What is your role at Payen?
Payen was founded on innovation. When we started the business, we wanted to identify how we could disrupt the payments space based on what prospective clients and partners were telling us was missing or difficult to do.
My role as CEO is to ensure we listen first to clients so we can work with them to propose solutions to solve their growth, scaling, or cost reduction challenges. Then me and my team figure out how to turn these ideas into robust payment services that are reliable and scalable and allow businesses to differentiate their offerings.
Part of my day-to-day is also ensuring our staff stay focused and are kept updated on the business’ priorities from a strategic perspective. Communicating what’s in the immediate pipeline while defining what the next few years look like for us as a business. This can include what we’re going after from a sales perspective, the new partnerships I’d like us to form, the geographical regions we’re entering and how we assess them. It’s my responsibility to articulate this to the whole company through the people reporting directly to me.
Why is your role inspiring to you?
My role means I get to utilise my core business strengths – speaking to clients, listening to them, understanding how the market dynamics around them are moving, and then shaping solutions based on what will make a difference. At the same time, the former software developer side of me still gets to indulge in the tech aspect of the industry, albeit vicariously.
I grew up with an entrepreneurial mindset, which I owe to my father, and have always enjoyed and excelled at relationship building. My interpersonal skills mean that sales has always been an area I’ve had a natural inclination for. I also have a passion for technology and started my career developing software and supporting systems – and although not necessarily my forté, it’s been an area that continues to fascinate me.
What are your priorities within the business?
Much of my time is dedicated to ensuring the management team and those reporting to me know what’s urgent and what we need to prepare for. I also manage and oversee key client relationships, looking at how we can further extrapolate and expand our offerings or our market reach and then initiating those conversations – while the evaluation of those markets is undertaken by the team using subject matter experts.
As a business, one of Payen’s priorities is to continue to identify in which areas the payments industry is failing to cater for merchant demand – typically due to them being niche, hard to execute or both. Here, client engagement is key to uncovering those areas but so too is the technology that underpins our service and product innovation to then deliver.
We always said that when we formed Payen, we wanted to own our technology and be masters of our own destiny. This has become especially important since we’ve gone down the route of solving more complex business challenges rather than just being a payments provider. As such, we have full control over what our business is doing at all times, but this also makes it vital we keep up the back end and back-office functions of the business in line with the front end as it grows at scale. Making sure our service is reliable and never goes down is always going to be a priority – at the same time, we’re also entrepreneurial and like to spot opportunities for improvement, so we need flexibility for that.
Combined with the opportunities we’re currently seeing in the emerging international payments landscape, and factors like the changing relationship with how people pay for goods and services in different parts of the world and the legitimate difference payments services can make to people’s lives, it’s an exciting time to be in the industry.
How does this help your customers?
We operate in an ever-changing commercial environment. The ways in which people make online transactions are evolving and industry regulations and compliance can differ by region. Developing our own platform and owning our technology means when the inevitable future alterations occur, we can make additions as and when the client needs them without disruption to their business.
Over the past twelve years, we have strived to complement our experience by talking to clients to understand their industry and niche needs. This has seen us become specialists in complex sectors and experts in helping to build a presence in new and emerging markets. Our deep industry and local market knowledge, underpinned by our proprietary technology, provide merchants with a range of benefits. Not only in terms of the technical connection but also from our expertise in navigating the associated complexities – be it regulation, compliance, fraud-related or a host of others. While at the same time, their customers are provided with the most appropriate local payment method fortheir part of the world.
What’s exciting to you about the payments industry?
While my background is in financial services, it wasn’t until we founded Payen in 2010 that I became focussed on payments. It’s an industry I love because it touches people – it’s about how they pay, which has a visceral quality that resonates with me. The transactions take place online and I don’t see the product or service, yet I know we’re influencing behaviour.
It also helps that the payments industry is a fast-growing space, with the UK continuing to be one of the most innovative payments markets in the world, assisted by its burgeoning FinTech scene. As such, payments technology continues to evolve rapidly, with digital wallets and mobile devices powering disruption. When combined with the opportunities we’re currently seeing in the emerging international payments landscape, and factors like the changing relationship with how people pay for goods and services in different parts of the world and the legitimate difference payments services can make to people’s lives, it’s an exciting time to be in the industry.