RateMyInvestor Founder Series: Episode 3 with Jason Rieger and Brandon Brotsky (PayClub)
How did you first get started in the world of entrepreneurship?
While in college, I (Jason) was always very entrepreneurial. I was very involved in my fraternity taking lead on recruitment, training, finances, and event planning. It taught me everything about network effects and motivation. On the side, I started a few side gigs reselling items online.
Our CTO, Brandon, was intro tech and design. He started his own consulting business building websites. One connection turned into another, and he ended up doing projects for American Express, NASA, and Habitat for Humanity.
Tell us about your current company and the inspiration behind it
Prior to starting Payclub, Jason was the Sales Director for the largest collegiate travel company in the US, JusCollege. Helping build the company from 5 to 40, we provided over 500k students with the best travel experiences to over 70 destinations. But one thing always hindered the experience — payments.
It’s an age-old problem we are all familiar with. If you wanted to collect money from a group, their options are pretty limiting. First, You have to use multiple applications, excel, or pull out the pen and paper to calculate the transactions. Second, it’s an individual process — one person collecting from multiple people. No insight on who has paid or who hasn’t, which makes it difficult on the collector. No one wants to be the person in charge of collecting funds. By bringing transparency to the equation, you increase accountability for making sure payments are being made.
With Payclub, we saw an opportunity to help groups or all sizes, from roommates to group vacations, to clubs and organizations and sports teams. By building a simple all in one banking app that any group can use, we can be the essential app every group can use to facilitate payments.
How much funding has your company raised?
We raised small friends and family round that included a few prominent angels which got us to launch.
Tell us about a time where you received a no from an investor.
One time we had an investor that ended up causing us to walk out of the meeting because he was rude. In essence, the investor was more interested in an agenda not in line with the vision of Payclub and we lost trust in him. We excused ourselves from the conversation.
What is something you’ve learned while building your startup that you wish someone had told you before you began?
Trust and network take time. Start making connections early and often. It’s all about relationships.
Sometimes, running a startup can feel like a constant grind. How do you find a balance between your professional and personal life?
You’ll see us working from 6 am till midnight regularly. Our work is fun, and we’re passionate about fixing the problem. We find the time to go out, but we enjoy hanging out with each other, which makes things easier.
How did you get your first investor check? And what advice would you give to first-time founders looking to fundraise?
It took a lot of work. Constant phone calls and networking. Thankfully we had a few investors want to get involved early cause they could see the potential. But it is clearly a numbers game.
What is your favorite blog/newsletter and why?
I read Fred Wilson’s blog every morning, but I’m more of an audio learner. Last year clocked in 36 books on Audible and close to 480 hours on podcasts. Master’s of Scale and Moving Up are my 2 favorites.
Connect with Jason and Brandon:
Did you enjoy this article? Check out our other founder series interviews!