ProcureTechSTARS with Itamar Jobani

ProcureTechSTARS with Itamar Jobani, Co-founder & CEO of PayEm

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ProcureTechSTARS with Itamar Jobani, Co-founder & CEO of PayEm, a global spend and procurement platform that automates the entire Request to Reconciliation process for finance and procurement teams.

During the conversation, Itamar shared his thoughts on creating a more inclusive workplace, valuing humans, nested budgets, being a kid again and … chocolate.

1. What’s PayEm’s mission?

PayEm’s mission is to provide businesses with an innovative and efficient spend management and procurement solution. I think what’s unique about us is that we designed the platform from the lens of the employees and holistic stakeholders within the procurement and spend processes. It caters more to collective decision-making and dialogue that happens within the organization, regarding spend, compared to other solutions that have been built. We want employees and stakeholders to be informed about the process itself, and about their budgets and make data accessible for everyone involved.

2. What have been the most significant decisions in the PayEm journey so far?

PayEm started as a payment solution with corporate cards. I think our ‘aha!’ moment was when our larger customers were pulling us “backwards”, not necessarily to the transaction moment, but to its requisition or even before that – to the initiation process of the spend request. That’s when we decided to build our vision of request reconciliation instead of P2P.

Slowly, we’re well onto building an AP and intake solution, where our biggest milestone was connecting all these different products and meeting our vision of the end-to-end solution.

3. What do you look for in the perfect customer?
“I think the ideal customer for us is a company that values human capital; its employees, their time and experience.”

They also recognize that these employees are the main stakeholder within the spend process. In a sense, that translates to culture but also represents a segment of the market that we work with. Where you see more employee-driven spend, which means more indirect procurement rather than traditional industries, we tend to work well with companies that have global operations because there’s more complexity in running dispersed processes across multiple localities. You need a mindset that’s willing to solve a problem.

“There are a lot of challenges around dispersed decision-making; nested budgets and spending split across multiple subsidiaries. With that comes a whole lot of product challenges. We’re driven by our customers and love working with that global aspect.”
4. What are the foundations of a great team?

Having a very clear goal and shared vision. I think, once everybody understands what we’re trying to achieve, then team collaboration becomes significant.

Also, being open and transparent is important – just being able to share ideas and feelings. I feel the startup journey can be quite rocky, so being able to move past challenges and deal with stress are big milestones. As the environment shifts and customer base grows, the ability to establish a relationship between team members is very important.

Finally, having a positive outlook: it keeps everybody in the right mindset to achieve objectives and challenges, which I think is very important in the early stage of the company.

5. How do you incorporate generative AI and what will be your next major digital innovation?

We all want to use Open AI in our product, but the area we are using right now is not customer-facing. Instead, we’re using  internally where we can get better results on classifications of receipts and invoices. This means we can get better results than previous algorithms to help produce and develop our existing models. The next stage for us is to  leverage Gen AI to bridge the gap between customers and our platform, to make it accessible, which in a sense is part of PayEm’s mission: we want the experience to be as smooth as possible for our employees, so we’re looking at how we can add Gen AI to leverage natural language to interact with our platforms.

Our latest product release came with a real-time budget view: we spent a lot of time on it and to be frank, we haven’t seen a solution like that within the space, where a budget owner could see in real-time their specific budget item that they manage; what spend has been allocated; and what hadn’t been spent yet. So BVA views have been in use for years now, but are usually retroactive (ie – you can only see it a month after the fact) and  you have to go somewhere else to get that view. We incorporated that within our intake process.

6. What is the vision for PayEm? What does great look like in five years?

The aim is for PayEm to be a trusted global leader as a spend management and procurement solution with a new mindset: putting the employees at the center of that process.

We want to continue building a strong ecosystem of partners with legacy players in the space, and collaborate with startups and newcomers; build strong partnerships with financial institutions and technology partners in travel and HR for example.”

PayEm will continue to build layers with suppliers and organizations; bridge the gap between employees and stakeholders; and then between them, different platforms, payment methods and vendors. Once those layers have been created, this allows more flexibility in how they communicate with their customers. That could be providing them with different payment terms, transparency and workflows. So yeah, to continue our vision to create a smoother way of communicating between different stakeholders, vendors and merchants.

7. How are you doing good for the planet?

We switched our physical card to a recycled card which started earlier this year. We’re also focused on building a diverse and inclusive company.

One notable thing is that we’ve opened another dev site in Sderot, Israel. It’s a very rich and lively city, but has come up a lot in the international news lately, as it’s being attacked. Despite this, it was very important to us to open a site there. Regardless of that, PayEm was voted number 3 as one of the most diverse companies which is an incredible achievement: we are doing a lot of work with the LGBTQ+ community, including events with trans communities and how to tackle community challenges within the workspace.


1. What is your favourite book or blog?

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. It’s really changed the way I think about communication within the workplace and it’s something that could be quite transformative. If you’re going to read it, I’d highly recommend the audiobook! It is read by the author and she’s very warm,energetic and funny.

2. Who is your favourite inspirational leader?

Yitzhak Rabin, who was once the Prime Minister of Israel. He led our area to the beginning of the peace process, and I find that very inspirational. As a kid, I looked up to him as somebody that really changed Israel and the middle east.

3. What is your favourite piece of technology?

It’s got to be ChatGPT! It combines my love of tech with wanting a pet that I’ve never had, so it’s something that I can play with.

I play with it and feel like a little kid all over again. It’s very exciting. I can’t remember the last time I was excited about a technology like this.

4. What is your favourite cocktail or guilty pleasure?

Probably chocolate.

5. What’s your favourite way to celebrate success?

I have a nice little story for that. Our CRO, Steve Sovik, brought a 100-year-old bell into the office which he’s had since working at other companies. Every time we have something to celebrate as a company, either a win, closing a deal, a new product or partnership, we ring it!

Key Takeaways

1. Stakeholders need to be considered at every part of the process – how are they affected? How might something benefit them?

2. Make data truly accessible to key parties using your tool or platform

3. Mindset: don’t be put off by larger clients which might come with bigger problems. It’s part of the growth! Embrace complexity!

4. Culture – work on diversity and inclusivity. Keep on educating.

5. Transparency is essential and fosters a safer environment to share ideas.

6. Build strong and secure ecosystems across all levels for better working relationships.

7. Continue innovating – use new products to improve internal and external processes.

About PayEm

PayEm is the global spend management and procurement platform that automates the entire Request to Reconciliation process for finance and procurement teams.

The PayEm platform is pre-integrated into your ERP, organically developed, and designed to meet your needs.

Whether pre-approval, post-approval, or no-approval, PayEm helps to create a “culture of accountability” by putting the necessary controls in place that optimize all methods in which employees spend money.

Whether you are replacing manual processes or consolidating legacy point solutions, PayEm gives finance and procurement teams complete visibility and control that drive process efficiencies, reduce risk, and lower operating costs that contribute to business growth.

About ProcureTechSTARS

Our industry is moving forward faster and faster, empowered by innovative, progressive digital procurement solutions, and created and led by inspiring teams. ProcureTechSTARS are the digital procurement company CEOs and Founders that are leading the change.

They are entrepreneurs, engineers and architects collaborating to transform procurement and the enterprise. In an open conversation with these leaders, Lance Younger will be discussing the highs and lows of building the future, the challenges they’ve faced, their perspective on accelerators and hot topics, and what keeps getting them up in the morning (and keeps them up at night).

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