Exclusive Q&A With Talal Bayaa, CEO and Co-founder of Bayzat, Following Successful Series B Fundraise
Traditional HR and payroll activities have recently experienced disruption from startups looking to automate these operations. Recently, MAGNiTT had the opportunity to catch up with Bayzat CEO and Co-founder Talal Bayaa, one of the startups developing itself within this niche, following a successful $16m Series B fundraise led by Mubadala Capital and Point72 Ventures.
Q: Tell us briefly about Bayzat. In layman's terms, how exactly does it work?
Bayzat is a free online platform designed to help companies manage and automate HR administration, payroll and health insurance, significantly streamlining processes for HR and finance teams. We then integrate fintech solutions into the experience to provide better value and an optimized experience for both employers and employees.
Q: Why did you decide to start this company? What is your vision for the world?
We realized that most SMEs were using manual processes and Excel to manage their HR function. Once we decided to solve this problem, we discovered that there were other adjacent pain points we could help them with. SMEs are the backbone of any economy, and as an employee, working for an SME is a uniquely rewarding and fulfilling experience. However, SMEs face a multitude of challenges, including giving their employees a world-class experience. So our vision is to continue improving the Bayzat Benefits platform so that companies can give their employees the SME experience with enterprise-level benefits.
Q: What's something or someone that really helped you fundraising?
There aren't many things that teach you resilience like the fundraising experience. Having great shareholders helped us attract other great shareholders. At the end of the day, closing our Series B was just really hard work, determination - and a lot of luck. We got lucky that we met Point 72 Ventures, who have incredible conviction in their view on the future of financial services (which we share). At the same time, Mubadala Capital is really passionate about supporting the local ecosystem. The founders of Bayzat all grew up and spent most of their lives in the UAE, so their mission really resonated with us and we're delighted to be part of it.
Q: What are your biggest challenges to scale?
The biggest challenge in scaling ends up being yourself as the founder(s). Of course, capital and talent are huge challenges; but to execute you need to continuously evolve and grow as a leader, which is a painful process because attaining self-awareness is very tough.
Q: What is Bayzat doing in the FinTech space right now?
We're rebuilding the entire health insurance experience from the ground up so that we can give our customers a better experience at a lower cost. In addition, we're taking highly commoditized services such as payroll processing and automating them through technology so our customers don't have to pay fees just to pay their employees. We're also scaling our employee offerings by providing innovative fintech solutions, such as EarlyPay, to help companies support their employees' financial wellness - this is a big priority for employers in the UAE. So we're doing a lot!
Q: What do you think are the most exciting developments in the HR-tech space right now?
Historically, the bar in HR-tech has been very low, so even building a better user experience or giving users a mobile-based platform has been a differentiator. The most exciting development is the leveraging of HR data to build better experiences and offerings for employees.
Q: What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
I've made so many mistakes I lost count years ago. One lesson I learned is that if you're hard on yourself in the wrong way, you actually end up missing the opportunity to learn from it and to grow yourself as a leader and operator.