Myles Stephenson: The Potential of Payments

Myles Stephenson: The Potential of Payments

Admin
September 2016

Take an industry where there's a complicated payment landscape, put it together with rising customer expectations, factor in the traditional financial services we're all familiar with…and what have you got?

Well, we’re in fintech so we see an opportunity!

But the reason we see an opportunity is because businesses in those scenarios are struggling – manual attempts to keep track of confusing volumes of payments within a single bank account are leading businesses to experience pain and frustration.

When so many areas of our lives are being transformed by technology there just has to be a better, faster, more value-driven way of doing this. That’s what we’re developing at Modulr – a range of APIs which sit in the background of payment systems and plumb those chaotic cash flows together in a way which turns them into individual accounts, tracks activity as they travel through the system, and delivers seamless reconciliation – automatically.

Because it’s a range of background APIs, Modulr won’t be making headlines. We see it making something much more significant: better markets where it’s easier to grow because commercial potential has been unlocked by removing a technical headache.

The Modulr story…

A fresh, new approach, then? Ironically, that's because the Modulr team has been around a bit! I cut my teeth in payment services with Marks & Spencer (a very well-managed business when it comes to tracking the pounds and pennies), and then went into a financial services PLC which could see technology opening up new opportunities in card processing and management.

Then there's the team I'm part of. We've already got one successful payment services venture under our collective belt - a pre-paid card business which we launched as Corporate Pay. We weren't the only people who thought tech was a great opportunity to better manage payments: less than three years in, US corporate WEX took a look at what we were doing and decided it would be a great way for them to enter the European market. So they bought us...

Cue three years of helping a global corporate develop a UK & Europe division. And a decision in the end that, stimulating as it was, we wanted to go back to our entrepreneurial roots in fintech.

We knew there were other opportunities to use tech to make business finance work better, but this time we wanted to be right at the heart of the payments system’s plumbing rather than focusing solely on cards.

So Modulr is a liberating way of giving businesses access to better payment services, enabling companies to sign up for payment accounts easily, quickly, when they need them, how they need them, and integrating it all through technology.

Bigger scale, better experience…

This isn’t the kind of involved, technical issue large banks are currently positioned to tackle directly due to legacy systems and competing priorities. But it is the stuff that carefully-conceived technology can do, and we know there are markets crying out for it – specific verticals, areas which can scale like invoice financing, alternative lending platforms for businesses and consumers, and market places too where sellers and buyers come together and there’s a commission transaction in the middle. There's also accounting platforms in need, and other businesses looking to automate their accounts receivable/payable functionality.

Modulr’s APIs can take out the pain, release the potential and enable these markets to function better and maximise scale.

Beyond the clear business potential, there are two important reasons why a solution like Modulr matters. The first is regulation – and what we offer is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The second is the cultural challenge staring ALL markets in the face: meeting the expectations of customers in an era driven by on-demand services capable of delivering real-time results.

So Modulr will enable businesses and market places to deliver the kind of real-time customer experience now common elsewhere.

Established credentials

Modulr is a new, young business, and it has, as we’ve said, got a lot of experience under its belt. It also benefits hugely from being part of a well-established family – we’re backed by Blenheim Chalcot, the venture builder whose founders have spent their careers identifying new opportunities for technology to transform markets like finance.

Modulr is the next, exciting chapter.

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