Den Melnykov is the COO of PayCore.io and is one of the three founders of the innovative payment platform and payments hub designed to cater to various online businesses as well as service payment institutions.
Please introduce your brand, its advantages and tell us something about the team behind the brand.
PayCore.io is a payment platform and payments hub for online businesses and payment institutions. We establish connections with APIs of payment providers and acquirers globally and ensure their security, integrity, and stability. A single integration with PayCore.io gets you online with more than 80 providers. We provide online businesses with scalable technical infrastructure, building connections and maintaining them for our customers.
On top of that, we have an omnichannel gateway and white-label solution for payment institutions. Our omnichannel gateway enables the initiation of incoming transactions through any payment channel regardless of payment method, flow, and currency. It also automates outgoing transactions from all available accounts and routes to payout to third parties. The gateway brings the automation solution for labour-extensive account reconciliation. White-label interfaces allow our institutional customers to provide gateway services under their own brands. Moreover, we have a single dashboard, where you can architect and manage a custom payment solution. You can easily set up routing settings, modify and manage payment options, and many more with no coding required.
Our core team is developing and promoting products for the payment industry for more than ten years. That’s how we learned what works best in terms of payments and how to handle related challenges. These insights laid the foundations for PayCore.io, which was founded by Denys Kyrychenko (CEO), Dmytro Dziubenko (CTO), and me (COO).
The story of our company began back in 2008 when we launched our first customer in a live environment. Since then, we’ve been working on the refining of our product, enhancing our offering, earning the trust of new customers, and establishing new integrations. And this work is still ongoing, as the industry evolves and develops new payment options, flows, technologies and regulations. We believe that a platform that provides online business with unified management, control and analytical tools could streamline payments and help to adapt faster to the changes of payment landscape.
What is your current role and what are your biggest challenges? Can you tell us something more about your background?
Two years ago I was appointed as a Chief Operating Officer at PayCore.io. That time, it was a startup developing an MVP in a stealth mode. I had two years’ experience working in the HealthTech startup. I thought I knew what I was getting into. Now I’d say that I have never faced so many challenges in a row during an extremely short period.
The very first challenge was a very broad product idea that had to be narrowed because you can’t do everything. Denys Kyrychenko and I spent almost two months discussing possible applications and business models. Another challenging task was to articulate a plan for how the idea will meet an unmet need, outline the markets and remain focused. After that, we met another issue – how to clearly describe what is PayCore.io in a few words.
We also faced the need for more team members to meet the needs of a growing number of customers. It’s always a challenging task to hire a person who fits the organisation’s expectations and shares its vision. We are lucky enough to have many talented people on board.
Now we at PayCore.io are facing the same challenges as many other businesses on their transition from a startup to a scaleup. Namely, our team is growing really fast, and with the pandemic and switching to remote work, internal communication has become more complicated. We reduced the number of tools and centralised communication between teams. Now we have company-wide communication and knowledge management tools that are also used to communicate with our customers. Before that, conversations were happening across a multitude of applications and services that weren’t integrated and didn’t talk to each other.
Tell us about PayCore.io’s achievements in 2019 and how 2020 started for you.
During 2019, we’ve managed to grow from 100k monthly processed transactions at the beginning of the year to almost 5 million in the end, while having just about two dozen customers on board. In 2020, we already crossed a milestone of 50 million processed transactions in total.
At the beginning of the last year, there were around 12 members in our team. Since then, that number has more than tripled, and we’re still hiring to reinforce our customer and technical support to reach our sales, marketing and product goals.
Our aim is to become one of the most connected technical providers in the world, so we’re constantly working on establishing new integrations and partnerships with payment service providers and acquirers. This year, our plan is 150+ new integrations.
We’ve also enjoyed the market recognition, becoming one of the most favourited startups on WebSummit, entering the top 5 most promising tech startups according to MC.today, and bringing home Silver from PaySpace Magazine Awards as one of the best techfin startups.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see potential in the emerging markets?
At this point, our operations are concentrated mostly in Europe. Although we’ve been researching the subtleties of entering the North American market for quite some time now. Our plan is to expand our operations to this region by the end of the year. We definitely see potential in the emerging markets, as those countries are growing rapidly while promising an extended sales market for our services. Another step in our international expansion strategy will be the rollout of sales in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Tell us something more about the integration process and how you manage it.
In general, the first step consists of meetings with a customer, where they share their ideas and requirements with our business analyst. We analyse the scope of integration works, their cost and time frames, and evaluate the requirements and processes the integration will improve. For instance, if a customer is already working with multiple payment providers, we would need to support current integrations, payment options, currencies and flows. Having this information helps the team envision an integration that fits customer’s specific operational needs.
However, before we start, we need to build a strong foundation in order to eliminate all of the risks. That is why the next phase is dedicated to writing an action plan of how to reach the planned objectives step by step. Usually, we use the iterative development approach. The first step is implementing MVP and go from there.
An integration with PayCore.io allows you to connect multiple payment services within a single gateway. By linking your applications and architecting a custom solution, you gain the ability to automate payment processes and support your company’s growth.
What do you think will be the next step for the payment industry?
I guess the next historic step for the payment industry is a switch towards digital payments. We’ve witnessed this trend establishing for years, fueled by e-commerce growth, financial technologies evolution, the rising penetration of smartphones and the entry of non-bank companies into the payments space. Clearly, the move away from cash and toward digital will remain intact. We can already see a variety of digital payment methods and the number of options available to customers continues to grow. Digital payments received an additional boost with the global lockdown, quarantine and social distancing.
Increasing the speed of payments is an important issue in this regard. Instant payment systems are being developed around the globe, as there is a need for faster and more reliable transactions in the global economy. Payments done in a split second eventually will be a reality.
Are you concerned about the impact of shifting regulatory environments? How do you see the new regulations discussions, the rise of crypto on specific markets, the limitations for you to pay more and more attention to KYC and AML?
Our company isn’t a financial institution and don’t initiate any financial transactions. But we routinely are a part of customer’s payment team, so we know a lot about it. At present, numerous companies deal with digital currencies. Digitalisation has turned the payment industry into a complex and fragmented space. Regulators, payment institutions and banks want to be sure that crypto-businesses employ the best security practices and measures, including KYC, AML, and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), to discourage illicit transactions and improve transactions security.
In my opinion, the biggest challenge is that some crypto businesses do not take compliance with those measures seriously. At the same time, many companies even though bearing financial licenses are lacking sufficient background checks, or take a reactive approach. It is also not always possible to know the identity of the beneficiary and the destination wallet holder. Such a stance over compliance with measures like KYC, AML and CFT is common among payment institutions and banks. And sooner or later, the crypto business will be regulated all over the world, if the industry tights with the global financial infrastructure.
What’s your plan for 2020, considering the global situation, events cancelled and postponed? Tell us how you feel the effects on your business already, if any.
We’re lucky enough to work in online payments, which is one of the very few sectors seeing an increased demand in this stressful time. We believe the coronavirus wouldn’t be a substantial hit to our income or operations. However, of course, some friction in the internal processes came out as our team, which has just expanded by nearly a third, switched to remote work. In particular, internal communication has become more complicated, but we’re coping and improving it.
We haven’t lowered our aspirations and still stick to our plan for 2020. Specifically, we’re going to introduce our improved version 2.0 with new products and features and a new website. We continue enriching our team with more bright minds. Furthermore, we have our eyes on starting sales in North America and Asia and expanding operations in Northern Europe. But most importantly, we follow our major goal to be the most connected technical provider in the world. Therefore, there will be more than a hundred of exciting new integrations and partnerships this year.
Are you contemplating on bringing in investors to scale, bring further innovation or grow your business?
We’re bootstrapping for more than a year and aren’t planning to raise any capital within the feasible future. We’re implementing standardised and repeatable processes. This doesn’t require a lot of investments in our case.
Having a fairly technical product, we serve our customers not only by offering documentation but also providing technical and customer support. It takes time to develop well-rounded skills, knowledge and competence to perform customer-facing roles at the level we require.
Our goal is to continue our growth and strengthen expertise, keeping in mind the importance of efficient and sustained business processes and transparent communication between all teams. We’re focusing on long-term success. Therefore, we’re expanding our team to grow operations and build relations with our customers.
Are you planning to attend some of the biggest conferences when the situation is back to normal, hopefully till fall? Which one do you target, if so?
We’ve planned to attend around 15 events this year, but now we won’t be able to do that due to the pandemic. Still, we managed to attend some big conferences like ICE London and Paris Fintech Forum before the situation grew worse. We are also going to follow some of the events online. In the fall, hopefully, we will be exhibiting at Seamless Middle East in Dubai, Money20/20 in Amsterdam, PayExpo in London and, of course, Web Summit in Lisbon. Last year we enjoyed the last one the most, taking part in the PITCH competition, showcasing our products and hitting the top 3 Most Favourited Startups on the first day. So we hope for the best and are looking forward to what this year will bring us!
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