MEDICI now! Startup Stories highlights the companies that are shaping the new financial technology industry. Keep an eye out each week for new stories! If you or someone you know should be highlighted, send us a note. Without further ado…
Company Name: IPGPAY Limited
Name/Title: Alan Pigott, Chief Executive
Industry Segment: Payment Solutions for online merchants
Target Market(s): Asia-Pacific
LTP: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Alan Pigott: Alan Pigott (AP), 7+ year resident of Hong Kong who landed in online payments via a circuitous route but who loves the industry and its potential.
LTP: Give us a paragraph pitch of your company.
AP: IPGPAY provides payment solutions for medium to enterprise-sized online merchants in the Asia-Pacific region. Through one connection to the full-featured IPGPAY gateway, merchants can access a diverse range of mainstream and alternative payments methods (APMs) ranging from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, JCB through to eNETS and WeChat Pay.
I’m often asked how we are different from our competitors, which I think is such a great question. I don’t think it's any one feature that makes us stand out. Instead, it's IPGPAY’s unique blend of personalized expert service, value-for-money pricing, our full featured payment gateway, 24/7 gateway availability, and Level 1 PCI DSS compliance that makes us unique in this market. One of our partners calls IPGPAY the “online payment engineers,” which is a beautiful description of the value proposition we try and deliver on.
LTP: In a sentence or two, what problem are you solving today?
AP: The opportunity I’m most excited about today is rolling out our multi-currency pricing solution to new and existing clients. I think it’s a game changer.
LTP: Who are you selling to?
AP: Like other payment solution providers, we have a mix of merchants in terms of size and industries. IPGPAY’s target market though is medium to enterprise-sized merchants across most verticals. Often, our merchants have complex challenges that are not effectively met by “off-the-shelf” providers. A key part of our value add is helping merchants engineer solutions to solve their complex payment needs.
LTP: Why did you start the company?
AP: IPGPAY is a wholly owned subsidiary of the IPG Group of companies; it is a 20-year veteran in the white labeling of online payment gateways in the European and North American markets. We scored an opportunity in Asia-Pacific to not just bring our gateway into the market but to wrap around it some of the attributes I’ve already mentioned – such as expert service and competitive pricing to make something unique and the market has responded.
LTP: What's the most important change coming to your segment in the next 3-5 years?
AP: I think there are two; I suspect there will be a wave of consolidation particularly for small country-specific operators. I think on the bigger industry landscape, compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) in some countries is patchy or poor at best. As online payments continue to grow in this region, so does the ever present risks of data breach to non-PCI DSS merchants exponentially grow. I feel there are interesting times ahead in this space.
LTP: What’s your next milestone?
AP: That’s a hard one. This industry is so dynamic that each day brings constant challenge and opportunity. We have just released a range of major enhancement and new features (ex: to our rebilling engine), and it's absolutely leading edge in terms of functionality. My next milestone is pushing the new features out to our existing and potential client base.
LTP: Tell us one surprising fact about your company?
AP: Being based in Hong Kong for 7+ years now, people often assume we are focused on the Mainland China market, whereas the opposite is true. We see more than enough opportunities around the region to keep us busy without taking on the China market.
Bonus - User’s Choice Question!
LTP: What's one thing you wish customers knew before a sales meeting?
AP: That’s a great question. I think online payments is too often seen as an IT or finance “problem.”
Core to IPGPAY’s value proposition is that online payments is about customer experience; it's about a merchant’s brand and ultimately their financial success. Merchants who see the online payment experience in these terms are, I think, well-positioned for success.
Let me give you an example: what’s the point of a great online shopping experience if the payment page slowly redirects and renders in the payment gateway’s discordant branding rather than the merchants. We all know what happens next, the shopper to abandons the transaction. That’s not an IT or finance team issue; it’s failed customer experience that damages the brand, the reputation and the bottom line of the merchant.
LTP: If you could change one thing that financial services people do incorrectly, what would that be?
AP: I often see people throwing people at problems rather than solving problems efficiently with proven technology. Smart technology, deployed properly, is actually the most efficient and effective solution.
LTP: What keeps you awake at night?
- The unnecessary risk to reputation and sustainability that some charities take by keeping card data on spreadsheets because ‘that’s how we have always done it.’
- I know it sounds tired but I’m passionate about looking after the needs of our merchants; what keeps me up at night is making sure we are doing that not just today but also going forward.
Thank you, Alan!
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