On this episode Of Scaling Up, March Capital managing partner, Jamie Montgomery and Forbes futurist Rich Karlgaard talk to Bill.com’s founder and CEO, René Lacerte. Bill.com is a fast-growing cloud software company that sells automated payment services for small and medium sized businesses. When we interviewed Lacerte, BILL was worth $8 billion in market cap; today it is $9.12 billion. We talked about fast growth leadership, mentorship secrets, and how Lacerte’s father was a pianist for the late Gram Parsons, even though Lacerte’s father was missing four fingers.

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MORE FROM FORBESPersonal Growth Needs To Be Every CEO’s Top Priority, Says Bill.com’s Rene Lacerte

The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

Rich Karlgaard:  René, what was your original mission, how was it progressed, and the fundamental question – why is what you do important to your customers?

René Lacerte:  We think of ourselves as champions for small and medium-sized businesses to help them automate the financial processes that around paying and getting paid. If you think about payables and receivables, people do not expect this number to be true but it is. Ninety percent of businesses still rely on paper to manage their processes and make their payments. If paper is a primary form of making the payment, it ends up being fairly inefficient, error-prone, and lots of challenges. It ends up being a mess. For us, I wanted to focus on solving that mess. I wanted to take care of that pain point and really make a difference for a small and mid-sized businesses. There are six million employers in the U.S. – that is the target market. We have 98,000 businesses today that are on our platform. They use us to interact with two and a half million network members

By Guy Faulconbridge and William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will prioritise trying to save jobs over tax rises while the COVID-19 pandemic batters the economy, though record borrowing and a $2.6 trillion debt pile cannot be sustained for ever, finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is grappling with one of the worst economic hits to Britain in three centuries and Sunak has repeatedly warned that relying on such vast borrowing from the bond markets could trigger a financing crunch in the long term.

But with companies from airlines to pubs shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs and government spending soaring, Sunak is looking at ways to boost state revenue.

“The priority right now is on jobs,” Sunak told Sky News when asked about possible tax rises. “My overwhelming focus at the moment is trying to protect and support as many jobs as possible.”

Asked about tax rises in a flurry of interviews, Sunak repeatedly stressed that jobs were the short-term focus but made it clear that he would have to tackle Britain’s debt mountain in the medium term.

“Obviously this can’t carry on forever. This level of borrowing, which will be record levels, pretty much, this year, is not sustainable in the long run,” he told BBC TV.

“Once we get through this I think people should rightly expect us to make sure we have a strong set of public finances.”

Sunak’s emergency spending measures, including subsidies to slow a jump in unemployment, will cost about 200 billion pounds this year and have already pushed public debt over 2 trillion pounds ($2.60 trillion), or 100% of gross domestic product.

Sunak on Monday warned of the damage higher interest rates could do given the huge size of Britain’s debt.

The government’s flagship wage support programme

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Spurring ambitious-enough action to stem climate change will require persuading most people that its impacts – from deadlier weather to surging migration – are a direct and imminent threat to themselves, according to a British defence official.

Global warming “is not inconvenient if you’re not affected by it at all”, said Richard Nugee, head of climate change and sustainability strategy at the Ministry of Defence, during an online event run by London-based think-tank Chatham House this week.

The lack of a sense of personal threat is one reason why “climate change always seems to be number two” on Britain’s list of public concerns, behind other shifting priorities like Brexit – Britain’s departure from Europe – and COVID-19, he said.

“The urgent always overtakes the important. And everything apart from climate change seems to be the urgent,” he added.

But with the window to cut climate-heating emissions and tame climate risks closing fast, more and more people are likely to be hit soon by anything from worsening floods and storms to economic losses, climate security experts warned.

A broad inability to grasp that threat – particularly in many so far less-affected richer nations that generate most of the emissions driving global warming – is a major barrier to climate action, they said.

“A lot of it is a failure of imagination, on one hand of how bad it is going to be – you can’t believe we’re actually ruining this planet – and a failure of imagination in creating new systems,” said Alexander Verbeek, founder of the Netherlands-based Institute for Planetary Security.


The coronavirus pandemic has given more people a sense of how quickly a personally painful crisis can emerge, said Mami Mizutori, the U.N. Secretary-General’s special representative for disaster risk reduction.

What COVID-19