- Company: Laybuy
- What it does, in a sentence: Laybuy is a buy now, pay later service offering shoppers the opportunity to make purchases and spread the cost over six weekly payments, completely interest-free
- Founded: May 2017
- Founder/s: Gary Rohloff, Robyn Rohloff and Alex Rohloff
- Size of team: 30+
- Your name and role: Co-Founder and Managing Director
What problem are you trying to solve?
Laybuy was created to digitise a traditional model known as “layby”, in which customers reserve a shop item, pay for it in instalments, and collect it once it’s been paid off. This kind of layby is common in Australasia, sometimes known as “layaway” in the UK.
As good as it was at the time, the traditional model had its drawbacks. Namely, the consumer had to wait until they’d paid in full to receive their purchase, and retailers were forced to dedicate store space to the reserved items and administer payment schedules for their customers.
We wanted to flip this model on its head and make it even more beneficial for customers and retailers alike. Laybuy enabled customers to pay one sixth of the product upfront and settle the rest in interest-free instalments over the next five weeks, both for in-store and online purchases. Consumers can take home their items straight away, while retailers can make sales as normal.
How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?
The market is as big as the retail market. Laybuy is an alternative payment option for consumers and as all retailers know, you need to provide your customers with the ability to choose how to pay for what they want, when they want and how they want. Laybuy ticks all of those boxes.
How much can we own? Who knows! But this is a payment option that’s being embraced by consumers because it’s interest-free and helps make the desirable, affordable.
How do you make money?
Retailers pay a small commission as a percentage of the cost on each purchase made via Laybuy. Merchants are paid overnight and settled by our bank within three days. Laybuy absorbs all the consumer credit, default risk and chargeback risk and pays all transaction fees.
Shoppers can receive their desired goods or services at the point of sale, pay them off to us directly over a six-week period and are never charged any interest. Ever.
Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this?
We have a team of passionate people in three different countries, who we have handpicked due to their understanding of the retail sector and all the challenges that go with it.
Who’s bankrolling you?
We are a privately-owned business and have recently raised private equity to fuel our growth in the UK and Europe.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?
Make sure you have a profitable business, a sound business plan and a scalable model.
What do you believe the key to growing this business is?
The key is raising awareness and understanding of Laybuy and the benefit we can add to retailers’ sales and customer base.
What metrics do you look at every day?
We look at a range of metrics on a daily basis, some of which include the sales by each retailer via Laybuy, the new retailers being onboarded and the number of consumers joining our platform.
What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?
We moved to the UK in August 2018 knowing absolutely no one apart from our legal counsel. My network in New Zealand meant we grew our business rapidly but having no network in the UK meant we needed to get out there and meet people, fast. With the benefit of hindsight, I would have tried connecting with people up here well in advance of arriving in August.
What’s been your biggest mistake so far?
To be honest, thankfully there hasn’t been one mistake that stands out. Laybuy is two years old and operating in three different countries already. Having grown so fast, I would say we have inevitably missed some opportunities rather than making big mistakes. We are very proud of what we’ve achieved in such a short space of time and tend to focus on how we can be better today rather than dwell on yesterday’s mistakes.
My philosophy in business has always been that I would rather make mistakes from trying to move too quickly, than miss opportunities by moving too slowly. The key is not to make the same mistake twice!
What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead?
I think the UK and Europe is going to see and hear a lot more from the buy now, pay later sector over the next 12 months. Laybuy’s interest-free payment option will be embraced by more and more consumers as we grow as a business, in tandem with the awareness of our product.
How would a no-deal Brexit affect your business or others within your industry?
Laybuy is designed to help retailers make things easy for their customers, and to help people manage their spending and to budget more effectively. This is always important but becomes even more so in uncertain times. As a business we are prepared for any outcome, and our focus is on helping other retailers whatever happens.
Which London start-up/s are you watching, and why?
I have to admit; my focus is squarely on driving our own business. While I have the utmost respect for our competitors and new entrants into the market, I don’t tend to spend too much time watching them. I do read a lot however, particularly about the payments space, and the innovation within our industry, and I’m exciting to see how these areas progress over the coming years.