Yuri Biond — the newly-minted CFO for the Americas of the cross-border payments company Paysend — sees his company’s recent media-for-equity deal with the Spanish-language media giant TelevisaUnivision as much more than a cost-effective way to fund a new marketing campaign.
“Cost is always an important component but my philosophy is the partnership also has to make sense,” Biondo told CFO Dive in a recent interview, adding that he believes this matchup does. “They have the expertise, the reach, and they know how to talk to consumers. And we have a platform that allows people to remit money that is fast, secure and flexible.”
The three-year partnership agreement is valued at $30 million, Biondo said. As part of the deal, which was announced in May, TelevisaUnivision will get shares in Paysend which will in turn reach over 63 million Hispanics based in the U.S. through the partnership’s marketing campaign. Paysend aims to convert over 5 million new customers from the outreach, according to a Paysend spokesperson.
The ad campaign — including a jingle — will be in Spanish and is set to launch next month. Biondo sees it as a key part of the company’s push into the U.S. Formed in 2017, the London-based firm is expanding its remittance services business in the U.S., aiming to appeal to migrants sending money to and from other countries.
“I think it would have been a much harder task if we had tried to spend our investment dollars on that,” Biondo said, noting that that company will be collaborating with the media company to get their insight into what and how to advertise rather than working directly with third party vendors. It “would have been much more complicated if we had tried to solve this on our own,” he said.
The concept of younger companies trading ownership stakes for media time — allowing firms to boost brand awareness and spark growth without spending any capital — may appeal to more firms as marketing spending faces sharper scrutiny. As the current high-rate environment makes financing projects more costly, chief marketing officers are increasingly needing to work harder to convince finance executives that marketing is an investment instead of a cost, CFO Dive previously reported.
But media-for-equity is not a new concept. In fact, it has been growing for about three decades, according to a Dec. 21, 2022 Forbes report. Some funds have been developed around it. For example, Sweden-based Aggregate AB is a fund with owners that included broadcasters who contribute ad time rather than cash for startups, according to a June 23, 2021 Bloomberg Businessweek report.
Last month, London-based Paysend named Miami-based Biondo, 50, to the role of CFO for the Americas, CFO Dive previously reported. He will have regulatory responsibility for the company's U.S. money transfer licenses and work to support the partnership with TelevisaUnivision.
As Paysent expands into the U.S. it faces an increasingly crowded sector with newer players like Remitly, Ramp and Dandelion as well as older and more established companies like MoneyGram and Western Union vying for slices of the remittance pie, Industry Dive sister publication Payments Dive reported.
What sets Paysend apart is its “interoperability,” as it is built to connect with three major networks that enable the customers’ money transfers, a spokesperson wrote in response to questions from CFO Dive. In practice, that means the company offers a wider range of ways customers can send money than some competitors, including to and from bank accounts as well as credit and debit cards, Biondo said.
The “interconnected range of abilities is one of the critical appeals of our product,” he said. In addition, Biondo is also confident that the Spanish-language media campaign will add an extra lever to help draw more new customers to download the app and use the service.
“TelevisaUnivision is going to help us talk to the community and we’re going to talk to the community in the language they understand,” Biondo said.
TelevisaUnivision did not respond to a request for comment.