Stage: Scale up, 200+ employees
Product used: Payments
ThePower Business School has been providing educational technology services, or EdTech, since January 2020, trying to democratise education and make it accessible for as many people as possible. People are responding, too; the school was voted Spain’s top start up on LinkedIn in 2020, and came second the following year.
“We’re trying to give people the ability to learn from world-renowned business experts,” said Ignacio Marcos Peréz, the CFO, “but in a far more affordable way than traditional institutions. Here, you can get tips directly from the founder of Netflix for a comparably tiny cost.”
Of course, the pandemic presented challenges for ThePower Business School, but so did the team’s rapid expansion. When Ignacio started, the team was 40-strong; now, they’re more than 150, with over 95,000 students – more than half of which are experienced professionals looking to refresh their ideas – worldwide.
But this globalisation, as Peréz discovered pretty early on, brings its own financial challenges. And that’s where Revolut Business comes in.
First off, it’s important to get an idea of what life was like before. What did a typical month look like for the finance department?
“At that time, we were using five different banks, all of them based in Spain. Every time we had to deal in another currency, we had to ask those banks to provide us with a budget and then we’d need to negotiate a fair price on a case-by-case basis.
“Then, we’d have to manually input bank statement numbers because the formats didn’t align across banks, markets and currencies. The technology just couldn’t do it – the whole process was horrible.”
The impact was soon felt across the entire business, and it was only aggravated by their growth. Invoices that weren’t submitted in EUR were blocked, or suppliers were paid late. Others, those that required a fee in advance, were adhered to – but at an FX rate that left the business worse off.
Month-to-month, Peréz estimates they had outgoings of more than EUR 500,000 – and that doesn’t include the hours wasted by the team performing manual tasks, or negotiating rates. As a growing business, this was unsustainable. Something had to change.
Peréz was (and still is!) using Revolut for his personal finances, so when Revolut Business launched, it was an easy decision to make the move.
“Opening the account was a mind-blowing change”, he says, “and it helped us combat our toughest challenge: making payments all over the world.” Revolut Business’s multi-currency accounts and exchanges in 28+ currencies made this easier and cheaper than the high-cost barter system the school was forced to engage with previously.
It wasn’t just money they were saving, either. “Revolut Business lets us integrate with Sage, our accounting software. Instead of all that time spent manually inputting data, extracting key information became easy.”
From there, ThePower Business School was able to launch its global programme, breaking into 50 new markets for a completely international business – something Peréz believes is its ‘biggest milestone’ to date.
By the end of 2021, revenue was almost 10x greater than when Peréz started, positioning the organisation well to compete in what’s now a fiercely competitive EdTech market.
And as for Revolut Business? “It’s been with us through all our changes; it’s the only solution that helped us with going global”, Peréz says, adding, “It’s changed the business finance model entirely”, he says. “There’s no going back from here.”