As part of our review of the past 12 months in fintech bobsguide is revisiting some of the standout interviews we have conducted in the past 12 months.
At Money20/20 bobsguide sat down with Scott Galit to discuss the future of e-commerce, how technology and the internet are transforming the industry and Payoneer’s initiatives of working with small businesses.
What is the objective behind Payoneer?
Our goal at Payoneer is to empower our customers by enabling them to pay and get paid as easily globally as they do locally. We try to focus on what’s happening around us; technology and the internet are really transforming how commerce happens all over the world, and there are few specific angles to it that are really relevant for what we do.
Firstly, we see an exciting movement of commercial intermediaries, marketplaces and platforms that are digital from the beginning. And because they’re digital, they become global very quickly.
Secondly, we see emerging markets starting to take a more equal seat at the table with the developed world, and really identifying new opportunities across markets. The third aspect would be the growth of SME businesses, which are flourishing all over the world.
Technology is about democratisation of access and opportunity, and we see that small businesses have great opportunities to sell internationally in ways that weren’t possible years ago.
How are you addressing the opportunities with e-commerce?
Payoneer is built from the ground up to try to address the trends and opportunities that have arisen in the modern digital economy. By supporting digital marketplaces and platforms along with entrepreneurs and SMEs around the world, we’re empowering any company that needs to make payments – across a wider range of business sizes, and to a wider range of places than ever before.
What gets us most excited is working with small business owners, helping them access new business opportunities and give them financial services to really shrink the world for them, making it easier to go global. We do everything around accounts receivable and accounts payable to reduce friction for these businesses. We also host events all over the world to engage with partners and entrepreneurs in local markets, and connect them to international opportunities.
You recently opened offices in London. How has the expansion gone?
Our expansion has been great.
We think that the UK and US are really underrepresented in cross-border e-commerce. As the markets are quite mature and sophisticated, we think a lot of SME businesses weren’t focusing enough on opportunities with the rest of the world. For a long time, the trend we saw was money being transferred from the west, going to the rest of the world. But what we’ve recently seen is the globalisation of commerce, with money flowing in both directions.
With Brexit, we’re starting to see that it’s actually the right time to engage with businesses in the UK, and explain that there’s a new world of opportunity available. It’s very exciting to have a team in London, one of the most important financial and trading hubs in the world.
You joined Payoneer in 2010. What are the biggest shifts you’ve seen in the industry and e-commerce market?
China has scaled incredibly in terms of growth; it’s nothing like the rest of the world. I think that in the west, people don’t realise just how much everything has changed.
The marketplace model was an unknown concept a few years ago, and only in the last decade or so has a global logistics infrastructure truly developed. Now all of a sudden, you can open up marketplaces to cross border merchants and manufactures in ways that weren’t possible before.
The other concept I’ve seen develop over the years is entrepreneurship. It’s become a global phenomenon - there’s more capital available, people are technically savvier, they’re well educated and eager to create businesses to match consumer needs. Entrepreneurs are analysing where the technology is developing in the world and innovating from that.
What will be the main payments trends of the next 12 months?
I don’t find we’re talking about a lot of different things this year than we were last year. The presence of Asian businesses is greater this year than last, and I think that will continue. Machine learning and AI is a permanent trend.
Something that we’re really focused on that the industry is seeing more of lately is customer experience. I think people will come back around to recognising that while technology is great, you really need to understand the customer experience for a business to succeed.
How are you keeping up with innovation?
We are constantly looking for ways to better meet the needs of digital businesses. Most recently, we announced that we’ve expanded our global payment toolbox which gives small business owners their own collection accounts around the world.
In addition, we’re focusing more than ever on working capital solutions. There are an estimated half a billion small businesses in the world, and the most unmet need is working capital. We’re working with our partners to reduce the friction for small business owners looking to get faster access to the funds that they need. This is part of a long journey ahead, but we’re focused on helping SMEs grow, and connecting countries, currencies and businesses and professionals, no matter where they are in the world.