Interview with Rodolphe Ardant, CEO and Co-Founder of Spendesk

We caught up with Rodolphe Ardant, CEO and Co-Founder of Spendesk to understand the journey of Spendesk, what their goal is, how they have expanded, how the pandemic has faced the company with challenges, which all led to finding out about the future of Spendesk.

 

Can you tell us a bit about what Spendesk does and your journey so far?

I created Spendesk in 2016, together with my co-founders Guilhem Bellion and Jordane Giuly. Our goal was to give finance teams more control & visibility over all company spending, and help automate time-consuming processes.So our all-in-one solution combines virtual and physical cards, expense reimbursements, invoice management and much more into one platform, replacing the need for multiple tools, and giving finance teams one single source of truth.

Today, Spendesk serves more than 40,000 users at small and medium-size businesses in Europe and the U.S. And we’ve recently opened new offices in Berlin, London and San Francisco to drive our international expansion with local teams in each market. So really exciting times at Spendesk, and the journey continues! The team has doubled in the past year, and despite the global crisis, we have bold goals to continue our momentum.

 

What was the impetus for creating the company?

We want to empower finance teams and help them create a culture of trust and autonomy in their companies. Employees should be able to easily pay for things at work while finance teams enjoy full visibility. But in reality, most companies don’t operate this way. Finance experts spend their time chasing receipts and manually entering data, while employees search for the shared company credit card or even pay for things out of their own pocket – this is not the exception but the rule in the majority of companies today.

So our goal at Spendesk is to bring the same level of innovation to the B2B world that we already see in the B2C payment sector, with big players like N26 or Revolut. And the potential in the spend management category is incredible with hundreds of thousands of SMBs just in Europe as an addressable market for our solution.

 

Rodolphe-Ardant-Spendesk

 

What has been your proudest moment so far as CEO at Spendesk?

Normally I would say our Series B last year, as this was obviously a huge success for the company and the team. But actually I’m much prouder of our achievements since the beginning of the pandemic. It has been such a tough time for everyone, individually and as a team, but we’ve managed to grow even faster than before, and, most importantly, we have maintained our strong culture and team spirit while working remotely. This has been the most challenging time for me as a CEO so far, and I’m incredibly happy to see that we came out of this even stronger.

 

How have you fared with and adapted to the challenges of the pandemic?

The first priority was to navigate us safely through the first few weeks of high uncertainty and make sure that the team stayed healthy and motivated. Then we were curious to understand how business spending would actually change during the pandemic. And what we’re seeing now is that digitisation of finance departments has accelerated as finance teams need to decentralize spending in their businesses.

Many companies have come to realise how inefficient processes like shared company credit cards or the manual collection of receipts are for the business, especially when teams are working remotely. And finance leaders need access to accurate real-time data as they’remuch more focused on cash flow during the crisisand need to control spending across the entire business.

We see an increasing demand for spend management software and have been able to accelerate our growth over the past months. So from a business perspective it’s been super positive actually. As a team, of course, it’s still a bit challenging as we can’t spend as much time together as we used to. But we’re adapting, and we still find ways to exchange during virtual coffee breaks or team building in smaller groups.

 

What does the future hold for Spendesk?

Our focus is to support finance teams during this difficult period: with new features that provide even more visibility and automation, and withCFO Connect, our global community for finance leaders. We’ve seen a record demand for our product over the past months and the membership of our CFO Connect community has doubled since the beginning of the crisis. So I’m super confident and excited for the road ahead.