Hear directly from C-level executives in payments/fintech about industry trends, successful strategies, products, services, and what the future holds for the payments/fintech industry. We cover the entire industry from merchant acquiring, payment processing, ISOs, payfacs, fraud, security, issuing, b2b, fintech, to start-ups, if it goes on in payments we will be talking about it.
Sandra Blair, CEO at Payverse | Episode 163
My guest this week is an avid tennis player with a passion for alternative payments. She started her career as a programmer in the brokerage business, with a degree in computer science, and ended up the CEO of alternative payments platform Payverse. So, how did she get from one end of the spectrum to the other? You’ll have to tune in to find out!
According to CEO Sandra Blair, Payverse is a company that “enables payment processing traditional payment processor don’t typically do.” What does she mean by that specifically? Think cryptocurrency, buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) and their most foundational payment method: UnionPay.
For those of you who may not know, UnionPay is the largest card issuer in the world, with more than 9 billion cards issued. And they came to Payverse exclusively with a request to develop the first complaint U.S. bank sponsorship model for UnionPay acceptance. The company launched in March but has already paved the way for progress with this UnionPay initiative. As for their competitive advantage, they have a fully augmented platform that is built entirely in the cloud, with API-enabled technology, that allows for a truly optimized plug-and-play solution.
Tune in this week and hear Sandra talk about her journey through payments and the future of our industry over the next 2-3 years. We discuss consumer expectations around faster payments, new technologies that will be developed to mitigate the risk associated with these faster payments, and other emerging alternative payment methods that will come on the scene and continue to disrupt the ecosystem.
Also a point of interest, we discuss her company’s current cryptocurrency roadmap to get them to their inevitable goal of shielding the merchant/processor from having to deal with all the complexities of crypto, as well as emerging BNPL options that strive to protect the merchant and pay them in full. Don’t miss it!
Larry Hipp, CEO at Brightwell | Episode 162
My guest this week started as a software engineer but soon discovered he had a love for payments. Brightwell CEO Larry Hipp has had a fascinating journey throughout the fintech space. He has a genuine passion for seeing people succeed and places a tremendous amount of intention and importance on the resiliency that a strong company culture can provide.
For those of you who may not know, Brightwell is a fintech company that grew up in the prepaid industry. They cater predominately to the cruise ship market by providing prepaid cards for employee payroll. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that they single-handedly transformed the cruise ship industry from cash to digital.
So, how did the global pandemic impact their business model? It’s inspiring to hear how the company continued to survive and thrive when cruise ships around the world completely shut down.
Post-pandemic, they are going strong and have expanded their product suite into cross-border payments just as much as cruise ship payroll. One of their most coveted offerings, and a competitive advantage that truly sets them apart in the industry, is their capacity to have so many of the country’s top money movers under one roof. Their proprietary app interface features Western Union, MasterCard, MoneyGram, and several other key players to facilitate cross-border payments for their customers.
Tune in this week and hear Larry talk about his journey through fintech and where he sees the industry going in the next 2-3 years, including a predicted consolidation throughout the fintech space to create new versions of the legacy players and how blockchain will change our industry significantly.
Bob Bennett, CEO at EngageSmart | Episode 161
What does an avid Squash player with an underdog mentality and a passion for sales have to do with payments? A lot! My guest this week is Engagesmart CEO Bob Bennett. He has run four different companies over the last 30 years and been in the payments ecosystem long enough to acquire a passion for the electronic payments industry and a desire to create differentiation within that space.
For those of you who may not know, Engagesmart is a bill presentment company that simplifies customer and client engagement through electronic payments. They own 4 different brands serving health and wellness, utilities, healthcare, and fundraising, all of which drive a digital self-service and payments experience. Their goal is 100% paperless and autopay solutions for invoice management and their proprietary brand Invoice Cloud drives their customer base at a rapid pace.
If you were to ask Bob what got him from an applied math and computer science degree to a prolific CEO in the payments space, he will be the first to tell you that sales became his calling at a young age and he “got really good at selling hard things.”
Tune in this week to hear Bob talk about his journey to becoming CEO, including his highly prescriptive method for hiring, recruiting, and retaining employees, his desire to create a unique SaaS business and his personal/professional “grow or die” philosophy. We also discuss the overall impact of the global pandemic and the tailwinds Engagesmart is still riding as a result of it.
Paul Hadfield, CEO at TRNXN | Episode 160
My guest this week has been in the payments industry for 20 years and credits the lifespan of his prolific career to a small decision that was motivated by an empty gas tank. It all started in the basement of a dental office, at a startup ISO space with no windows, and an inclination that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. But he needed enough gas to get to where he was going next, so he decided to give it a chance and the rest is history.
TRNXN Company CEO Paul Hadfield has made it his charge to modernize payments for his clients and provide them with a “project design” that optimizes their potential and maximizes their revenue. According to him, “the point-of-sale is really the central nervous system of any business. It can manage and connect every single moving part of your company.”
For those of you who may not know, TRNXN is a modern transaction company that designs, implements, and supports custom payment solutions for the retail and restaurant verticals. It is Paul’s belief that in order to build successful ISOs and profitable payments companies today, you have to leverage technology and service. With this intention in mind, TRNXN Company “helps ISOs modernize their business by helping them modernize their client’s business.”
What’s their business model? According to Paul, they’re not just payment providers but rather small business consultants. “Anything that has to do with a financial transaction, we are involving ourselves with and trying to make that process easier or less expensive for the business – or more expensive but with a strategy that drives more sales.”
Tune in this week to hear Paul talk about TRNXN Company – A business with “no exit plan” that he intends to run for the rest of his life and represents “a combination of everything he has learned in the industry coming to a head.” We also talk about what payments looks like for the retail and hospitality industry over the next 2 to 3 years, including everything from a spike in QR code implementation, to the astronomical margins on the current delivery model, and how long it will take crypto to make it into the restaurant space. Don’t miss it!
Jonathan O'Connor, Group Chief Commercial Officer and CEO at Trust Payments U.S. | Episode 159
My guest this week has an absolutely fascinating background in the payments industry. He’s still as competitive now as he was when he was in his 20s and has a driving passion for sales, competition and, of course, winning. Trust Payments Group Chief Commercial Officer and CEO of Trust Payments U.S. Jonathan O’Connor gives a dynamic interview you don’t want to miss!
For those of you who may not know, Trust Payments is a technology-based fintech with a presence all over Europe and a satellite office in the U.S. They combine payments and SaaS-based solutions to offer dynamic opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as a sustainable entry point for the EU and U.S. markets. Some of the most interesting things about their business model are the platforms they specialize in and their very active involvement in some of our most disrupting alternative payment methods.
Beyond serving small business and mid-market corporations, they also specialize in emerging markets such as cryptocurrency, online gaming/gambling and CBD. And all of this is in addition to their already prolific involvement in the retail, hospitality, and financial services sectors of our industry. How do they do it all? Well, the ability to offer point-of-sale, mobile and e-commerce through one platform integration most definitely helps!
Tune in and hear Jonathan talk about the future of our industry as it relates to cryptocurrency, biometrics, artificial intelligence and so much more. We talk taxation, regulation, crypto exchange and how crypto will become the next “shiny ball” to replace the current market fixation on the Buy-Now-Pay-Later payments model. He also offers details on how his company personalizes the customer journey and keeps their competitive edge. In his own words, “payment is the foundation of our DNA, and we strive to consistently build value around it.”
Doron Friedman, Co-Founder/CPO at SpotOn | Episode 158
My guest this week has had a truly fascinating journey to the top! SpotOn Co-Founder and CPO Doron Friedman comes from a family of Holocaust survivors that were forced to take the entrepreneurial journey after losing everything they had. He’ll be the first to say that his father discouraged any of the children from becoming an entrepreneur, so Doron’s first ambitions were towards investment banking. But it didn’t take him long to figure out that, despite his father’s wishes, he had the entrepreneurial bug and instead of investment banking, he started his self-proclaimed nontraditional entrepreneurial path by opening a bagel shop.
And now, as Co-Founder of SpotOn, Doron is grateful that his journey has proven the risks to be well worth it. For those of you who may not know, SpotOn is one of the fastest-growing software payments companies in the marketplace today, with a comprehensive cloud-based technology service model that targets everything from SBMs to large enterprise operations.
Their target audience revolves around the restaurant and entertainment sectors and their product is among the top POS systems on the market today. As far as a philosophy that motivates their business model, Doron explains that “every entrepreneur dreams of having that one location and growing it into thousands.” And according to him, SpotOn is equipped with software solutions that can “work with them on every step of that journey.”
Tune in today to hear about their company culture of thinking big and acting small, their unique approach to enhancing the customer experience, and how they chose to invest in their staff during the Global pandemic when their largest competitor cut more than half of theirs. Also on the docket? What to expect in the next 2 to 3 years in terms of cryptocurrency, international payments, tokenization, and data analytics.
Great start to this series. Very insightful to hear about Brian’s journey in the payments industry. Looking forward to the next episode.