Fintech Disruptors: What does success look like for Currency Cloud?
Todd Latham: Success in digital finance would appear to be somewhat of a moving feast. For Currencycloud success at this juncture is about building a global organisation serving millions of people and enabling them to benefit from our services whereas, in the early stages of our development, our focus was on building scale and adoption. We are also striving to provide an integrated service across different platforms and to offer this seamlessly to our clients.
Fintech Disruptors: What has changed since 2012?
Todd Latham: Our business has evolved from servicing a lot of start-ups to now catering for a wider client base. Our clients range from large corporates such as Hyundai to mainstream banks as well as successful fintechs like Revolut and Azimo. We also work with e-commerce businesses like Paddle, a marketplace for app developers. For them it is hard to offer their service via the traditional routes, especially for bulk cross-border payments. Currencycloud provides a cloud-based platform, which means that we are able to simplify the process and they don’t need to be concerned about scalability and the back-office functions.
Fintech Disruptors: What are the key changes affecting the market and your business?
Todd Latham: At a macro level there has been change in how society operates and we’ve been seeing a significant increase in populist movements. The pendulum is moving to isolation and protectionism – potentially making international trade harder. However, I believe that global financial forces still holds bigger sway than political power.
Although cashless commerce is only halfway in markets like the UK, the winds of change are blowing in a single persistent direction towards digitised financial services. We are beginning to see a major shift towards cloud based technology and, for Currencycloud, this is a positive development, particularly with the changing regulatory environment.
For me the biggest shift in financial services is the move to tougher regulation and increasing regulatory complexity, which is exacerbated by Brexit and protectionism. It is becoming harder and harder for companies to get regulated and the impact of this is that many of them will be moving into the unregulated space. While historically payment service providers used to be full stack firms, fintechs in future will begin to purely provide plug-in services to regulated platform-based companies like Currencycloud, which will add these plug-in services to their portfolio of products.
We are expecting to see a significant growth in customers that are outside the regulatory environment simply because regulatory compliance is becoming too much of a burden.
Fintech Disruptors: What is your product strategy for this changing environment?
Todd Latham: Currencycloud will continue to focus on its core offering and on services around that core.
Fintech Disruptors: What did it take to build a strong brand?
Todd Latham: There are two ways at looking at this. Either the product wins, i.e. it sells itself or the business’s success is driven by its marketing. At Currencycloud our success is being driven by the strength of our solution and the fact that it is compellingly differentiated. We have a quality product, which is proven in the marketplace and as a result we have a loyal customer base.
For Currencycloud it is about enabling our clients to do business across borders and providing a frictionless experience for them
Fintech Disruptors: How important is talent to Currencycloud’s success?
Todd Latham: Hiring great people is key to our business but it is a challenge to get the right people in product and sales roles. Ten percent of our agreed headcount is still open to be filled. Brexit sharpens the issue as a fifth of our workforce is from the European Union. Currently we are pleased to say we have a diverse staff pool representing over 20 nations.
Our head office is in London and we have a small office in New York and a development centre in Ukraine. We are not looking for an international footprint with multiple international offices. Instead we see the benefits of co-location which we have found to be massively beneficial for us.
Fintech Disruptors: How does Currencycloud build a winning culture?
Todd Latham: We’ve spent a lot of time thinking of our culture and have made substantial progress in setting of our values. These values have been set by the team rather than by the management and then handed down to the employees.
We live and breathe these values, which are being human (treating people with respect/dignity); fanatically focused, owning it, thinking like leaders and working better together. These values encapsulate the company and it manifests in our people looking forward to coming to work, our ability to attract top talent and faster decision making. That is because we share the same fundamentals and of course it helps raise efficiency, better solutions, and builds a better business.
Fintech Disruptors: Where do you see Currencycloud in 2020?
Todd Latham: The market is already consolidating and we will see this continue through mergers and acquisitions. There will be an emergence of larger platform players. The advantage of scale in this environment is huge and the benefits shouldn’t be underestimated. There will also be different players specialising in particular niches, creating a network effect. Currencycloud will be one of these hubs
Fintech Disruptors: Other winners?
Todd Latham: Revolut has a tremendous product and is a company looking at the market in a very different way. In the regtech space I’m impressed with Comply Advantage, a company that is cracking the B2B compliance space – an area that is particularly challenging. We also need to be aware of the large Chinese platforms like Alipay and Tencent and their international aspirations. No doubt that they will be forces to reckon with in future.