Fintech Disruptors: With a live customer in almost every region in the two years since launch what do you feel are the ingredients to PayKey’s success so far?
Guy Talmi: We’re playing in possibly the most aggressive arena in consumer marketing – social – and we’ve positioned ourselves firmly in the middle of this arena.
Doing this successfully though requires a unique set of skills in terms of both the product and our marketing. To help with this we’re building a diverse team – with a mixture of younger staff members that are excited about what we’re doing and who understand social channels, alongside some, if I can call them, “veterans” that can package and deliver solutions in a way that banks will trust.
We’re finding that banks are very receptive to what we have to say and offer, and that decision-making times within banks are much quicker than we expected. And that’s partly down to the product itself. Our story is quite easy to tell, and our product offers a solution to very clearly defined pain points in a very restricted environment [through the interface between the messaging app and the bank’s app]..
We’re able to connect the core systems and package it in a light tech layer requiring minimum touchpoints within bank divisions. This means decisions within the bank can be made quickly, and integration can easily be done within 30-45 days which really helps to bring momentum into the sales process.
Fintech Disruptors: You mentioned speed to sales – is digital and direct marketing displacing relationships when it comes to selling technology to banks?
Guy Talmi: The attention we’ve had from banks is the combination of a few hooks. We’ve won a number of hackathons and competitions and these have clearly been a key driver for brand awareness and lead generation.
On top of that, we combine an interesting story with one of the most-hyped use cases – the interaction of social and banking. So yes, being there with a cool solution helped us win awards but the trick is then, how do you leverage and get exposure out of that – well that’s a relationship.
With the diverse team we mentioned earlier, we’ve been very successful at creating strong relationships quickly and that’s also been helped by our strategic investors which include MasterCard, Commerzbank, and Santander – banks need that for credibility for their due diligence and the formal process of working with third parties.
Fintech Disruptors: As a start-up it can often be difficult getting your message out there when you’re working with large, well-established brands. Has that been PayKey’s experience so far?
Guy Talmi: So far, the partners we’re working with have not stopped, or got in the way of, us telling our own story or the ability of our reseller partners to do the same. It’s been a partnership developed on mutual value. As an example, in one territory where one of our partners are trying to regain momentum we’re developing a new solution which is taking us in another direction in partnership with them.
It’s about managing expectations – early stage vendors are typically afraid to stand up to these giants but because we bring a unique solution and real value, we’ve approached the situation with confidence from the beginning.
Fintech Disruptors: Looking ahead, a lot has been achieved in the last few years, you’ve hit a bit of a bump with Apple this year, what’s next for PayKey?
Guy Talmi: The issue with Apple [asking Westpac to remove the keyboard from their app] didn’t come out of the blue. It was always one of the risk factors with the business and we included this possibility in our scenario planning. Equally, our investors were aware it was a possibility. What surprised us was the timing as it came after the commercial launch in Australia, despite already being approved by Apple.
While it has been a challenge, there have also been positive outcomes. It’s pushed us into widening our offering and looking at additional vertical markets. We’ve added the Request Payment functionality to our P2P offering and are putting additional focus on markets where Android phones are dominant. . Additionally, we’re looking into the telco space and have already identified great potential in the mobile prepaid top-up space.
That we’re bothering Apple means that we’re in the right space – this is the digital frontline. We’re partnering with some of the biggest banks and in discussions with others and this has given us confidence for our next phase of growth.