‘Figure something that’s transformative and create something new’: Fintech and the American dream

“You don’t become an entrepreneur as a holding pattern for the rest of your life. The primary thing shouldn’t be to start a business, rather figure something that’s transformative and create something new.”

This was the advice Peter Thiel gave to the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students in 2010. The talk may have been held by a student-run organization that helps promote entrepreneurship at Stanford University, but one civilian in attendance was inspired to take the plunge into the deep end of starting his own business.

Mike Galarza emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in 2009. He started working as an accounting manager at a manufacturing company, and saw the waste of time and money that goes into plugging in accounts payable information into accounting software. The entrepreneurial itch was strong within him, but it was only after he attended Thiel’s lecture that he decided to start his own company.

“I had the idea for Entryless before the BASES talk, but Peter Thiel really provoked me to say ‘it’s time to get serious’,” said Galarza in correspondence with Tradestreaming.

Galarza ended up founding Entryless, software that digitizes accounts payable invoices. The cloud-based network sits on top of businesses accounting software, translating bills into digital entries and allowing companies to make automatic payments via check or ACH transfer. SMBs use Entryless to streamline the monotony of manually entering bills into accounting software and writing checks, both wastes of time and money, luxuries small businesses don’t want to waste. In terms of real time savings, Entryless claims to save SMBs $400 a month if they use the software to make at least 50 transfers.

“The $400 a company saves is only the beginning. It can become pretty significant with more transactions,” said Galarza. “It’s very advantageous, in terms of speed and savings for companies to translate their invoices into more efficient accounting data.”

Entryless has been open commercially since 2013, and currently serves 20,000 customers and processes over $3 billion in transactions annually.

“Before Entryless we were spending hours typing bills into Quickbooks manually, then printing, signing, and mailing checks,” said Annie Aladjova, director of finance at SwipeSense, a medical company that provides sanitizing products to hospitals and monitors if workers are, in fact, keeping clean. “Entryless’s Quickbooks integration saves us time on redundant data entry, and its online payment feature allows me to process payments from anywhere at anytime.”

Founding Entryless is the story of the American dream: an immigrant moves to the good ol’ US of A for a better life and economic opportunity. But starting a business requires both hard work and a great network. Galarza has obviously put the work in, but he attributes much of his success to the help he got from Silicon Valley. For Galarza, the Valley culture helps develop entrepreneurs by both understanding that failures are part of the game and providing a network for people to grow.

“I ended up having a great support system that helped me fast-track my entrepreneurial work,” he said. “I came to the Valley without a network and not knowing anyone, but they opened their arms to me because they respect innovation and new products, regardless of your culture and language.”