This Non-Technical Founder Started A Payments Solution That Oversees 2M Transactions Per Day

Paul Marcantonio
Director, ECOMMPAY
1
Founders
700
Employees
ECOMMPAY
from London, UK
started September 2012
1
Founders
700
Employees
45.6K
alexa rank
867
followers
174
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This Non-Technical Founder Started A Payments Solution That Oversees 2M Transactions Per Day

I’m Paul Marcantonio, a Director at ECOMMPAY, a payment provider with its fintech ecosystem that enables us to create bespoke payment solutions for clients worldwide.

As an accomplished sales professional with expertise spanning multiple and varied industries, I have twenty years of experience in digital payments, software services, and interactive entertainment.

I'm passionate about sharing my knowledge and practical know-how, helping businesses expand and localize their operations and offering advice on the payment behavior and trends of end consumers.

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ECOMMPAY was launched 10 years ago, and this year we celebrate our anniversary. We’ve rapidly become the partner of choice for merchants looking to increase conversion, manage risk, and scale quickly into new markets. We now power payments for some of the biggest global brands in almost every industry, including travel and hospitality, mobility, private aviation, e-learning, online retail, and more. Our main ecosystem combines multiple services, including direct acquiring, local payment methods, mass payouts, a B2B bank, card issuing, and much more.

ECOMMPAY has grown organically from just 10 specialists in 2012 to 700 payment professionals globally and four international offices, overseeing 2,000,000 transactions per day.

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What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

ECOMMPAY was conceived whilst the founder was on a business trip in Cyprus. At the time, his company was involved with buying and selling concrete, and while in a business meeting, one of the participants mentioned needing a merchant account.

Although the founder didn’t understand the technicalities involved in the process, he had several useful contacts who could help. Without deep market research or even a business plan, a client base began to grow via a referral model.

It's important to point out that ECOMMPAY was never an investor project but a true IT startup from the beginning, with every team member doing the work of five people to fuel the continuous and rapid expansion.

After some time, it became increasingly necessary to build a complete fintech solution to cope with rising demand. The brand began to develop rapidly, with the initial ten-person team working from a converted flat. ECOMMPAY officially launched in 2012, with offices in London and Riga, an official UK license, and a business model covering the European markets.

In the beginning, ECOMMPAY experienced rapid growth, at times the company’s fast pace exposed a lack of structure and gaps in our knowledge base, which sometimes meant processes were skipped, or tasks left unfinished which threatened to slow the company’s overall development. We had to evolve quickly and learn how to ‘plug’ the gaps in our business. Every day was a school day as the fintech industry is constantly changing; I am very proud to say that we quickly became a high-performing, professional, and efficiently run business.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

From the outset, ECOMMPAY’s solutions have been aimed at mid-sized to large businesses requiring an individual or custom approach. When developing complex, omnichannel products for our clients, it’s essential to align our fintech knowledge with our customer’s expectations, not only to achieve technical success but also to create cost-effective solutions.

This kind of flexibility can only be achieved thanks to our in-house payment infrastructure, which was built from the outset and continues to develop thanks to the efforts of our dedicated team of 350+ IT specialists.

Our recent collaboration with Vivid, a mobile banking platform in the fintech sector, is a great example of ECOMMPAY’s flexible and bespoke approach to payment solutions, where we provided the Berlin-based startup with a unique and secure card top-up service, whilst also organizing all of the licensing and regulatory frameworks for the operation.

In terms of developing new payment solutions for specific industries, our process is relatively standard:

  • Analysis of the payment behavior of end-users, where we identify emerging trends, as well as the pain points they have created. For example, our detailed research quickly uncovered Buy Now, Pay Later as a payment method that was surging in demand due to inflation and other factors.
  • Analysis of the needs of a certain business vertical, where we will gather secondary source data and interview industry representatives. A recent example is the private and business aviation sector, where ECOMMPAY’s research revealed an industry amid sweeping changes, with several challenges surrounding late bookings and last-minute payments that we knew we would be able to solve.
  • Based on the data collected, we will create a product, test it with real clients, offer it to industry representatives via direct sales, and demonstrate it at exhibitions. Of course, the development of the product does not stop at this stage. Markets constantly change, and ECOMMPAY has to foresee these changes and continue to make further improvements based on industry feedback.

Describe the process of launching the business.

ECOMMPAY launched ten years ago when the fintech industry was in the early stages of development and many people were still unused to paying online. Although the level of competition was much lower back then, a general lack of knowledge surrounding this new industry meant that trust levels concerning online payments were a great deal lower from an end-user perspective. Hence, ECOMMPAY needed intense market research to understand what clients wanted.

At that time, the company created products based on existing solutions addressing specific end-customer and merchant needs, as there were no standard examples on the market. Now, of course, the situation is different, and ECOMMPAY understands client pain points and offers tailored solutions, creating new products that are ahead of their time.

When ECOMMPAY launched, just three people ran the business, including the founder and Head of Customer Service. In addition to a whole host of other duties including client management, he also brought tea and coffee into the office and fixed our computers. By the end of the first year of our existence, ECOMMPAY’s team already had ten people, and the list of clients continued growing.

From the very beginning, ECOMMPAY grew by word of mouth. At that time, the fintech industry was small and everyone knew each other, so clients found the company through shared community connections. Later, the sales team started to attend networking events and trade shows, building an even stronger community around the brand, and conducting plenty of face-to-face communication.

When the time came to create ECOMMPAY’s website, a designer was employed to build the first version, though it was tricky for the team to generate content without any knowledge of website best-practice — something that was made even harder due to the lack of relevant information about fintech at that time!

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Our motto is ‘Work Hard, Dream Big!’ We’ve used this mantra from the beginning, and it continues to work for us. We wanted to onboard large clients from the start, and we have achieved our goal. Nevertheless, we had a small team and no brand recognition, so we had to learn whilst doing the work. You need to have very ambitious plans and believe they are achievable no matter what, though it's also essential to have passionate colleagues who are willing to learn and develop and are interested in their work.

Invest time to find the right employees, as just one average team member will pull down the rest of the staff. Pay attention to your company atmosphere, ensure everyone respects one another, and never be afraid to part ways with toxic people.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

From advertising and SEO to various PR activities, ECOMMPAY puts a great deal of effort into attracting new businesses but also takes client retention very seriously. As with our team members, from the very beginning, we tried to foster a community atmosphere among our clients with a focus on helping them to improve their turnover. Satisfied customers often introduced us to friends or business partners, and many of ECOMMPAY’s first clients have launched more than one business, for example.

Our Head of PR and Marketing Anastasia Zencika has worked with ECOMMPAY for 9 years and, along the way, initiated and organized many informal meetings and events for our clients for order to promote the atmosphere of a friendly community of business leaders. Later, ECOMMPAY began participating in industry events to attract fresh clients — we always try to ensure that we’re noticed using impressive stands that catch people’s attention.

A couple of years ago, we launched ECOMMTALKS, an active community of eCommerce leaders and experts from around the globe. We envisaged a place where C-level executives could network and share knowledge about industry trends. We’ve received many positive comments about the project and have hosted some acclaimed speakers, including Sharon Gai from the Alibaba Group, Steven Rader, a 30-year NASA veteran, Ajit Sivadasen from Lenovo, and many more besides. ECOMMTALKS has worked so well that we now see that our clients have begun testing new strategies, markets, and products after taking inspiration from the community.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Formed as a true startup, ECOMMPAY has become an entire fintech ecosystem with a mission to make payments and payouts in a single click. We're thrilled and incredibly proud to see how the company has developed during the last 10 years and how our team has grown into a family of young enthusiasts who have learned everything by themselves. Our shared passion and drive have led to ECOMMPAY becoming an influential player in the fintech industry, with market experts that not only support our customers but also give their best advice to help them grow and succeed.

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We don't believe we could have reached this success without dedication to our business. We always aim to go the extra mile, and our customers highly appreciate us for it.

We already have our merchant bank and plan to open more offices in Europe's brightest capital cities in the near future, helping us attract more clients and qualified specialists to help us continue creating innovative products and services.

Short-term and long-term goals for ECOMMPAY include:

  • Achieving a threefold increase in our turnover by 2025
  • Extension of our payment methods portfolio according to end-users changing payment behaviors and our merchants' business goals.
  • Strengthening our position in industries where we already have payment solutions, including travel and hospitality, mobility & transportation, retail, e-learning, and many more.

To achieve our aims, we need to pay special attention to the company's internal culture. We do everything to ensure that our employees feel good and that their efforts are appreciated, fostering a positive environment that aids their emotional and physical well-being.

ECOMMPAY’s founder didn’t understand the technicalities of online payments or even the precise definition of a merchant account before entering the online payment space. After speaking to business associates, he simply identified a gap in the market and started exploring his options.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Bad Decisions: In the beginning, ECOMMPAY experienced rapid growth. The company attracted more employees and began working on new fintech solutions. However, at times the company’s fast pace exposed a lack of structure and gaps in our knowledge base, which sometimes meant processes were skipped, or tasks left unfinished. Although we ironed out most of these issues after a year or so, they threatened to slow the company’s overall development.

Good Decisions: We’re genuinely proud of our corporate culture. From the very first day of the company’s existence, we paid particular attention to employee selection and how to integrate newbies into our team. A year ago, at our annual summer games event, we asked our employees what ECOMMPAY meant to them, and 90% saw their team as an extended family. We feel that this is one of our greatest achievements, and we’re committed to ensuring that we keep this spirit of camaraderie alive.

Forces Out of Our Control: We were lucky to start ECOMMPAY at the right moment. However, many unforeseen events have changed our plans over the years — Brexit being a prime example. It’s always rewarding to adapt to new challenges, such as changes in user habits or emerging new technologies. The key is to react in time before subtle shifts become significant new trends.

Lessons Learned: As I have already mentioned it was critical to Invest time to find employees that fit our business's cultural values, this is a must to promote team spirit and the best working environment. Pay attention to your company atmosphere, and ensure everyone respects one another, it is never wise nor productive to have people in a business that do not share the corporate values that you have spent time creating, these people tend to not add value in the long term..

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

ECOMMPAY is a payment provider and complete fintech ecosystem. We build our systems and create unique products and solutions for our clients, such as our bespoke payment gate. We’re serious about payment security, so rather than follow industry trends, we innovate to guarantee an extremely high quality of service. Of course, our operation requires additional services as a backup — we have 4 data centers, for example — but we use internal analytical tools and have built a custom anti-fraud system.

As for specific tools that we use daily, Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, Semrush, Brand24, ABM tools, Asana, and Figma feature heavily in our workflow.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

At ECOMMPAY, we care deeply about our internal social culture. For that reason, we can recommend the following books as sources of inspiration:

These are some of our current favorites, but our list is constantly being updated.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Our advice is not to be afraid to dive into industries and products you don’t know yet. If you think you have a viable product or innovative idea and are convinced that there will be interest in it, believe in yourself and build a strong team who will help you reach your goals. ECOMMPAY’s founder didn’t understand the technicalities of online payments or even the precise definition of a merchant account before entering the online payment space. After speaking to business associates, he simply identified a gap in the market and started exploring his options.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are always looking for bright and talented candidates. If you are interested in working at ECOMMPAY, please check our careers page, you can always submit your CV and we will contact you.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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Paul Marcantonio, Director of ECOMMPAY
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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