This is a follow up story for Parcela Ja. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi again guys! Surely you don’t remember me, I’m Miguel Quintas, and delighted to share with you guys the evolution of our company, Parcela Ja, since the last time I wrote for this website 2 years ago.
You can find it all and how it was back then here.
Two years ago we were offering a standalone POS terminal at physical stores where end consumers could pay for their products or services in up to 6 installments without any extra cost whatsoever or interest.
Things have changed and currently, our flagship product (installments) is also offered in state-of-the-art POS terminals along with general debit and credit card acquiring along with other end consumer services.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
Our vision is always to be ranked in the top 3 solutions in a market. In that sense, we can only step in if we see that opportunity.
We’ve partnered with a financial institution, and by the end of 2023, we will have 10x more terminals deployed than 2 years ago. We have added extra services (debit & credit card acquiring) for our retail customers. This partnership brought some extra punch capabilities, particularly on the commercial and marketing side and we’re working to promote the solution throughout 300.000 merchants.
An advertising campaign has been launched both off and online, and results are starting to be visible as more and more customers are reacting to the campaigns.
In the meantime, we’re now in the process of launching our online solution by the end of Q4 2023 and that comes along with an app for the end consumers. 2023 will be also the year we expect to have our first end consumer app transaction. We already have a long customer pipeline to be served as a result of pre-sales activities, mainly with brokers and payment gateways.
The fact contracts are coming and therefore we can now put some extra effort into developing the product, enhancing it with extra features, sorting user experience issues but all combined, we’re getting it done for the segments we want to be present at: offline and e-commerce, both combined. Currently, our metric is 80 euros invested in technology per 100 euros revenue.
The company has grown to 10 employees and we expect a huge business boom during 2024, whereas the team is expected to increase accordingly. We are all anxious to get things done.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
Our big challenges were central bank regulation and incumbents' smart “lobbying”. All of that is acceptable and is part of the game. We all need to understand that. But it’s a huge burden for any Fintech to tackle. Particularly because it is too attached to some geographies, and thus some advantages and disadvantages are happening at a global level.
Anyway, it’s also a learning curve and that’s also exciting. Regarding the operation itself, the hardest part is to evangelize incumbents there might be a new way of doing business and we’re ready to partner with them. Typically the contrary is also true, but the execution is sometimes very slow and time and money-consuming.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
The biggest lesson learned is: “Never give up, pay attention to signs, and think two steps ahead.” The fact is every new organization lacks experience and if you’re a startup you probably will lack the true knowledge of what might come after your next move. It’s all new and one has to think about consequences all the time.
Of course, sometimes surprises happen and typically some are not so good. Don’t worry. If you’re a true entrepreneur you’ll find ways to surpass them. Just make sure you evaluate everything at all times. You don’t want to hit a wall and never realize that’s a wall!
You need a team to discuss with you day-to-day life. An advisor. A board of advisors. They will tell you things you tend to forget.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Grow, grow, grow! First locally and hopefully in two years start in a new market with new and different products. Can’t make calculations for 5 years. It’s a kind of lottery these days as all happens so fast.
The most important thing is to keep the organization as much “anti-fragile” as possible. Anyway, our vision is always to be ranked in the top 3 solutions in a market. In that sense, we can only step in if we see that opportunity. In Portugal, we aim to become the market standard. That’s what we are working for.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
The best thing I’ve read was 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson. It is important to understand mankind from different perspectives exactly because the world is too complex.
I also believe human relationships are becoming more and more important since we tend to be more and more at home. Emotional Intelligence might be a hugely valuable asset in the next 10-20 years.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Listen. But listen carefully. Typically you’re not a one-man show and you need a team to discuss with you day-to-day life. An advisor. A board of advisors. They will tell you things you tend to forget.
Simple things such as “Have you looked into the financials? Are people motivated? Are you doing the right thing and why? What other possibilities are out there? What are the pros and cons of any possible decision? Have you the right product? Is it competitive enough? And so on…
Sometimes we are so immersed in our daily life we forget to think about the business as a whole. I tend to take long showers to stop and think. Not ecological, I know, but very effective…
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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