Hi friends! I’m Suneera Madhani, founder and CEO of payment technology company Fattmerchant. The financial technology space is very competitive (and mostly male), so the road to our recent investment of $5.5 million has been interesting, to say the least! At a recent founder’s event, I was the only woman in the room and one of very few minorities. Since starting Fattmerchant in 2014, I’ve raised over $8 million in total funding and my company has transacted over $1 billion in payments for its merchants. Plus, I had my beautiful daughter in the middle of it all and very recently started recording my thoughts on my own blog!

We’ve had a lot of crazy experiences at Fattmerchant - both good and bad - that I’d love to share with you! We’ve been featured in TechCrunch, Forbes, FastCompany, Huffington Post and many more. We’ve also grown from 4 to over 30 employees.

I say all of this because I’d love to share my experiences and insights with you and answer all of your questions regarding entrepreneurship, scaling a business, raising capital, leadership, being a CEO and a mom, and anything else you would like to know about me and Fattmerchant!

Ask me anything!

Here is my proof: https://imgur.com/a/WJLw2 For those of you who are interested, you can learn more about my company here: https://fattmerchant.com/
My personal blog can be found here: http://mombossblog.com/

Comments: 225 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

turkeyjerkey23135 karma

Why should we care that you're a female entrepreneur instead of just an entrepreneur?

SuneeraMadhani20 karma

you're right, the importance of my story isn't 100% based on the fact that i'm a woman. but i believe very strongly that women need people that they relate to in fields that are dominated by men to show them that they can do it too! if i can show girls and women who might be hesitant about starting their own business that it's possible, i'd be so happy !

Present-Your-Anus24 karma

What does having a child have to do with anything? How is that even remotely relevant?

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

Hi! Thanks for your comment and feedback. I am totally obsessed with my daughter Mila and have learned that it is extremely difficult juggling running a scaling company, venture fund raising, and also being a great mom. I try and be an example to many women who want to have an incredible career but also face the same challenges I do in raising a child and being there for the day to day. I write a blog to share things that work for me and some tips and tricks to help all #momboss’s who want to have a career and family too. You can learn more on mombossblog.com or follow me on insta :)

Present-Your-Anus22 karma

So having a child is a handicap. Got it.

99thAcct20 karma

These response comments wreake of marketing team.

SuneeraMadhani3 karma

Hi its actually me. I️ blocked off the entire day.. and I’m back online. My background was heavy in marketing so i may sound like a marketer bc i am one. :) thanks for your comment!

orlandodad22 karma

Do you feel that you'll be able to keep it so that your business' income is generated primarily on the per transaction fees and the monthly membership fees or do you think that eventually your investors are going to demand you move to a more standard "interchange plus" pricing model?

SuneeraMadhani22 karma

I was actually working for a large payment processing company when i came up with the idea for Fattmerchant - i was sick of seeing merchants be nickle and dimed and never understanding what fees they were being charged and why . like most people - I am also obsessed with all things subscription - Netflix, Birchbox, you name it i have it. Why couldnt merchant services be a subscription too? I took the idea to my bosses and they laughed in my face. Thats when I knew that i had to take this and do it on my own. I started Fattmerchant on the basis of transparency and with the simplicity of a subscription service. I purposefully chose strategic investment partners that shared by vision - i like to call it “smart money”. It’s not worth the investment if your new partners don’t share your same values and vision.

orlandodad12 karma

That differentiation of getting the money vs getting the right money is so critical when building a company and looking for partners. Great job knowing the difference and not compromising on that.

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

couldn't agree more - thank you!

99thAcct13 karma

I own a small counter-serve restaurant in Naples and was considering FattMerchant since you’re based out of FL and for better rates.

I read this article though and wasn’t sure if I should still reach out, can you provide some background on it?

https://www.google.com/amp/www.orlandosentinel.com/business/brinkmann-on-business/os-fattmerchant-payment-controversy-20160922-story,amp.html

SuneeraMadhani23 karma

Glad you asked. My dad was a serial entrepreneur - i actually commented on another question in regards to all the different businesses he had- one of the businesses in the late 2000’s was real estate and he lost everything when the market turned. He filed for bankruptcy in 2012. I started Fattmerchant in 2014 and actually raised money by applying to every pitch competition i could go to and get FM name out there. I ended up winning almost 200k in prize money (OH YEAH!) and the business grew from a startup competition idea to Orlando’s sweetheart startup. We got a ton of amazing press.. forbes , fast company, tech crunch, Huffington - you name it. During this time, the bankruptcy case was getting settled for my parents and my brother and I offered to pay the settlement amount personally from our own pockets to close the case out for our family. The article was super hurtful and sucked because my dads bankruptcy had NOTHING to do with fattmerchant but the sentinel twisted the title and story in a way to say that we were “dragged” into the case (and even put a picture of my wedding on the front cover.) If you read it and the case is public - you will see that Fattmerchant has nothing to do with it but they titled it “ Fattmerchant Founders” parents trouble woes on the founders .. so yeah that’s what that was. Sucks and really shitty. We were just trying to help our parents out and they made it sound like our company was going bankrupt. #fakenews

Boomer17177 karma

I️ am not an attorney—

SuneeraMadhani6 karma

My philosophy is that there will always be haters and sometimes the bad comes with the good. We are super blessed and fortunate that 99.9% of people out there have been good to us so far so as long as we do continue to do what we are doing good will prevail! I also dont have time to deal with dumb news - our clients, investors, shareholders and those who matter know us best anyways.

Boomer17170 karma

This is fair. I️ just like to see justice and wouldn’t be able to let this sit personally. I️ also had a family member that was made out to be something he wasn’t (after his death) by a local newspaper so I️ may be biased having experienced that.

SuneeraMadhani4 karma

I couldn’t agree with you more. For the first year I can remember many nights this eating away at me. It definitely hurts and it becomes personal bc business is personal. I have just learned that my energy is better spent on the positive than trying to let some reporter who doesn’t know shit about me win. I hope to really be an example of just pushing through no matter what- no journey is easy and i have been blessed to actually receive so much amazing publicity and press for all the right reasons. Thank you for your comment . Being able to respond to this without it effecting me emotionally today was a major win!

businessisbusiness119 karma

Your website says transparency and giving power to business owners but how do you do that with payment processing??

SuneeraMadhani10 karma

This is a great question !! Banks and other merchant services companies have painted merchant services as an extremley complicated, convoluted industry. In reality, all merchants are charged the same from Visa, Mastercard, Amex and discover. All the rest is markups and ancillary fees that the processer comes up with on their own and is subject to negotiation and processing volume. We take pride in educating merchants on what the true cost of processing is, ensuring they understand every part of their statement, and then taking them to that direct cost for a monthly membership.

businessisbusiness111 karma

oh wow I didn't realize it was that complicated - how do they get away with this type of stuff

SuneeraMadhani11 karma

A huge part of it is the fact that business owners don't always understand what they're paying every month and why . the statement is hard to read - so they just pay it, which makes it really easy for companies to charge fees just for profit. we make sure our members can read their statements and never get charged for things they dont need to get charged for

Evergreen168 karma

How does your day to day looks like?

SuneeraMadhani22 karma

Hi thanks for your question! My day to day starts around at 530- sometimes 545 depending on how many times I hit snooze. I go to the gym before my family wakes up bc its the only way to get some me time... home by 715. My 15 month old daughter wakes up around 730 and we spend the morning together and always have breakfast as a family. From there I head to the office and the day is cranking! Meetings by the half hour- usually try to break away for a 15 min walk if the weather is nice to facetime Mila. Most evenings I have events to go to. Like tonight, I am speaking at Demo Day for Starter Studio (a local startup incubator) However, I'll get home in time to grab my daughter and head to the event with her. Days are jam packed but I try to ensure every hour is intentional.

Evergreen164 karma

That sounds pretty hectic, do you have any routine (i.e activity, diet, philosophy) that make possible to keep your daily life?

SuneeraMadhani14 karma

YES! My diet changes by the month - right now I have been vegan for about three weeks but I am always trying to find a balance to eat healthy as these work "steak" dinners can be exhausting. Most of my peers in my industry, investors etc are all white male middle age- so restaurants of choice are pretty standard steakhouses. Wine is always great ;) but my gut get's exhausted so I am always doing some sort of cleanses or breakaways for a little bit to re-charge. My daily routine philosphy is that every single hour should be intentional as time is my most precious commodity.

xcOoE22awjiaLmyAxepO7 karma

So...let me get this right. Your solution to "less confusing pricing" is $79/mo + 15¢/transaction + "interchange fees" which aren't listed at all?

And this is less confusing and cheaper than 2.9% + 30¢/transaction?

Also note that $79/2.9% = $2724, so unless you're processing at least that Fattmerchant is definitely more expensive. Not that that's a big amount, but I'm still under that personally and not offering anything for broke ickle startups isn't a good way to entice the little ones.

Also neither Paypal nor Stripe have contracts AFAIK, so I don't know why the video is hatin' on contracts.

Also the API is....where? I can't see it before I buy?

SuneeraMadhani6 karma

sounds like you know your stuff!! flat rate models like the one you described above do work better for a lot of micro-merchants, but once you start to scale those models become very expensive. most small to medium sized businesses aren't usually using the stripes of the world, they're working with banks that lock in bad rates and unnecessary fees - which is what we're here to eliminate. so you're right, we're not the perfect fit for every business, but we strive to provide the best solutions for as many businesses as we can!

tinytoyboats7 karma

Do you feel that being a female has made you work harder to get to where you are? Have there been instances of outright sexism when you were starting up?

SuneeraMadhani26 karma

I think that being a crazy type A driven entrepreneur who wants to fucking do something great has made me work hard to get to where I am not bc i am a girl. However, i have seen countless instances of sexism through out my career. From being told no constantly by everyone starting up, to fundraising 8M and convincing investors that female CEOs can also run fiscally responsible growth companies to fucking being told that having a baby will make my company plummet bc my work ethic will change! Literally, during my series A time i had two slides in my pitch deck addressing my pregnancy and my plan after the baby.

tinytoyboats10 karma

Thanks for your reply. Do you have any actionable tips for other women who are also looking for funding but getting discouraged (other than the typical keep pitching, someone is bound to say yes). Do you feel you HAD to address your pregnancy to be taken seriously or would you go back and act like it wasn't a factor. Thanks again!

SuneeraMadhani17 karma

I did feel I had to address it 100%. We were in a serious growth phase of the company and I definitely had indirect questions on it so it was actually easier just talking it through and addressing the “baby” in the room. My greatest piece of advice that i would give to other female entrepreneurs raising money is to have your shit together! There is no such thing as a billion dollar idea - only a billion dollar execution. Investors want to see solid KPIs , finances, growth , forecasting, etc. so know your numbers, be confident in your scale strategy and you will crush it my friend! It doesn’t hurt if you are also scaling super fast, have technology in place and paying customers ;)

GhootWootWat2 karma

To be fair I don't think people suggesting that your work rate may drop because you've just had a child is sexist, it's a realistic scenario.

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

Wow, I couldn’t disagree more. I actually am 10x more efficient as a CEO bc i manage my time and priorities wisely.

SiTeorbzey0 karma

But you're strive to succeed made you continue through the good and the bad times?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

Absolutely. As an entrepreneur you have to have resilience , grit and grace.

SiTeorbzey1 karma

Which I agree is the war forward in life push harder and further follow your dream

I'd say these illustrate my point perfectly

'Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place, and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that' rocky balboa

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

Wow, incredible quote. I want this on my wall somewhere.. LOVE IT. Thanks for your comments!!!! You rock (no pun intended.)

GilfOG6 karma

Do you feel threatened by Bitcoin, or do you see it as a tool you can use to reduce costs in the overall global financial network?

SuneeraMadhani14 karma

we're not threatened - we facilitate solutions for businesses, so if bitcoin is something that consumers want, we'll adapt our technology in order to reflect that need. we just want to make sure business owners have everything they need to make payments easier, so we make a point to offer any solution they might need... pos systems, terminals, invoicing softwares, online billing... so bitcoin would simply be added to the list if our merchants want it there.

pls_mercy6 karma

On a scale of 1-10, how cool is your mobile developer?

SuneeraMadhani11 karma

12!

pfeifits6 karma

What makes fatmerchant a better option than all the other ways businesses can get paid?

SuneeraMadhani10 karma

there are actually a few reasons. fattmerchant is based on this subscription model - meaning that we offer a very unique way for merchant's to pay for their processing . this monthly membership equals thousands of $$ in savings for our members monthly. we get rid of all the extra fees and bring members to direct cost of interchange. ON TOP of that - we have an omni channel platform that brings all of your data to one place , meaning if you process on a terminal or online or both all of your sales data can be viewed in your fattmerchant login!

DeucesCracked4 karma

How do you feel about working in a technological space that's been made obsolete by block chain technology?

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

We provide credit card processing and payment facilitation for small businesses ranging from 250k-50M in processing. Block chain is super cool and so are crypto-currencies. Currently, however people still pay over 90% of their transactions on a credit or debit card. We help small businesses accept payment processing in all its forms- from debit, credit, Apple Pay, samsung pay, and when the time is right even bitcoin will come.

Our business is not obsolete as there are millions of small businesses in the US that need to accept payments And are currently doing so BUT are paying high % markups and have zero to no technology. For example.. a simple cupcake bakery now takes payments in many forms- they may have a mobile device for on the go, they may have a website for online orders and retail, they may be using an invoicing system for catering orders and they have an in store point of sale system to accept at point of purchase. Currently- most merchants have 4 different solutions, that don’t talk to each other. With Fattmerchant, we can provide them with our own proprietary tech for each of those solutions OR integrate with what they are using today. The best part is now it will all be on A SINGLE platform , one merchant account, one bill, one flat monthly membership , tons in savings and analytics on payments for the entirety of their business.

DeucesCracked6 karma

You literally just described your company as doing for profit what crypto does for free...

WilliamBott3 karma

I'm pretty sure most of the people asking the softball questions are shills or part of her marketing team/family/friends. 😂😂😂

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

Hi i don’t know who asked this question and this was my honest response

DeucesCracked2 karma

He meant people asking easy to answer, nice-guy questions.

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

I know exactly what you mean by softball questions. :) However, I do not know who asked this question. Just answering away!

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

We don’t offer crypto as a payment acceptance yet as mentioned. We offered credit card processing, ach services debit, gift and loyalty as well as all NFC enabled Payments so far. The plan is to continue to offer payment acceptance as consumers and business’s demand them. Hope this helps

Zootropic4 karma

Alright … umm congrats I guess?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

Thanks !!

Irishnovember263 karma

Who decided on the name fattmerchant? I mean...fat merchant? come on.

SuneeraMadhani15 karma

I love this question! I get asked this the most!! It actually stands for Fast Affordable Transaction Technology and it was meant to be everything ever other payment company isnt! One night when working on the business plan I threw up words that would describe our company and those words stood out. You see I worked for a really really really really traditional, payment company. I never once met a customer who said- hey I love my merchant services provider and from there I was a girl on a mission. I listened to every customer complaint for 3 years and from there wanted to build what we are today. Traditional payment companies make money on variable % on every transaction and its a big burden for small business, they provide zero tech, zero service, and are def not fast. I am super proud that we live up to our name and really focus on the customer experience. Also, who doesn't want to make their wallet FATT? :)

Irishnovember26-8 karma

So do you guys not have marketing people? I get that fatt is an acronym. But it still sounds weird. Fat Merchant. It's like you're in fight club and trying to make soap.

FrydomFrees1 karma

I think it works on both levels, the acronym and the "fat" version, as in merchants can get fat on all the extra money they're saving. That's what I immediately thought of with the name before I saw the acronym, and I am a marketer

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

Thanks @frydomfrees! Yes it does work on both levels and our customers love it! We want customers to feel happy when thinking of payments, not a necessary evil.

csndra05043 karma

What has been the most difficult growing pains in your business? Has your role in the company changed as you've scaled up? Is there anything that you miss about being a small company as you've grown? I look forward to your answers! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

SuneeraMadhani7 karma

Just scaling the business and growing 2000% in one year was INSANE and that itself was the biggest growing pain was GROWTH. This was the first time i had ever done anything of this magnitude. The first year we were in business we did 5M in payments for our customers and the second year went from 5m to 110m, then 750 million last year and already crossed 1B this year. The growth has been massive and there are def growing pains in every part of my organization. From scaling, to tools, to partnerships, to employees and of course fundraising. I was 7 months pregnant doing my series A - in total I have raised almost 8M for the company.

redict0 karma

Could you speak a little more about how you grew the business in the first year? What marketing channels did you explore, where did you get help from, what things had great return, etc. Basically how did you get your first customers and how did you keep getting more and more?

SuneeraMadhani5 karma

Marketing channels primarily were all digital- google ads, seo, blogging, social etc. We used local agencies to help us but also did a ton in house. We also did grass roots marketing and community efforts to get our first customers. Literally old school networking works to gain initial customers- cant be scaled but hey we did get to 100 customers that way.

starwarsyeah2 karma

I've actually been looking for a new credit card processing company. Our current issue is that everything is complex, and nothing is linked together. So we currently get charged by company A for a portal to process cards on, and by company B who actually moves the money around. It's pretty ridiculous.

Questions as follows:

  • Do you outsource anything, or is everything in house?
  • You say transparency in pricing, but why don't you publish the interchange fees on your site? Is there a prohibition not to from the card companies?
  • Why is there a limit on the lower price plan of $1 million/year?

SuneeraMadhani4 karma

so happy you found this post !!

something that we do here at fattmerchant is connect all of your solutions into a single login so you can view all the data you need to be successful. plus... we just want everyone to have simple processing - which we believe shouldn't be as rare as it is!

  • we have an inhouse technology team that continues to build on and improve our proprietary payment platform. we have a virtual terminal for invoicing and online billing, mobile app, and an omni channel platform. we also sell terminals from our trusted partner dejavoo and offer payment gateways through Authorize.net . this might sound like outsourcing ... but it's absolutely not!! fattmerchant is always your first point of contact no matter what solution you have with us, and we're the one who onboards you and manages your account - always !
  • we are 10000% more transparent in pricing simply because we operate on a subscription model instead of a markup. our members always know what they're paying. the reason we don't post interchange is bc it varies from merchant to merchant depending on what types of cards they run that month. rest assured we're not trying to hide anything by not posting - our payment consultants actually run the majority of our members through a statement analysis - showing them line by line what's going on in their monthly statements.
  • the limit is because our enterprise members qualify for a different membership once they process over $1M / year. our enterprise program includes a few awesome perks like a one-on-one account manager, risk management, chargeback alerts and more.

if you're interested in learning more please DM me your info!

starwarsyeah0 karma

We use Authorize through whoever their sister company is right now, and I would definitely consider that outsourcing, because we can't see certain things that happen when it goes from Authorize to someone else. Our primary contact is through Authorize, but for instance, we cannot see how they batch transactions and remit cash to us. We also receive a bill from their sister company for their services.

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

unlike any other processor that deals with authorize.net we have inhouse tech that we built so that you don't have to deal with contacting them for batch info or reconciling - it's all done through us and your account manager here at fattmerchant! also, our monthly subscription covers any of those fees you're currently seeing from the sister company - the way our pricing is set up, we actually eat all of those fees for our merchants.

starwarsyeah0 karma

Nice, thanks!

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

no problem! definitely reach out if you're interested, we'd love to learn more about your business :)

potcoincrypto2 karma

Do you have plans to incorporate blockchain technologies in your services?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

this isn't the first question here regarding blockchain - so i'll encourage you to take a look at some of the other comments as well. but as a quick summary, we exist to make facilitating payments for merchants easy as possible - so whatever they may need to accept payments we're going to provide. if the tide turns toward blockchain tech, we'll pivot to be able to supply that to our merchants.

potcoincrypto0 karma

Sorry missed that part. Do you have plans with your company to provide payment gateways for the cannabis industry?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

we're exploring options, but nothing solid yet. it's a tough thing to get into as a payment processing company, but we're definitely aware and are looking into options for our merchants!

Sowiedu2 karma

Blockchain at all?

SuneeraMadhani5 karma

i actually have an earlier question in here somewhere about bitcoin - and i think the same answer applies here. basically fattmerchant facilitates solutions for merchants, so whatever they need to get paid and meet the needs of their customers, we're able and willing to provide.

spaceraverdk2 karma

What has the 1 year old daughter got to do with any of this?

SuneeraMadhani5 karma

I have addressed this question below but I’m happy to do it again. I have scaled a company from ground up, from absolutely nothing by going out and pitching like crazy, winning pitch competitions, validating my business idea, getting investors and scaling. I went from 5m to 1 billion, in payments in 3 years. I raised 8M in venture capital in Orlando (which has a massive lack of venture capital) and did all of this against every odd that came my way.

My beautiful one year old daughter is my world and she is a driving force in the passion i have to persevere with grit and grace. I want to be able to show her and every girl/woman out there that we can HAVE IT ALL. We can have a really really really fucking demanding career and also be amazing wives and moms. It’s not easy for ANY parent - mom or dad.

My CTO is a dad of 2. He actually has a really cool blog called #startupwithkids and i write one called mombossblog.com. The reason we have these blogs is that people constantly ask us how juggling work and life is possible. Many, many , many amazing young women and moms come to me and tell me how inspirational my story is and that they were willing to start their business after seeing that you can be home for dinner.

I️ am not saying i am the only one or i deserve an award for this, i just want to be able to share my story to inspire other women and men who have a growing family that they as well can go after their dreams and #getshitdone.

thedexiz1 karma

How did you start your business in steps? Was it something like that: came up with an idea, went to incubator, coded a week, got MVP running, got VISA and MASTERCARD onboard, bought ads at Google, started getting customers, revenue grew, more investors piled in, and voola - here you are!

At what stage of your startup did you raise capital? What were the values of key indicators back then (was it something like "we have 100 clients getting 100 bucks everyday through us")? I know that venture capital comes with strings attached. Assume you are selling your company today. How large must its valuation be for you to actually earn some money?

The field is quite competitive. Are there any firms with the same offer as you?

SuneeraMadhani6 karma

Here were the steps 1. Had an idea 2. Took it back to my old bosses 3. They laughed in my face- i left super disappointed 4. Got encouragement from friends and family to pursue the idea 5. Had to find Mr. VISA- got pen to paper with business plan, $20k in cash, quit my job at 26 and in 6 months got sponsorship from Vantiv - 2nd largest processor in the US. 6. Got our site up 7. Pitched at every pitch competition I could apply to 8. Got trending in the community and on local publications 9. Got picked up by fast company - will link article below - article went viral 10. Non stop phone rang, website crashed, etc but we didn’t have anything that would scale 11. Knew the idea was bigger than just a lifestyle company 12. Applied for a tech accelerator (had about 50k in ARR and 3 employees... zero proprietary tech) 13. Met CTO and Core developer there - convinced them to join my team 14. Built MVP of platform 15. Asked for 500k on demo day 16. Oversubscribed by local investors - took 850k in funding for seed round 17. Focused on 10x scalability and building out our payment platform 18. Grew from 5m in payments to 110M - from 50k in ARR to 1M run rate in <12 months 19. Raised series A - 1.4 mil to focus on scaling efforts - during this time had my beautiful daughter 20. Continued to scale, grew team, grew tech 21. Raised series B of 5.5 22. Still writing our journey :O)

Forsaken2461 karma

As a person looking to start their own business, if you don't mind sharing, how many people did you start with in your team and how much capital did you start with?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

great question! when i first started it was just me and $20,000. it wasn't long at all until we hit 4 employees and won our first pitch competition for $25,000. once i got that win i just wanted more, so i applied to every single pitch competition i could find !! we were asking for $500k seed round and were offered $1.2M - wound up accepting $850K. fast foward to series A, we wound up raising $1.4M. and just recently, for our series B, we raised $5.5M !! huge milestone for us and amazing growth to come from it !!

rainbowaurora1 karma

Which of your duties, as a CEO or mom, do you outsource?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

I have the most incredible office manager Christina who helps me stay on schedule and keep life organized in and out of the office. Some things I outsource are some chores i hate at home... laundry! And as much as i used to love grocery shopping and picking out my own veggies ... instacart just makes life easier where i can order groceries for the family while sitting on the plane runway.

foodfighter1 karma

How are you planning to use the capital to expand your business?

And at the risk of sounding indelicate - what sort of cost in terms of control did you have to pay your backers for their investment? (not looking for specific numbers, but do you now have to answer to a larger group of people for your actions, etc.?)

As a small business owner I sometimes wonder at what point the added issues that come along with raising capital outweigh the benefits of expanding your business.

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

Planning to use the recent funding for continued scale for customer acquisition, and platform and technology development. Usually every time you do a round of funding you give up about 20-25% of your business.

It is definitely different for every business and some businesses you are right may be better off without giant capital injections. However, we want to reach every small business everywhere and save them as much money as we can on payment processing and remove 100% of the headache. Our mission is payment world domination with the best damn service!

sparikh30 karma

I used to work at a payments company and one of the biggest debates we had was this "war on cash". Do you think we will every transition to a truly cashless economy?

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

i definitely think we're going to be cashless - no doubt! ! the innovation in payment tech is mind blowing - so many awesome new ways for consumers to pay and get shit done without having to worry about cash, it's just a no brainer!

sparikh30 karma

I definitely agree with you. I guess the most interesting part is the process of financial inclusion across various socioenonomic barriers and breaking peoples skepticism with banks

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

Couldn’t agree more!

14MTH30n30 karma

What is your tech stack? Sorry, I am a 🤓

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

AWS with a cluster of nodejs and Laravel micro services oh and react/iOS/android front end.

Nofanta0 karma

How much time are you able to spend with your daughter each day? Did/are you breastfeeding your daughter? Do you plan on having more kids?

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

i work from home once a week and bring mila to the office as much as i can - so i try really hard to see her as much as possible! i was able to make it about 7 months breastfeeding my daughter. funny story! since i went back to work part time fairly soon after having mila, i had to pump in our little bathroom and keep it in the company fridge!! definitely a challenging part of being a new mom/ceo!! i do want more kids - i think having a big family would be amazing!

Nofanta0 karma

Do you have someone taking care of her while you have her in the office? Are all employees allowed to bring their 1 year olds in to the office like that? Each of my kids, when they were one, would have been impossible to have in the office with me with the crying and need for attention being almost constant.

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

not to brag, but mila is actually pretty well behaved in the office! every friday afternoon we have an all-hands meeting where one of our departments presents on recents wins, and it's usually a really casual fun time for everyone - so i like to bring mila to that, which usually works out great! we definitely encourage little ones in the office... and dogs!

Nofanta0 karma

How many little ones are actually in the office on a regular basis? Are people able to depend on this as an alternative to child care? Have there been problems with that being a distraction?

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

We dont have child care.. yet! But our team brings their kids in all the time. Especially when the kid get sick or needs to be picked up early from school or for something. At one given point we did have 4 kids and 3 dogs around the office but that was at its peak :)

lunalannister0 karma

What was your education like? When hiring people, what do you take into consideration more - education or experience?

I'm so inspired by your balancing career and motherhood - that's something that I stress about when considering my future career plans. Thank you for sharing!

SuneeraMadhani8 karma

I also want to add to my response on the #momboss life. It is fucking hard. BUT IT CAN BE DONE. I️ recently created a blog to discuss the struggle of balance mom life and boss life at www.mombossblog.com you can also follow me and my momboss journey @mombossblog on instagram. Some tips that work well for me - are using every technology tool possible to organize my home life as I do my business life, trello, scheduling, Instacart, meal delivery, and other services to make home life a little easier. I also bring Mila to work once a week and work from home once a week so I still feel connected and around her. Mom guilt is a real thing however, and so is boss guilt. You just have to do your best everyday- cheesy as it may be its my mantra.

SuneeraMadhani3 karma

I went to the University of Florida and am a GATOR!!! I got a degree in Finance with a minor in "leadership" which was a total bullshit minor but looked great to recruiters ;). Love my alma mater. When I hire team members- (right now we have 30 but will be at 60 by Q1 2018!) values matter more to me than experience or education. From there definitely experience. In our organization our team is considered #fattfamily and so we go through vigorous culture and values fit before bringing on just anyone!

UForgotten6 karma

Go Gators! My wife and I got degrees from there as well, and Business Finance was the most brutal class we took at UF. So kudos to you for making it work. No questions really, just wanted to say hi and that I know a few people there, have been admiring from afar, wishing you the greatest continued success.

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

Hi! And thank you!

JasonBerk2 karma

Hah, that's funny. I also graduated with a degree in Finance from UF with a leadership minor. I actually just moved back to Gainesville to spend some time here as an "adult". It's interesting to say the least!

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

That’s awesome. Well, its a fantastic school and the finance major was definitely challenging. Best of luck!

YogaMystic0 karma

I have an idea for an app that could make a lot of money. I don't have money to hire a coder, and I'm nervous about pitching it to investors, because I don't want my idea stolen. Do you have any recommendations for resources to help guide a non-tech person in the tech/entrepreneur world? I don't want to be stupid, but I think I'm being paranoid!

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

I actually 100% believe that by keeping your idea hidden you are doing yourself and your business a disservice. Talk about your product to everyone! NO ONE wants to steel your business trust me!

CypSteel0 karma

Can I ask who you partnered with to do your animation video? Those always fascinate me and help sell a complicated theory or idea. Yours was well done.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llhUx8vElaQ

SuneeraMadhani3 karma

agreed! we love using video bc it really helps our audience understand our complicated industry. if you haven't already checked it out, we have a bunch of other cool vids on our youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN0ZmCx2dYUGJCgYWlEy53g. as for the vendor, we actually have an inhouse team that does most of them, and we use the tool fiverr.com for videos we want to outsource. I would suggest investing in an inhouse team though, video is definitely worth it!

anejame0 karma

What is the best advice you've ever received?

SuneeraMadhani12 karma

This one is tough but someone once told me..... it never gets easier - and it really hit home. its def true especially on my journey as an entrepreneur and balancing mom/wife/family/community life. I always thought oh, once i get to our first 100 customers it would get easier- it didn’t. Oh, once i hit 1 million in revenue it would get easier- it didn’t. Oh, when I hire 15 more people and they take on more work that needs to get done our lives would get easier - it didn’t. Today, we are at 1 billion in processing, have a full blown team, a million processes, investors, offices across the nation- and it is definitely still not easy. However, one piece of advice this person didn’t tell me it doesn’t get easier but it is very fulfilling. Some days i do want to just stay home and pretend to be sick but 99% of the time i wake up super energized and ready to take on what the day brings.

Rachelca70 karma

Why Orlando? I'm a native and LOVE my city (and the entrepreneurs who call it home), but curious why FM chose to Otown (and do you intend to keep it that way?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

the orlando community is AMAZING! i think it's really a no brainer starting a company here - the talent is awesome and i honestly owe so much of fattmerchant's sucess to the support i've received from the community from the very beginning. not only are there a ton of resources in orlando (starter studio, canvs, local universities, orlando tech), but i really do have the greatest team - made up of local talent! even though fattmerchant is starting to expand to new cities, our home is and always will be orlando! we're looking forward to growing here with everyone!

Browwizard11300 karma

How old were you when you started Fattmerchant and at what age do plan to retire!?

SuneeraMadhani8 karma

I was 26 when i started Fattmerchant back in 2014. i'm absolutely loving being an entrepreneur and CEO, so no matter what happens with Fattmerchant , i can see myself being a seriel entrepreneur for sure! I’ll retire when pigs can fly ;)

askingforalazypets0 karma

When you started how did you finance the dream and how did you get word of your product out / sales?

How long from concept to launch with first customer did it take?

What was it like the first couple months?

What would you say is best way for a new product to get recognition?

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

Personal savings is what i used to get going and then from there as mentioned in other comments applied to many shark tank like venture pitch competitions. Took home lots of winning that went straight to the business. First customer was probably a few weeks- i had some pre-willing beta’s like friends and family businesses!

Best way for product to get recognition is to get it in the hands of users!!!!!! You can always continue to make your product better but you have to launch it to get feedback. Fail fast, succeed faster !

beetsradish10 karma

Hi Suneera, is your husband involved in Fattmerchant? How do you manage to spend quality time with him while juggling your mom duties and company?

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

My husband does not work with me. He actually has a small business of his own and is also a an entrepreneur. It is super difficult juggling mom/wife life with exec life. The way we make it work is planned weekly date nights and he comes to many of my events where I speak at or our company is at so that we can make a fun evening out of it.,. Hey there is always wine involved at events and I️ love seeing his face in the audience before I head up onstage <3

beetsradish10 karma

That's very sweet. I am 25 and pregnant. I've always wanted to start my own business and it's really nice to read about a lady who made it.

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

Wish you the best in your journey!

VordLader0 karma

Are you hiring Android devs?

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

Sorry - not currently! But we're always expanding so keep us in mind for the future :)

moneymitch110 karma

Congrats on your success thus far! How did you go about receiving funding for your business and what was the process like? Did you reach out to angel's or VC firms or did investors contact you?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

the number one thing i did to get attention while trying to receive funding was apply to every single pitch competition i could find !! i won my first one from NAWBO (national association of women business owners) for $250K and didn't want to stop! once i started pitching to different audiences, the offers started coming in . we work with VCs who share our vision and i always make sure to only partner with investors who share my values and have the same vision for fattmerchant. my company is very disruptive, changing the way merchant services has been done for decades, so only accepting "smart" money has been crazy important to me! the process is DEFINITELY a lot to handle - with due diligence and everything that goes into finding that perfect fit - but it's been so rewarding and definitely a learning experience!

militaryboundaf0 karma

What classes did you take to learn about the ins and outs of buisness work or were you self taught?

SuneeraMadhani3 karma

i've had so many mentors along the way that have taught me so much about the startup world. my brother, sal, have been incredibly helpful and currently sits as the COO of Fattmerchant. I've also been a part of startup incubators like starter studio and others that have been hugely helpful. Nothing beats the lessons learned through experience, though, and most of my most valuable lessons came from experiences i've had.

orlandodad0 karma

PB&J or Tuna sandwich? Also do you like pineapple on your pizza?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

PBJ FOR SURE. wait actually I do love a good tuna. AHHH SO hard!!! ok PBJ bc they are Mila's fave. <3

orlandodad2 karma

Avoiding the polarizing question about pineapple. Smart move.

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

I dig pineapples.

joelglenny0 karma

When did you first have the idea to create this solution and what steps did you take to make it a reality?

SuneeraMadhani5 karma

I was actually working for a large payment processing company when i came up with the idea for Fattmerchant - I was sick of seeing merchants be nickle and dimed and never understanding what fees they were being charged and why. Like most people - I am also obsessed with all things subscription. Netflix, Birchbox, you name it I have it. Why couldnt merchant services be a subscription too? I took the idea to my bosses and they laughed in my face. Thats when I knew that i had to take this and do it on my own. I started Fattmerchant on the basis of transparency and with the simplicity of a subscription service - so i've made a point to only work with investors who share my vision. I call it "smart money" - making sure that any money coming in is from a partner who shares my values and the vision of the company.

joelglenny0 karma

Eff em all - Netflix for Merchants! Love it!

SuneeraMadhani3 karma

Haha love it! Yup!!! EFF EM ALL!

IMaBallaShockColla0 karma

How do you find and hire people you can trust within the company. Mainly hire ups, how do you find people that you can put into positions of power and let them operate without worry? I understand there is a lot of culture fit that goes on, but what else to you take into account.

Also, what kind of partnerships do you currently have, and how did they come about?

SuneeraMadhani3 karma

Finding amazing talent is def one of the hardest challenges of my role especially at the speed we have needed to hire. Right now i am currently facing the challenge you are speaking of for hiring up. The way we have been able to find the right people is through introductions and referrals. We haven’t used a recruiting firm up until this point but are now leverage one as we need to double our team size in about 3 months!! Filling middle management and strategic leadership is def not easy and its not necessarily about letting them operate without worrying- it truly is about finding the right experience fit as well. For example, right now with the close of our series B - we were able to hire a Chief Strategy Officer of one of the largest payment companies in the US. He IS A FUCKING rockstar and has led and scaled massive organizations. I could have never imagined i would have a hire like this as my direct report (and trust me its super intimidating) but we need to scale up and hire up. Things that i personally take into account for leadership positions are leadership style, years of experience, strategic thinking and vision! To answer your second question on partnerships- this has been super amazing to see for our company. When we first launched this wasn’t even a channel as all of our customers came to us directly on our website - however as we were growing so were the partner requests. We have been fortunate to have a pipeline directly from partners who want to embed our payment processing api on their systems as well as sell our services complimentary to theirs. This Chanel is now 30% of our revenue and is the 2nd largest piece we are growing org wise to be able to expand, scale and support our growing partners.

rainbowaurora0 karma

What was something difficult about being a CEO and mom at the same time that most people don't realize?

What was something that was surprisingly easy?

SuneeraMadhani3 karma

The hardest thing was breastfeeding/pumping while I was at work . I was back at work in 3 weeks part time and 6 weeks full time. I was able to pump during work hours while I was away but it was definitely the hardest struggle. Sorry guys for TMI! Whats also never easy is mom guilt. It’s so hard missing day to day with my daughter but I am doing what i LOVE and I want to make her so proud one day.

Something that was easy was becoming a master ninja efficient time manager- I became faster and quicker at work and ensured every meeting and every event was worth my time being away. I was able to cut back tons of bs events I did not get or give value to.

hobojen1 karma

Reading this while I'm pumping at work.

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

you go, girl!

rainbowaurora0 karma

That's amazing. You are my hero!

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

Oh gosh so sweet! I hope to continue to inspire many women!!

rainbowaurora1 karma

What are some things you had to cut out or give up to pull this off? What were the hardest ones?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

A lot of what got sacrificed was extra me time, friends and social circles. I try and incorporate my personal life/friends/family etc and invite them to my events and networkers so we can get 1-1 time while I’m “working” . It’s not easy. I have also sacrificed my sanity almost daily. It’s really hard juggling everything and i do find myself extremely exhausted at the end of the day after getting my kid to bed.. i stay up thinking about the business, about my daughter, about our personal life, etc. really hard turning off as there is always something happening and ALWAYS a fire to put out.

GirlBossInTheMaking0 karma

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

SuneeraMadhani4 karma

Hell no !! My dad was actually an immigrant serial entrepreneur who never lasted for more than 2 years on a particular business idea. Because of this, i went to 10 different schools in 12 years. It was not fun. However, i got a chance to work at every business ever... from church’s chicken franchise (I️ would wear a chicken suit to attract customers and make kids happy) , citgo gas stations, pizzerias, a dance night club, call centers, marketing company etc. My brother and I from a very young age worked after school and on the weekends (not hard core child labor but more helping the fam bam- ok maybe it was child labor). However, I learned A SHIT ton on running a business and we as a family experienced all the ups and downs of being owner operators and all the stress that comes along financially as well. For that reason, i actually never wanted to be an entrepreneur and wanted a very steady, structured corporate position. After graduation, i went down the corporate path for about 5 years but i guess it was in my dna to challenge the status quo constantly. Now running my own business (and working with my awesome brother) we are able to utilize all those childhood learnings and even learn from all the mistakes of the past!

GirlBossInTheMaking-1 karma

Where do you get your clothes and makeup from?! Do you have a beauty routine or glam squad?? You always look flawless - how do you manage with such a busy schedule? It's hard for me to prioritize looks when there's so much else to do!

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

Omg so flattered! I am actually a little make up obsessed but my routine is down to a solid 15 mins in the morning. I SWEAR by dry shampoo so I dont wash my hair everyday and it saves me tons of time. I do 99% of my shopping online and have a few go to stores- Zara is my number one and actually number two is.... amazon. I know! They always suggest amazing stuff under 30 bucks based on previous purchases and I love to change out fashion in trend now things with classic quality pieces so I’m always mixing it up. For makeup- i am a MAC girl bc the makeup lasts all day.. and i barely have time to touch it up. A quick tip- i keep a solid replica of my makeup bag at home in my desk for a touch up when i need to go to an event or need to live on camera . Fun story: we got a call from Fox News the day EMV tech came out in payments for a thought leadership interview... well it was last day of the month and at our company we do “last day namaste” where we wear yoga and comfy gear to work to zen out on the most stressful day of the month. Well, in about 30 mins i had to go from drab to fab and ended up piecing together an outfit (waist up) for the interview. Ill link it here below - below the sweater I was actually in yoga gear and sneakers. Learned my lesson- always keep your makeup bag, hair straighter, and a 2nd pair of clothes in your work drawer at all times- you never know!!!!

kmoosey-1 karma

Who is your favorite cousin and why is he so awesome ?! Haha so cool you did the AMA and can’t wait to see y’all soon!

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

My favorite cousin is not Saif Ali. ;)

apextrue-1 karma

Miss Gadot, what's one of your favorite moments filming Justice League?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

Lol ! I think matching my daughter’s Halloween costume was my highlight! Follow me on @mombossblog for pics

Shewhoisgroovy-1 karma

What do you spend all that money on? Like what's you're favorite thing that I could never afford but you couldn't live without? Also, what economic background do you come from and was it a big change to be earning so much?

SuneeraMadhani1 karma

well this is a fundraising round for my company... so I can't wait to hire some more amazing talent and really grow the business. we're investing in our tech development and strategic partners - and just bringing an amazing payments experience to our members!

Ghost-Of-Nappa-1 karma

Can I get like $1,500 to pay off debt and use towards a new (used) car?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

Sure you can! We offer a $100 referral bonus for anyone who sends us customers and they sign up :) lol

SVcross-2 karma

What is you favorite Super Mario Bros. level?

SuneeraMadhani2 karma

HATE the water level - LOVE racing the walls coming down.