Council payments software startup Payble raises $3.5m

Council payments software startup Payble raises $3.5m

Payble founder and CEO Elliott Donazzan.

A Sydney-headquartered startup that makes payment solutions easier for councils and residents has successfully raised $3.5 million in a round led by OIF Ventures, adding to existing capital injections from Commonwealth Bank's (ASX: CBA) x15ventures to take total seed funding for Payble to $6 million.

Payble founder and CEO Elliott Donazzan tells Business News Australia there are now more than a dozen councils using the company's payments workflow and customer engagement software, which acts as a "gateway" for ratepayers who usually only have more traditional payment options such as BPAY available.

Ratepayers do not need to pay fees for Payble's service which allows for more convenient, automated payments via a QR code on council rates notices, including larger annual, quarterly or even flexible weekly or fortnightly options.

This niche offering is all the more relevant considering the majority of councils do not hold the appropriate licences to enable direct debit via card.

From a council perspective, Donazzan explains the solution helps local governments increase on-time payments and reduce the administrative burden associated with billing.

Founded in 2020, the company has a client base that represents just a tiny fraction of the market of 537 councils Australia-wide, but Donazzan sees strong demand.

"We’re all aware of the cost-of-living pressures facing households, and these impacts flow on to our local councils," he says.

"In fact, 60 per cent of councils expect payment arrears to increase again this year, and 69 per cent of council rates teams say they’re already feeling under-resourced in their response. With Payble, councils can now offer a flexible, self-service payment experience to their community that’s designed to keep payments on-track.

"It feels like councils have been waiting for a solution like this. They're all wanting right now to offer more flexibility to their communities in terms of easy, bite-sized payments, and right now their method for doing that is you have to call them and submit paperwork, so they know they need to do it another way."

He says the community benefits because they can easily align payments to their own budget without frustrating paperwork or phone calls, while councils benefit too by improving cashflow and saving time not being bogged down in administrative work.

"We’re really excited to have OIF Ventures on board. With their deep understanding of enterprise software and prior experience in helping early-stage companies grow within government, it was a perfect fit," adds Donazzan, who has a team of 10 at the company.

OIF Ventures investor Oliver Darwin says the group has been following Payable and its founder since 2022, noting he has "proven to be an incredibly impressive founder and CEO, who has consistently executed on every milestone put in front of him".

"Elliott has a truly intimate understanding of the problems faced by his customers and has built a world-class team and solution to address them, which is delivering exceptional outcomes for both councils and ratepayers all around the country," says Darwin.

"We’re incredibly proud and excited to be partnering with Elliott and the Payble team on this journey."

Donazzan says the company will also be eyeing global expansion towards the end of calendar 2024.

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