. As we’ve seen in the past few months, enabling financial liquidity has become increasingly important to maintain wellbeing and live our day-to-day lives comfortably. We have recently launched the first card in the world that allows you access to your money as you earn it, Hastee Card. This is an exciting partnership with Visa Debit, and is the start of many things we have in the pipeline to create more value for our customers – both users and businesses. We want to continue making our solution easy to use and accessible for everyone.