Founded in November of 2021 by Zeneca, ZenAcademy is a content media company with a focus on education and helping people understand Web3. It is a digital space built with the mission of empowering a robust Web3 community by providing access to tools and resources.  

Zeneca, the CEO, began operations small and later brought on Mushrooooom, the COO, and a bigger team, in the wake of plans to scale. At present, they are a remote company with contractors working across the globe; they have between twenty to twenty five people on payroll at any given time, distributed across at least ten different countries. Their teams are made up of a combination of part time and full time employees, with the addition of ad hoc consultants. 

The Challenge: Automating inefficient and error-prone manual payroll and routing

When ZenAcademy launched, they processed all payroll manually. This entailed Zeneca personally sending ETH from the company’s digital wallet to a contractor’s wallet. As the company grew and teams became increasingly global, Zeneca wanted more structure, expanded options for team member’s payment, and proper contracts in place.

As a result, Zeneca and Mushrooooom brought on a provider that dealt with employee contracts and payroll. The provider aggregated signed contracts in Google Drive and ran payroll out of a Google spreadsheet. Zeneca and Mushrooooom would receive a google sheet listing names of contributors, the amount they were owed, and a calculation converting everything into ETH. Monthly, Zeneca funded a wallet address with USDC and with this, team member’s payments were issued. 

This payroll system was short-lived for various reasons. A concern that repeatedly arose was the occurrence of errors in total calculations and conversions due to the use of Google spreadsheets.

The critical juncture was when the platform could no longer support fiat payments. While ZenAcademy held their treasury in crypto, it was critical to be able to compensate their teams in each contractor’s currency (fiat or crypto) of choice. 

As ZenAcademy continued to expand globally with robust international teams, it became increasingly important to find a solution that provided frictionless, compliant routing between their crypto treasury and a wide range of fiat and crypto currencies. 

To resolve challenges with an unreliable system and to enable scaling, ZenAcademy sought a payroll solution that could cut out manual payment processes while guaranteeing precise and automated payments, compliance, and routing

The Solution: An end-to-end Web3-friendly service provider 

As the team at ZenAcademy cross-compared various candidates for a payroll solution tailored to their specific requirements, Rise emerged as the singular solution that met all of their criteria. 

Flexible Infrastructure

A feature that distinguished Rise from other platforms was its flexible payment infrastructure. It offered the unique feature of allowing payroll to be funded directly from a crypto-native wallet. While other services provided crypto payroll, Rise was the only one amongst ZenAcademy’s candidates that could connect directly to the company’s digital wallet.    

This was essential for ZenAcademy, who required a payroll solution that could connect directly to their treasury held in crypto on a digital wallet. Additionally, Rise’s flexible routing solved the complications that arose with ZenAcademy’s crypto treasury and fiat payouts. 

With Rise, ZenAcademy was able to bypass currency conversion that had previously been laborious, costly and error-prone. ZenAcademy harnessed Rise’s flexible payouts to issue automated payments in the currency of their treasury while giving their team the option to choose their preferred payout currency from close to 200 fiat and crypto options. Mushrooooom describes this elevated level of efficiency and flexibility as providing considerable ease to operations: 

“All we have to do is fund the agreed USDC amount, and then the individual gets to decide how and when they want to get paid out.”

Integrated Service

Rise provided a comprehensive solution that met ZenAcademy’s diversity of payroll, onboarding and compliance needs. After dealing with the inefficiency of first manual payroll and then payroll and compliance with Google Drive and Google Docs, ZenAcademy was looking for an integrated service provider. As Mushrooooom explains:

“What appealed to me with Rise was the fact that all the payments were handled through a smart contract. Rise had a closed system and rules in place for how funds were going to be handled. Having the web interface versus the Google spreadsheet was appealing as well.”

ZenAcademy no longer needed to employ multiple platforms hosting their payroll and compliance and was able to efficiently streamline both with one, unified solution.  

The Outcome: Time optimization 

By resolving the bottleneck caused by manual payroll and routing, Zeneca and Mushrooooom had more time to dedicate to their growing project. The simplification that Rise’s unified system brought to ZenAcademy carved out space for other, more important work; Mushrooooom describes the effect of automation as “freeing up mental space”. 

ZenAcademy continues to scale its operations and extend its reach in the fast-evolving world of Web3. The seamless automation of payroll and compliance made possible with Rise’s secure and efficient solution enables ZenAcademy to optimize for time and focus on growth.