Pleo's hub in Madrid coordinates business operations in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal

The small-business expense management platform Pleo was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2015, and has become the fastest growing unicorn in the country over the years. The idea of combining employee and business expenses in the same solution has been well received, judging by the over 30,000 customers who are already using it.


In 2020, it arrived in Spain, the first country for its expansion into Southern Europe. Three years later, Madrid became the company's hub for Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. Its rapid growth in Spain prompted this decision, together with other factors, such as the capital's dynamic business activity, its financial services, its geostrategic location, its talent and its infrastructure.



Pleo has been recognised in Spain and other countries as the best solution in the expense and invoice management category. What sets you apart from your competitors?

Pleo is a comprehensive business spend management tool – an all-in-one solution to automate and centralise all business expenditure, both employee and corporate costs. Employee expense management tools typically cover one of the two tasks involved in the process: the time of purchase (e.g. small-business payment solutions) or the time of reporting (with management accounting systems). Pleo unifies both phases and offers a complete, integrated solution that streamlines the process at every stage. Another of Pleo's differentiating features is our degree of usability. In terms of design and user experience, our solution is very robust. In just 30 seconds, the user can complete the entire process, from payment to sending the expense with the corresponding receipt to the financial department. We also put a lot of effort into customer service. To do this, we have a local team in Spain in charge of ensuring our customers get an impeccable response whenever they need us.


What is your customer profile?

Pleo offers a modern, automated small-business expense management model tailored to the needs of today's businesses, regardless of the size or industry, providing finance teams with total control and visibility of everything that happens in the business, from expenses to invoices. Companies like Just Eat, Acciona, Hello Fresh, Finetwork, Dani García Group, and even software giants such as Voi and Northvolt all use Pleo. We work with hundreds of companies in all industries across Europe, empowering their teams while controlling their costs.


You arrived in Spain in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. What did you expect to find in this market?

When we landed in Spain, we found that Spanish companies had serious shortcomings when it came to managing employee expenses. This was a task that was poorly digitised, resulting in additional costs, cumbersome processes and wasted time. In addition, with the outbreak of Covid-19 and, above all, the expansion of remote working, it was necessary to streamline the management of payments; since employees were at home, they had to cover expenses that had previously been covered by the company.


And in May 2023, you chose Madrid as the hub from which to run operations in southern Europe. What prompted you to make this choice?

The good reception we received from the Spanish market, in which our customer base grew by 105% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, as well as the dynamic business activity in Madrid. Its good financial services, excellent geostrategic location, talent and state-of-the-art infrastructure made it the perfect place from which to coordinate our work in Southern Europe. We firmly believe in Madrid's potential as a fintech capital, and we are excited to continue contributing to its growth by opening our new hub. From here we coordinate our business operations in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, in order to cope with the rapid and solid growth that the company is experiencing.


What is Spain's role in the company's strategy today?

Spain is a strategic country for us; in fact, it was the first country where we launched in southern Europe. In addition, we believe that there is still “low-hanging fruit” in terms of companies in need of financial management solutions like Pleo in Spain, as less than half of the companies have good visibility and control of spending, according to our data.


What investments has Pleo made in Spain and how much employment has it created?

In a very short time, we have gone from being a startup present in four countries, with around 100 employees, to operating in 16 markets, with a total of over 900 professionals and more than 30,000 clients. Four of these markets are managed from the Madrid office, which in just four years has grown from a few employees to over 50 professionals. This number is constantly growing according to businesses’ needs.


Do you also plan to grow by acquiring other companies in your industry?

Pleo has not grown by acquiring other companies in the industry, nor do we have any plans to do so in the near future. The tremendous growth we have experienced so far – we expanded into ten markets in just ten months and are now present in 16 markets across Europe – has been organic growth generated by our much-needed product. Our future growth strategy may include other avenues, such as organic growth, partnerships and internal product development.


What are the next challenges you will face?

We want to make sure that we have the right tools to help businesses. That's why we will focus on refining the technology, which is the cornerstone of Pleo, and improving the customer experience to increase efficiency and optimisation. We want to guarantee a good service. It is important to localise the product well, because each market has its own regulations. For example, last year we launched Pleo Invoices, a tool to help companies adapt to future regulations on electronic invoicing, following the approval of the “Crea y Crece” law.


Photos: Pleo