Anytime is proud of its commitment to entrepreneurs. With Ezio, Sébastien Vray responds to a key theme: secure and simplify the expenses of those who incur business expenses every day.
"For me, entrepreneurial purpose should serve a cause, not the other way around."
Sébastien Vray is 37 years old and has just started the Ezio adventure (formerly Courseur Pro). Ezio is an online shopping assistant. It enables personal services professionals to better manage their shopping and enrich the experience of senior citizens, who no longer need to use their own means of payment.
Ezio is based on the observation that everyone goes shopping. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to do a neighbor a favor by doing his or her shopping? A collaborative delivery, a gesture of solidarity.
"At one point, I said to myself that all these car journeys in rural areas to run errands was too silly. Why not pool shopping trips?"
And so Ezio was born. It took a year to develop the application. In the second year, Sébastien carried out tests with Leader Price. He quickly realized that it was complicated to establish collaborative shopping as a new way of doing business.
"We had promoted the project by emphasizing solidarity. We realized that it was a militant posture to want to change behavior, and that it was complicated to get our model to emerge as a new way of operating."
In 2019, while presenting the Ezio app at the Salon des services à la personne et de l'emploi à domicile, directors of human services agencies took notice of his product, which is very practical for ensuring that homecare assistants no longer make mistakes when shopping for the elderly. However, one point did emerge: the non-security and impracticality of payments, which are often made using the elderly's own means of payment. Sébastien therefore decided to integrate a payment solution into the application.
"With my team, we started thinking about online software to help personal services companies and associations do their shopping better and secure their payment. Ezio was born. We connected with a neobank you might be familiar with, Anytime, and were able to market our product."
Today, Ezio's number one target is players in the silver economy, more specifically in personal services, both associations and companies. These are legal entities that manage employees who are homecare workers. And it's the caregivers who will use the Anytime cards. The agency manager will manage the bank cards, distribute them to the caregivers, track all payments...
This process ensures total transparency for seniors and their families with regard to receipts and payments. It also improves the quality of the shopping experience, as homecare workers can no longer make mistakes with their product catalogs in the application. Result: secure payment for personal services.
"Today, personal services professionals use a wealth of inventiveness to pay for groceries: either with the elderly person's bank card with the code, or with cash, or with blank checks. We've got care assistants walking around with envelopes of cash for the week's worth of several clients. They have to give change. Sometimes it's family carers who open accounts in supermarkets. Sometimes it's the agencies who advance the money by giving company checks to the caregivers, and then end up with paperwork to re-invoice them. That's all done with our product!
You have a bank card, with the necessary provisions made by customers on these bank cards for shopping. It's a time-saver for everyone, as well as being secure. What's more, family carers can have access to all the transactions to check that there has been no abuse of potentially fragile elderly people by the care assistants."
This offer is designed to be accessible to as many people as possible. Ezio's business model is very simple: a reasonable monthly subscription fee. And that's all there is to it.
"It's a new business model. We absolutely want the whole profession to improve its quality of service. And since we're well aware of the low margins in personal services, we prefer to have a subscription that's inexpensive, provides a huge amount of service and is distributed as widely as possible."
Sébastien has always had strong convictions, which he has applied to his professional life. Immediately after completing his communications studies, he joined WWF France, dedicated to environmental protection and sustainable development. He also founded Respire, today's leading NGO on the subject of air quality.
"I don't see economic activity as anything other than a social and environmental service to society. We have the right to make money, but not at the expense of the environment and society.
If you have basic ethics on an individual level, I find it hard to look at yourself in the mirror when you don't apply your principles to your professional life, unless you're cut off from all the world's information and all the world's problems. In that case, you tell yourself that your actions have no consequences for others, but today we're clear-sighted about the state of the world. All forms of participation, be they associative, economic, individual, political or media, must contribute to improving the world and not worsening the situation."
Sébastien's interest in the Silver Economy stems from this strong commitment. Pooling journeys made as much sense in terms of reducing the environmental impact of car use as it did in terms of helping elderly people in rural areas, who can't get around, to do their shopping. Environmental virtue has also become a social virtue. Transposing this system into a service for businesses was a logical step.
"One thing leading to another, we realized that the organization of the shopping system for the elderly was much more developed. It was already in place with personal services activities, so we thought we'd go and help personal services, which are poorly digitized. It's a fast-growing, fast-reorganizing, fast-modernizing sector. We had the technical and IT skills, and already a background in the silver economy and in shopping."
Sébastien's sense of well-being also extends to his team. Sébastien works with three people: his partner Jérémie, Front-end developer, Axelle, Back-end developer, and Mathilde, who recently joined as Sales Manager. Everyone is up to date on everything, and constantly improving the system. Initially a stickler for certain principles, such as working hours, he soon realized that giving his team autonomy allowed everyone to be in their own comfort zone and enjoy working.
"Today, I'm more focused on the goal. Is the objective met? If a developer works from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., I don't care. Everyone manages as they please. Emulation happens. It makes employees want to meet their targets and contribute collectively to the company's efforts. I regularly ask employees if they feel good, if what they're doing doesn't bore them. If some projects are heavy, we try to work for a while on something more fun."
When Sébastien introduces the tool, he gets nothing but positive feedback, especially on its ease of use. But don't think that this simplicity came on its own: it's the result of a year's development work connecting the services of a neobank with those of a SEPA direct debit provider. And, above all, to make it easy to use.
Sébastien and his team have responded to a very real need in the human services sector. In this profession, where we take care of the elderly, it's also important to make life easier for the professionals who look after others all day long.
"It's a social profession. There's this sort of big whole that we call the 'Care' society, the 'taking care' society." We need to take care of all these home helpers, these people who do ironing, housework and shopping and who are poorly paid, who lack recognition, who may even be poorly qualified and poorly digitized. It's this whole care sector that needs more recognition. This requires digitization, improved organization, better working conditions and access to training for these personal services professionals."