In what’s been one of the most challenging years on record for businesses across every sector, Mike Shafro, CEO at xpate, the payments platform that prioritises simplicity, speed and user experience, explores his startup’s 2020 milestones and his vision for the future.
My vision for xpate has always been a clear one, born out of a desire to have a global presence while maintaining a close-knit, customer-centric vibe. I wanted us to bridge the gap that so many businesses like ours are at risk of forgetting years down the line: keeping things simple.
Simplicity is an underrated quality – particularly in fintech, where we are beholden to multiple, ever-changing regulations and red tape.
It’s important for companies, irrespective of their size and stature, to remember that we’re here to help our customers navigate those choppy waters, not ask them to swim against the tide.
I think that’s what has helped xpate to stand apart from the crowd in a relatively short space of time. We understand firsthand the issues that some of our customers have, particularly as we all embrace a new way of working during COVID-19 and the challenges and opportunities that have arisen as a result.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I want to tell you a little about our journey and what our incredible team has achieved during the rollercoaster ride that has been 2020…
Since starting xpate in 2018, we’ve been rapidly building the business and the team has grown sixfold in the past year alone.
From a Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Card Operations, to Chief Risk Officer, we’ve made some strong and strategic hires that have helped bolster our business and progress our product offering.
David Backshall, our chief commercial officer, for example, is a heavyweight in the payments arena.
David has been in the payments processing and acquiring industry for nearly 20 years, working with market leaders like PayPal, Sage Pay and Cardpay. He is responsible for developing and implementing multiple strategies to expand our business.
With over eleven years of experience at a number of banks, processing companies and PSPs including ECOMMPAY, Viktorija Raizina, accumulated extensive expertise in the cards and payments industry, built up successful relationships with Visa and Mastercard and is bringing unrivalled sector knowledge accompanied by strong leadership skills.
Anna Zotova, Chief Risk Officer, meanwhile, is an e-commerce expert skilled in various competences from AML to compliance and operations management, with a track record of heading the Risk teams at Paydoo and CardPay.
She is responsible for numerous aspects of risk mitigation strategy: merchant, card scheme, compliance, AML, fraud and chargeback.
Interestingly, the majority of our senior hires here at xpate at female. It’s something that shouldn’t need to be celebrated, but it’s a fact we’re hugely proud of.
We believe in the importance of talent – irrespective of gender.
A global presence
Our commitment to simplifying the processing of payments, particularly cross-border payments, is shaping the future of business. To that end, we announced the opening of our London and Singapore offices in 2020 to offer our clients and their customers the truly global service they require.
What’s more, as part of our ongoing commitment to simplifying cross-border payments, we already offer nearly 80 international payment methods to our customers.
A driver for change
While some companies are undoubtedly feeling the pressure and challenges brought on by the global pandemic, others are thankfully thriving and looking ahead.
Some even have lofty expansion plans that involve breaking into new regions, which presents its own unique set of challenges, including utilising cross-border payments, which facilitates the flow of money between European buyers and sellers to the tune of €143 billion.
For those who choose to embrace change and innovation to enter new markets, drum up investment and entice the strongest, international talent, cross-border payment restrictions are holding them back.
Let’s take one very common scenario as we embrace ‘the next normal’: with effective access to a global talent pool comes the challenge of administering the numerous cross-border payment requirements through a payroll process that doesn’t require too much manual effort on the part of HR departments.
If we consider every business now has such global opportunities at its fingertips, it immediately exacerbates the cross-border payments conundrum.
It’s out of the fires of such challenges that opportunities arise. With exciting and ambitious plans for 2021, as well as onboarding some fantastic clients, we’re predicting it will be the year of cross-border payments.
Increasing numbers of companies are becoming familiar with this new payment trend, in part due to one of the few opportunities afforded by the ongoing pandemic.
Automation is the next step for FIs, driven by advanced and focused Fintech partners like xpate. If we are to truly seize the opportunities globalisation has brought with it, we must implement both technological and administrative processes that take over manual tasks, negate friction, and open doors for greater cost-saving measures while enhancing the customer experience.
I’ll leave you with this: now (and always!) is the time to go the extra mile to help customers.
As we predict the demand for cross-border payments will increase as a result of the ongoing pandemic, so too will the desire to reduce the time spent making transactions and instead do what businesses should be doing: thriving.
And that’s where xpate comes in.