Women in Tech: Eynat Guez
Hi Eynat – Tell me a little bit about yourself and Papaya Global?
I’m Israeli born and bred currently living in Tel Aviv. I’ve been dealing with global workforce for most of my career. I started with an holding company doing mega projects in Africa, founded afterwards a company in Israel called relocation source to support corporate relocation needs and then founded a company in Asia called Expert Source, which helps global companies to grow and to expand easily to a new country, region helping them navigate through issues such as local employment laws, payroll and overseas hiring. It was from here and what I saw was the technology gap in global payroll processing that provided the kind of ‘genesis’ for Papaya Global.
You see, global payroll is still conducted as a very time-consuming manual process, prone to many errors. Payroll managers in international companies have to work with different local employment suppliers (knows as PEO’s), basically often just using excel and email. I saw there was a need for a more efficient way for global companies to manage their international payroll. The vision is to “hire everywhere” while creating the same seamless payroll management and benefits experience that companies have within the US or UK.
So, after getting initial backing from ‘seed’ investors I launched Papaya Global with my 2 co-founders in April 16. 2.5 years on, we’re now got a great team of 45+ people, the majority based in Tel Aviv with satellite offices in New York, San Francisco and Melbourne and continuing to grow very rapidly.
We’re aiming to revolutionize global payroll and the end to end experience both from the companies and the remote workers side, it may not be a ‘glamorous’ B2C product, but everyone knows when payroll has gone wrong and people haven’t got paid what they should have. We’re aiming to eliminate these errors by automating and streamlining these manual processes and on the other hand creating the best user experience as possible, and a very easy SAAS platform that requires no integration or implementation.
In addition to this, via our site/platform we’re building a wider community and a resource centre for people in a global workforce role where they can share info, data and get real-time updates on local benefits and payroll changes. We’re aiming for Papaya to be a destination site for everything global payroll.
How have you found the journey so far? What’s been your greatest accomplishment?
In order to be a founder of a start up, you must enjoy mania depression, otherwise you will not be able to make it. So, the mania side is always a big fan, when you win big deals and get great market recognition, but then you have the depression side as well, when things are not going as planned. You get negative feedback from VC’s or customers. It’s part of the motivation to reach higher and be better and prove them wrong
As someone who is addicted to extreme sports, such as mountain biking, snowboarding and open water swimming, I’ve learned by now that as in sport- you always look over the horizon in order to overcome your next obstacle, because if you look too close at the obstacle – you’ll fall.
On a personal level the first year of Papaya coincided with my pregnancy and giving birth to my daughter Ellie which I blogged about here. This was an incredibly challenging, intense period; as a start-up can’t just stop, and I couldn’t take a traditional maternity leave. Somehow though I found a way to juggle all my responsibilities. When I look back, I’d say this was my own greatest accomplishment.
How would you describe the place of women in tech in Israel?
Its strange, as despite perhaps the perception overseas, Israel has a very progressive environment and women can be found leading both established companies and start-ups. We have a very advanced start-up eco-system and you can find many groups such as ‘Women in Tech’ supporting women in technology, or women wanting to set up a start-up etc.
Having said that, there was an infamous incident last year when Angela Merkel was met by an all-male list of representatives from leading high tech companies. Of course, the people who drew up the list didn’t do this intentionally, but it does show there is an unconscious bias and still work to do.
Beyond that there’s still areas where men dominate and where women either self-exclude or are just not given the tools or opportunities to get into these areas in the first place. In high-tech you’ll find many product and project managers who are women, but men still vastly outnumber women in programming positions. And with programming or R+D the core of any high-tech company this is something which needs to be redressed. I’m trying to do my own bit, I mentor in a not for profit helping young women in the low economy part parts of Israel get into science and tech education but more needs to be done via the schools themselves.
What advice would you give to future women tech entrepreneurs?
I have few rules that I try to keep myself :
Always invest AT LEAST 20% of your time planning future growth and strategy, no matter how busy the present is
Never listen to advice from people. You won’t buy a house (or a yacht or an airplane.) from them – stick to your inner truth and your way
Always enjoy the journey, otherwise it won’t last
Appreciate what you are creating and always remember even the most innovative and craziest machines on earth were invented by humans like you , if they could do it- so can you
Never apologize to anyone for being a woman, being a mom, being what you choose to be.
What are the plans for Papaya Global over the next year?
Growth, growth and more growth.
We are currently stepping up to multibillion enterprise clients and that is challenging and amazing on its own
We are still committed to triple the company at every KPI (employees, customer, revenues) this year and to ensure we are continuing to lead the market as a global workforce innovator.