Derek Stewart (centre), CEO and founder of Paysme, surrounded by students from IESEG at Rise London
As part of Insider London’s spotlight series, where we look at the most innovative companies, we headed to Rise - the home of FinTech in London. We went there to find out more about Paysme from its founder and CEO, Derek Stewart, who gave a presentation to IESEG students from France.
During the first part, we learnt about Derek’s background with a career in the financial services sector spanning 38 years with a successful track record of investing personally and professionally in various funds and businesses. He then outlined why London is a top place for business, why financial technology (FinTech) is so significant to the city and the level of adoption and investment of Fintech in different regions in the world.
As he put it, “FinTech is very hot at the moment” as the money invested in it is still growing, and FinTech employs more people than many financial centres. However, the industry is focused too much on short-termism, whilst Derek thinks of long-term as “nothing comes too easily.” Too many start-ups find it challenging in FinTech as many of them are going for the same end-product; consequently, the margins have dropped in some segments due to growing competition.
Unlocking Potential with Paysme
In the context of this FinTech industry’s highly competitive environment in which everybody is doing the same thing, Derek highlighted the gap in the market where small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been underserved and overcharged by financial services and the new FinTech start-ups alike.
The UK’s SMEs amount to £2.3 trillion in annual turnover, and there are 6.8 million self-employed in the UK alone. As the economy is growing digital and cashless, running a small or micro business requires multiple platforms to operate one’s business and manage them separately. Those could include mobile payments, banking, credit cards, accounting, and insurance, which take away a lot of time from SMEs. Solution? Paysme.
The Paysme community
Derek explained in detail how Paysme came to be as the smartphone technology had allowed full integration of all the above services and delivered them to their smartphone through the super-app. Paysme aggregated app allows small business to unlock their potential by freeing up all the hours that would have been spent on all the above activities, from accounting to buying insurance. With the platform, anyone from sole traders such as cab drivers to micro-merchants can now focus on running the business while the super-app takes care of the rest and for lower fees in aggregate. Derek also emphasised that with Paysme the power is given back to the community as customers can also own a stake in the business (73% of shareholders by number are also customers).
Under the Paysme community, additional apps are targeting the different SMEs specifically:
Cab:app - was created by taxi drivers with currently 12k signed up in 59 locations in the UK and Ireland. As Derek said, it’s not just a booking app, it is an aggregated app where taxi drivers can have all their business needs met in one place to save time.
Marketti - was designed for market traders to run market stalls from one place, which includes mobile payments, digital marketing, and e-commerce. Again, all this is to aggregate the services required and save time for the traders.
Fanslive - was made for football clubs to enhance the commercial experience of the fans going to football matches whilst reducing queuing time. Fans’ purchases, from drinks to club merchandise, can be found on one platform. At the same time, clubs’ CEOs obtain all the live revenue data via a dashboard to which they wouldn’t have access previously.
Derek show features of the marketti app
Finally, Derek talked about the future of the business and how Paysme is not aiming to grab millions of customers through VC cash since “very few VC founded FinTechs are profitable yet as they’re still burning cash to acquire customers”. Instead, the strategy is to become profitable, look after the customers in specific sectors, have robust products and services, and grow with sufficient investment from equity funding towards building the team, FinTech services, sales and marketing, digital banking and international expansion. And subsequently, list the company on the stock exchange.
“Why are you joining the stock market so soon?” - one student asked. Derek replied the reason is to reach institutional investors for liquidity and to use Paysme stock as currency for future acquisitions. He summarised by saying that there’s no quick way for start-ups to succeed as it’s a “ long journey to achieve sustainable success.”
Insider London is proud to partner with Paysme. For a bespoke Company Visit to get further insight into how Paysme empowers SMEs by bringing together finance, technology, and data in their aggregated mobile super-apps contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org