Episode 6: Global and Domestic B2B Payments
Ernest Rolfson 00:00
Today we've got Marwan Forzley, the CEO and founder of Veem. Marwan is an entrepreneur, disrupter and visionary in the payments industry. He's made significant contributions in the implementation of blockchain technology and B2B payments. Definitely one of the movers and shakers in the industry. Veem actually describes itself as a Venmo for businesses and is rapidly growing, as no surprise, the B2B payments industry continues to heat up not just domestically but really globally. So without further ado, Marwan great to be with you.
Marwan Forzley 00:48
Thanks for having me. Good to see you again.
Ernest Rolfson 00:52
Absolutely, absolutely. Your'e up in Marin? Or Bay Area?
Marwan Forzley 00:59
Yes, that's correct. Yeah. Just outside the city.
Ernest Rolfson 01:02
That's where you're holed up? Have you been there the whole time?
Marwan Forzley 01:07
We've been here holding the fort during the whole COVID era. So from the start of COVID until now, we've been in the same spot. My house is becoming not only an office for me, but for me, the kids, and the wife and we're all on Zoom, maximizing our internet usage all day.
Ernest Rolfson 01:28
You've got to keep AT&T or Verizon happy. They don't like it when you're not using the pipes. You've got to keep it on.
Marwan Forzley 01:38
I'm definitely utilizing the pipes.
Ernest Rolfson 01:43
That's good. That's good. So well, look, thanks again for being with me here. You've been a collaborator for several years now. I've enjoyed getting to know you, and work with you. You've been at Veem now, what is it eight years?
Marwan Forzley 02:03
We started Veem in late 2014. I used to run ecommerce for Western Union and before that, I was in a startup called eBillme, which I founded and sold to them. And before that I was another startup that ended up at Nokia so I've been back and forth between startups and tech companies. I started Veem back again in 2014. It is a simple idea really that, you know, that when you go buy coffee in the morning, you don't think of how you pay, you just do it. Whatever you're doing you have cash, card, or whatever you have in your wallet and you pay and you move on. Your mind is somewhere else, you know, your mind is on emails and calendars and work and everything else in life. When you do business payments, it's the opposite of that. It's like an experience full of friction for both the parent and the receiver. And so the experience just goes from like really simple when you go buy coffee to really complex when you go to business transactions. And I thought that's gonna change--you're gonna make it a simple way to send money domestic and international. Just like paying for coffee, you don't think about it. In the world of business payments, it doesn't function like that for a variety of reasons. It doesn't work like that. And so that's why we started Veem so we make it really simple for businesses to pay and get paid.
Ernest Rolfson 03:35
Beyond the kind of personal experience, and I think that's so right, is that what I think the market could learn from us is that B2B payments are so different than regular "payments" in terms of how much effort and work there is between buyer and supplier. I know that your company was bought by Western Union or involved there. Did you see something about your experience there that also inspired you on Veem? Or did you learn something about international money movement that you said, I think there's a better angle here. Was that part of the inspiration?
Marwan Forzley 04:16
You know what is interesting is Western Union is a really good platform to learn about countries and currencies all around the world. And so when they acquired my company, a lot of my experience have been domestic payments in all its angles from consumer to business, consumer to consumer, and business to business but it's all domestic. When I got into Veem, it was interesting and eye opening to learn about all the various payment experiences in Europe and Asia and different parts of the world. And the more I learned about that, the more the more I'm thinking man, that whole experience is more difficult when you start doing international. And that's an opportunity to really simplify it and make it look like it's a simple consumer experience and it's like a domestic experience. That's the way we design Veem. But there's definitely inspiration from my days of Western Union. You know global payments are complex and full of friction and there's a lot of room to simplify it. It's an area that that can be simplified for a long period of time. It's not like, you know, let me make some quick changes. And we're done here. There's room for years and years of simplification that can be factored in perfectly, because this industry B2B has not seen innovation for a long period of time. You know, I mean, if you look back to the past few years FinTech became hot and sexy. That's because partly it's been baking for a while that there needs to be changes. And partly because this is an area where you can go at it for a long time making some dedication, and there'll be room for all kinds of players to do well.
Ernest Rolfson 06:08
Right. I mean, it's such an enormous global market, it's inevitable that there'll be multiple winners in angles based on specific needs.
Marwan Forzley 06:23
It's a big world. So many countries and owners.
Ernest Rolfson 06:28
Yeah, exactly. I didn't realize this, you wrote a book, Small Business in a Big World: A Comprehensive Guide to Doing International Business. Was that partly because you're focused on the SMB market? I mean, is there a unique challenge around SMB and navigating payments and or international payments? And is there something unique about how you're approaching to solve for that? Is there something crucial to understand there or something that you really got fired up about? Just, you know, as a layman that doesn't understand maybe SMB versus mid versus large market?
Marwan Forzley 07:15
Yeah, it's an interesting question. So the reason we ended up writing that book is because we started with a bunch of blogs about how to do business in, you know, China and India, and Germany and France and different parts of the world. And it was interesting, I was at CES, actually and I happened to bump into a customer who was telling me, man, it's tough to do business with, you know, country x. I won't mention the country, but he was complaining that.
Ernest Rolfson 07:44
(Laughter) Yeah, you want to stay safe.
Marwan Forzley 07:50
It was complaining about doing business with that country. This business in particular was in the in the US. And then, just at the same event, I happen to run into another beam customer that was from Japan, and he was complaining about how difficult it is to do business with the US. And so, I got into details of like, so why is it difficult to do business, and then they start talking about, you know, all kinds of issues, from communication to expectations to logistics. And a good chunk of that was payment related, like just basic stuff, like, you know, do I actually pay you before you ship the goods, and I trust you enough to actually send you my money, before you showed me the goods. And the other side of it is that if I ship you the goods, and I don't have your money, how do I know that you actually going to pay me so like basic stuff. Then it gets even more ingrained into, like, all kinds of cultural stuff. So for example, if you're in the US, you would send an email to some supplier in China, while the supplier in China is probably like, a lot more interested in actually communicating with you all through WeChat or SMS. And so there's a lot of nuances to doing business between these countries and I thought it would be interesting to turn the blogs into books and that's what we ended up doing. We kind of turn it into a collection of chapters on how to do business in various parts of the world.
Ernest Rolfson 09:19
The best of. I love it. The best blog posts. You sound like a VC or something. They have all their blog posts. They've got enough blog post they turned them into a book. You're like a Ben Horowitz.
Marwan Forzley 09:31
I got inspiration from talking to customer so that that's why we ended up doing the doing the book. Global payments are an interesting thing because you touch on, first of all how payments work in different countries but also you touch on cultures and ways of doing things that are maybe okay for you in the US but are difficult to do in other parts of the world. I can give you an example. In the US, let's say you're doing a payment online and I asked you for your social security number. That's something that people do in the US like I'll give you my last four digits and it's a common practice. That same experience of getting somebody's social security number in other parts of Europe or other parts of the world may actually be a big no-no, because I'm giving you a lot of information here that, you know, why do you need that information? And that touches on privacy concerns and security concerns where there's different tolerance to that type of information and in other parts of the world. So you assume that if something works in the US that's going to work in different parts of the world and that's not true. And it's complicated, because every country has its own nuances and stories, and what they like and they don't like to do.
Ernest Rolfson 10:52
Yeah. Now different to that point on collecting socials, a lot of it's around regulation. Right? Around compliance and regulation.
Marwan Forzley 11:01
Regulation, compliance, safety, and what's acceptable in different settings and different countries. You know, so somebody who was buying a product, in Germany, for example, may find that to be overkill. Why do I have to give you all this data to do something? While it probably is a common practice in the US and Canada and is something that people do. So these sensitivities show up when you're doing when you're servicing customers all around the world.
Ernest Rolfson 11:39
We'll get back to some of that, I want to talk about kind of meeting customer's needs, especially domestically, and what you're doing there and how you think about the B2B payments space. What I wanted to touch on too, is to congratulate you on your funding round, recently led by Truist, something like $31 million. You've been able to attract some international banks to support you, some very fancy venture funds. You know, some good names, I would say. What has been--it can't just be the technology--I want to mention you about blockchain and see your thoughts there. But what has been the drivers around investor interest here? And what are you guys doing well in serving this B2B payment need that is getting some of these banks to the table to support you that they're not able to do on their own? Because it feels like a lot of your investors are more strategic in nature, that they really understand this. And you've smartly taken advantage of that.
Marwan Forzley 12:49
Yeah, and we did this by design. We were interested in partners where there is an investment and there is potential commercial relationship with with a partner. It's like BB plus money. And what we're solving for is basically something that the partner values. So if you think of the way it works today, we have payment capabilities, payment infrastructure, we have KYC infrastructure, we have customers, and we have created a model where we see growth with the customers that we have on the system. And so what's valuable to the investor is really the combination of the various pieces connect together. The fact that you can do payment processing with KYC automation, with integrations into accounting systems with customers that like the product and you can get enough of them at a faster pace, it attracts capital to help you scale it to the next space. That's that's the way it's it's architected. I do think, though, that the value that strategic spraying is the ability to have relationships with them, where really money as a way to align interests and goals and agendas. That said, it's not necessarily the end all be all. I mean, you know, we can do commercial deals with other investments. We can do investments that just for the pure return on capital. I like the combination where you're getting the investment, plus some commercial relationship that you can potentially have an interaction with with a partner that ends up yielding to something that benefits both of us.
Ernest Rolfson 14:30
Is it that a lot of these partners or banks--is it the untappe need in SMB? Is it hard to bring commercial payment solutions to smaller companies? There are some gaps that you're kind of working to overcome? It's almost like when you're dealing with an SMB in a way--tell me if I'm wrong--isn't it almost like they have different almost consumer-like expectations around experience or usage, right? They need maybe--an SMB needs something simpler. It still has as to work and be very effective. But almost like form factor is more important than if you're selling to some enterprise company. And they're using older green screen technology for a lot of their business. They're not using cloud, is that some part of it as well? Or maybe I'm off? Maybe I'm off base. But I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Marwan Forzley 15:27
No, you're absolutely right. If you look at the banks and how they service their customers, you know, there's a retail business unit that deals with consumer customer, and there's corporate that deal with commercial and larger accounts. SMB has almost lost this sort of. Some banks put them in retail, some banks put them in commercial payments. And the reality is they're neither consumer, nor commercial, like nor corporate. They are their own class. They're a struggle between the two. They need services that look like a consumer service. Simple, easy to use, but they need sophistication that comes from corporate-like products, where you can do account approvals, payment approvals, you can integrate accounting systems, you can have multiple types of accounts on the system. So they need more sophistication, but it needs to stay like a consumer experience. And they also have different pricing needs compared to corporate when compared to retail. So they usually are like the most restructuring group at a bank. They could keep moving them around. And it's a harder group to service. They don't have enough balance to put them in a, you know, in corporate accounts, you have account managers on them. The pricing that they need is very different than consumers. So they can't be in the retail group. So they end up being this lost, under serviced market. And that's the market we go after. And the reason we teamed up with partners, because they know that that's a market that's underserved, and they're looking for tools and services to help for that market to go after that market more efficiently. And that's what we bring to the table. We aggregate that market in a self-serve, simple to use structure that appeals to the partner we're working with.
Ernest Rolfson 17:25
Right now, in your mind, is it right to say that you're helping these SMBs think like big companies in a way? Or are you democratizing access to payment products in a way that maybe bigger companies would? Or is it is there something else that may be their unique needs are different?
Marwan Forzley 17:43
I'd say in an unlevel playing field, we're leveling the playing field. I mean, like some of this that we typically see for big corp. You don't have access, and usually the banks don't offer it for SMB. And so what we do, because we're developing if you know, self serve fans, you go simple product, you make a lot of functionality that's only available for corporate accounts, you take it and you make it available for the large, small number of customers that want a product like this. So that's that's the way you know Veem works. And, you know, leveling the playing field is a good way of describing it.
Ernest Rolfson 18:33
Touching back on the technology side, I mentioned earlier blockchain. I don't think we have to go so deep here, but I understood you were one of the first or the first company to do something like $300 million worth of payments through blockchain. It had been hot, it was cold. Blockchains hot again, we're seeing Elon Musk on SNL talking down Dogecoin. Now, I mean, what do you think? You know, what do you see a future for this? And what do you think the biggest benefit of blockchain technology is or will be around payments? Or like why do you think it's important that you've made some investment there? And is this something that will maybe be more behind the scenes going forward and is more just really infrastructure and folks don't need to really know how this is happening? But that there's a better way, perhaps? Is that is that the way to think about it? How have you thought about how to use that for SMB? Because it seems that's a newer, bright piece of the pie here.
Marwan Forzley 19:33
Yeah, as you mentioned, you know, we've done this like really early, back in 2014 and 2015. We were doing, you know, payments on crypto and blockchain. And the reason we do it is because it gives us the ability to service markets that are harder to get to using traditional methods. So for example, If I want to move money to Mexico, traditionally, what I would do is I would have my own bank account in Mexico. I have pesos in it and whenever I have a transaction or payment that's going to Mexico, I use my pesos position to essentially disperse pesos to the recipient in Mexico. What the blockchain does, is it gives me the ability to service that customer using a very different infrastructure where I use crypto as a way to synthetically cross from one fiat to another. So I go fiat crypto crypto fiat. And I also, one of the key things here is going in and out of crypto efficiently because you know, the price changes all the time. So you got to do it in an efficient manner. It allows me to service that market without having essentially all the infrastructure required to do payment processing in that market. It's kinda like a way to get going using alternative technology, where the technology gives you an edge compared to traditional methods. The traditional methods here being either bank wire, or you set up your own bank account infrastructure. What's nice about crypto also is that you can do transactions in the middle of the night. There's no banking hours and you can track payments because of all of the payments process a note on the blockchain, you can basically Google map your payment. So it makes it really simple to operate the payment flows. And that's why we took advantage of it. It is behind the scenes for us. The customers don't see it, don't know it. They're not really aware. They're not aware. It is by design. And they don't care. They don't care. Customers, you know, if you're selling clothes or books or furniture, do you really care how the payment actually got there? What you care about is how much am I paying to get this payment delivered to my supplier, or the person that's helping me out on this project? I win. That's all they care about--cost and timing. And that's the way we think about it.
Ernest Rolfson 22:16
It has to be less about products going forward and more about the experience overall. Right? And more about what can you deliver for buyer and supplier. And to your point, they--especially with an SMB--they know even less about payments and money movement than a big corporate. Right? They're small mom and pop and to your point they just want to know the service is going to be provided. And that's fine. And if you can do it in a better, more efficient way, it allows you to expand your business more rapidly and serve your customers better. And that's where I see payments moving. Not to say there's going to be a black box, but I think the payments industry and the banks are struggling with around thinking about, you know, product product product pushing card, pushing a CH, pushing wire, instead of more talking about what are the outcomes? What is the experience you can expect? I think you've spoken a lot of time on the experience and about a comprehensive solution.
Marwan Forzley 23:20
Yeah, I don't think this small businesses actually care about how payments happen. You know, I don't think they want to learn. I guess another thing at one point, this is early on, we kind of started exposing the logic of having, you know, customers choose the rail they want to work with, and nobody cared. Customers want to send money to a location and they need to understand these two things: cost and time. That's it. How it gets there is like, you know, you do it for me. That's the reason I'm working with you.
Ernest Rolfson 24:00
Yeah, yeah, you're the expert. You're the expert. Is it fair to say most of your business's international today? Is that an accurate statement in terms of the flows and the types of customer problems you're solving is international?
Marwan Forzley 24:21
We do both international and domestic. International is the bigger piece of the business.
Ernest Rolfson 24:29
Marwan Forzley 24:29
Domestic US, domestic Canada.
Ernest Rolfson 24:33
Canada, right. Domestic Canada, that's growing for you?
Marwan Forzley 24:36
And US as well. Yeah, both are growing segments.
Ernest Rolfson 24:42
Can you share, I guess why the domestic piece is important? And the expansion you're doing there? The SMB space has been heating up. There was a very big, build up comm acquisition this past week and expense management, very high valuations. There's really been several different entrance, only a few bigger players, you're really one of them doing something interesting. But it seems to me that you sense there's a big opportunity at domestic here. So help us understand what some of your customers--please.
Marwan Forzley 25:24
I'm a little bit different in my approach in that I don't think of, you know, Veem as a domestic service or international service or cross border, I think customer. So what do you need to do payments, let me help you do it. Some of its going to be domestic, some is going to be international, some of it requires foreign exchange so if it stays in US dollar. And I don't really push one way or another, it's like whatever the customer wants to do. So we think I've had more coming at it from a customer perspective, what is it that they want to do? Rather than are you doing, or are you playing here or playing cross border. We have a different approach.
Ernest Rolfson 26:06
Understood. Is there, I guess in terms of the typical US based customer, what are the, the kind of typical problems you're solving for them?
Marwan Forzley 26:21
Ernest Rolfson 26:23
Is it unique? Like and it's the CFO, is that who you're speaking to the CFO? Or the business owner?
Marwan Forzley 26:31
Business owner, CFO, controller, sometimes their accountant depending on the size of the business, and generally, they're looking for a simple way to move money around, either to pay or get paid. In domestic markets, what they like, is generally the ability to pay with email, like, that's what they were looking for. I'm a business in California, I have this supplier that I'm working with in New York, I want to send them some money. And here's a simple way I don't, I don't really have their bank account information on me, it's taking some time to go figure it out. So let me just log in and send an email out. And here's money for you. Kind of similar to you know, Venmo, or Square cash or Zelle its like that, but for businesses and people like that.
Ernest Rolfson 27:23
Okay, so it's almost like you've removed a lot of that friction and if they don't have the data available, they can still pay and still let people know that they're trying to pay them.
Marwan Forzley 27:34
Yes, that's a key.
Ernest Rolfson 27:36
Is that a fair summary?
Marwan Forzley 27:37
That's a key value proposition is simplicity of experience. Because when you are doing domestic payments you generally are doing ACH, check, card. These are like the main, you know, instruments. Oh, an or wire. Wire tends to be the sort of bigger instrument for larger transactions. Generally, when you're doing you know, small payments, they end up happening on the station cards, and large payments they happen on wire. So what we're doing is we're basically giving the ability for you to do larger payments in a simple way by email, pulling money on one side and depositing on the other side. And that experience essentially ends up being a wire replacement type experience for domestic workers.
Ernest Rolfson 28:30
Understood, understood. You know, our companies partner together and work with you on some domestic payment products, specifically in the check space. I guess tell me why was rolling out a new payment modality important to you and your customers? You know, why do you see this as being necessary? And do you foresee that kind of... Have you seen that in other markets or you see that customer demand is saying, "Hey Veem, we want to need you to do more for us?" Help us understand kind of what--I think you're calling this Veem local--Is that the right kind of your comprehensive, you know, kind of payment solution. I'd love to learn more about kind of how your thinking about this.
Marwan Forzley 29:18
Yeah, being local is really the concept of having businesses in local markets, pay locally and have choice in their payments. They can choose one, you know, check card, ACH, whatever they want. We teamed up because either there's something interesting that happened during COVID. We got feedback from the customer that they want to spend check, which is kind of odd during COVID because, you know, you assume that because of this situation were in people want to go and do electronic payments. What was interesting about that, though, is we have this tracker with Veem where you can track what happens the payment, kind of think of it like a FedEx for payments where you can give to people.
Ernest Rolfson 30:06
Right. Yep, yep.
Marwan Forzley 30:08
And so when the sender sends the check, it sends a notification to the receiver with an expected delivery time. What was interesting about that is the receiver actually never showed up to the office to pick any mail. It's just that when they got on that notification that there's going to be, you know, a check, they will show up, pick up the rest of the mail, pick up the check and go. And it was, you know, it's like marrying a new and old together. Like the new stuff was like the tracking and the ability to refine delivery times on things, and then the oldest actually sending a check. And so we put them together, which was valuable for the payers and the payees in a in a situation where still the payer had these policies to send the check, and they wanted to do it. And the receiver wanted a way to notify them that, hey, maybe they should show up to the office to pick up whatever mail they have, including the check. And so it ended up appealing to both parties--the payer and the payee--so we ended up teaming up with you to do it. And, you know, a lot of that is just back to customer feedback, you know, customers want to pay this way so like who am I to tell him to choose the other way or you know, maybe there's other ways to do things. I would just go with whatever the customer wants, we do for them.
Ernest Rolfson 31:36
Do you see this though, as a way to expand your share of wallet with each customer and be more valuable to them? Right. And because you're doing more?
Marwan Forzley 31:45
We think of it primarily, we come out of, first of all, the experience--like is this a delightful, simple experience? And this, what happens is as an outcome of that, is you end up getting more share of wallet from the customer. Share of wallet is a byproduct of a simpler thing--that I am giving you a different experience and what you get today and this experience is lifelong.
Ernest Rolfson 32:14
Prior, they would be doing this outside of Veem on their own, maybe by wallet. Right. And is there something about COVID that was unique? And you probably don't see this slowing down, but in the past, you described that the customers cared less about how things went out the door. It seems around the checks and COVID, and your customers wanting to do more with you and get more out of your platform. Was there anything that you could tell that seemed to drive that? Just as a point of curiosity, it's kind of interesting. Cash Flow may be an idea. I don't, I don't know. I'm just curious if you have any insights? Cash flow is definitely one of the variables, especially during COVID. Because everybody watches your numbers, and especially in a situation where, you know, demand, and sales might be more powerful than usual. So you want to keep an eye on where your cash position is and when you're going to get paid and what happens to payments whether they're in or out of your balance sheet. I think what's interesting during COVID, is that, you know, we have a lot of online businesses, you know, combination of ecommerce, email startups, online business services, and they did very well during COVID compared to more traditional segment like retail and travel. And because their business expanded, they ended up expanding both domestically, as well as cross border. And so that was interesting in that we see an uptick in volume on both sides of it. And that's a good sign, usually businesses good, you're servicing more customers, you're getting more revenue, you're getting more sales, and you're expanding on both ends. And that's why when I go back today, you know, organizing principles around this, I don't really think of it as like I'm just going to do your domestic payments or your cross border payments. I don't think of it like that. I think of it as like you have your payment needs, it's growing, let me help you get there and we'll simplify it as much as we can for you. Whatever you want to do. If you want to pay with check, with card, with bank, whatever you want. We support that. That's sort of how we think of it. Given that they do have choice elsewhere, is it the experiential factor that people are choosing you over others?
Marwan Forzley 34:47
Yeah, I mean, the reference point--
Ernest Rolfson 34:49
Is that the big the big selling point there?
Marwan Forzley 34:51
Yes, the reference point is backfire. I mean, most of these customers, they go to Chase, Wells (Fargo), BOA, smaller banks they work with, and they send wires. And they're looking for, you know, a different experience-- something simpler, less fees. Yeah, that's another thing fees. Like so you said domestic wire that's like, you know, 20 bucks, for example, to send the wire. Yeah, with Veem you're sending local payments for free. So just a simpler, free pay as you go, you don't have to worry about seller fees, monthly fees. You have payments, we support you and a good chunk of it is free. We make money on cars and foreign exchange.
Ernest Rolfson 35:37
Understood, understood. So coming out of this, and actually before COVID, small business was up like 15%. In terms of your volume, I'm sure you've seen a big snap back so far, especially in some of the verticals you said that have been strong during COVID. You said you have a lot of smaller businesses that are ecommerce and others that probably were just, you know, COVID was a blip in many respects. But with everything that's happened in the world since, do you think that these other SMBs are going to continue driving growth? Do you think there's going to be a longer recovery? What kind of trends you're seeing cross border and domestic, but maybe have a favorable mix. But it's interesting to just kind of hear your trends about these businesses needs going forward based on just what's happening.
Marwan Forzley 36:29
I actually think something super interesting is developing. And these are structural changes that are going to stay for a long time. And I described them into two different pockets. You know, the rise of ecommerce. Ecommerce is going to stay for a long, long time, I think habits have changed. In pre-COVID, you used to go to the store. And if you're stuck, you need something, you can't find a store, you go online. With COVID, you start online, if you're really stuck, and there's something you need immediately, and you can't wait for it to get home, you know, to get shipped to you, then you go to the store. So these habits have been like this for like almost a year and a quarter. And so these habits are set now. Now, my grandma can do shopping online, and she finds it actually quite enjoyable and simple. And so that's going to keep going. The other thing that I think is a structural change is labor. You know, in the past you used to employ people around you. So like you have an office in Boston, I go find people in Boston, I get them to come to the office, and I pay them deposits on one of the payroll processors. That also is changing and changing quite a bit. We're seeing volume to all kinds of places around the world because if I'm in Zoom all day, it doesn't matter if I'm in San Francisco, you're in Boston. I mean, if we're both on Zoom, well might as well also have employees or labor join in from Canada, from Mexico, from Philippines, from Germany. And so you're seeing this rise of remote labor, and payments to labor all around the world. That's a big trend. And that's also supplemented by the gig economy and the rise of, you know, payouts to that environment. So I think these are like, you know, large structural use cases that have shifted. And I think it's gonna be like this for a while, I mean, you know, sure, we're all going to go back to an office, and we're all going to find it enjoyable to go to a restaurant and have real meetings in person. But I think it's all the habits that have developed during COVID are going to stay for a while and going to be the predominant use case.
Ernest Rolfson 38:58
Seems like that's where things are going, what you're saying. We've experienced that here and any business now your understanding remote is at least going to be I think the majority, or at least 50% of the way people work. And companies I believe are getting more flexible about who they do business with and where and where they hire. So you seem to be spot on the money. Unless you're running a factory, there's really no other reason.
Marwan Forzley 39:23
Even when you're running a factory, it's surprising how many of the folks in the factory are now remote, you know, joining in on Zoom. I mean unless you're operating the machine itself, just the management, the HR parts, I mean good chunk of that is like email these days. So I think the interesting piece here is that this has gone on for awhile, but if this was a couple of months, people would go back to their old ways and life moves on. But this is now a habit. And the thing is because we've been doing this for a long time, having assumed that this is the way it's going to go forward, we're being in an office or going to the restaurant or shopping offline are going to be more like things you just enjoy doing, but not your default case.
Ernest Rolfson 40:23
I feel you. What are you excited about next, whether you know B2B payments, anything you're excited about? Anything, you know, maybe upcoming for Veem, that you're either planning that you can talk about or involved in? What are you looking forward to in any kind of big, bigger trends--maybe industry wise or otherwise--that you think you're either in a good position to take advantage of or that you see yourself working on here?
Marwan Forzley 40:54
Yeah, I think there's interesting trends that are developing for B2B in general. I think you're going to see a lot more rise of wallets, domestic and global wallets as a form of payments and exchange of real time, funds between parties. I think the crypto is here to stay despite dismissiveness for all kinds of individuals that say, maybe this is something that has no intrinsic value. It is not going anywhere, anytime soon.
Ernest Rolfson 41:33
Now, that I think that's one of the biggest takeaways that most people don't understand is that crypto is not going anywhere. It is very serious and very real.
Marwan Forzley 41:46
Yeah. And I think there is appetite, stronger appetite these days for real time payments. That's across the board, domestic and international. So the rise of systems that enable real time is going to be something that's demanded by the industry, whether it's RTP, or cousins of RTP. And same thing in other markets outside the US. I think some of the whys of neobanks is interesting, where some of the services offered and experiences are very different than traditional banks, I think we're going to see a rise of players in that market starting with consumer neobanks. But, you know, over time, also emerging to business neobanks. So that's an that's a trend that we're going to see. Right, more more players in that in that segment. I think anything that is cross border in any form, like whether it's consumer business, payoff spans, I mean, that market is so complicated. That just requires massive simplifications for a long period of time, there's there's going to be emergence of a number of players that cover that market as well.
Ernest Rolfson 43:02
So sounds like you're in the right spot. One thing I want to mention on-
Marwan Forzley 43:09
We're trying to be.
Ernest Rolfson 43:14
That's right, well, try your best. That's right. That's all you can do. But I want to say when RTP-- this comes up, it's come up actually in a lot of my conversations with other CEOs and leaders in the industry, do you think RTP is negative for card and card volume? Or is it very situational? And do you see this being more important for SMB, or where they're like, Hey, we really need to make a payment urgently and so now we can do this and pay a fee. Because I see it being net very negative for wires, which are cumbersome and manual and are doing that same day and you mentioned earlier $20 a transaction. You know, is there a loser in RTP? Or is it really a new? Is it situational?
Marwan Forzley 44:06
I totally think it's more situational. I think it's it's RTP will do well in situations where you're looking to move large amounts of money into real time selling without fees. RTP does that. So it doesn't really, I mean, it might pick up some volume from card, some volume from checks, or volume from ACH but in general, it probably will pick up the bigger volume from from wire. More from wire than the other systems. There's just situations where you have a larger amount of money you need to move at real time. And you know, you're looking for a cheaper way to do it real time. I think RTP will fill a gap there.
Ernest Rolfson 44:48
Yeah, that makes sense. One thing you didn't mention, where our Finexio team's made a big bet investment around the timing of payment and speed of payment. We launched something called Finexio Cash, which is about getting the suppliers paid upon invoice approval. So realizing there's a time value of money and getting funds to the suppliers early, where maybe they're still receiving a check, and they realize that slow and slow to deposit or the buyers are just paying them slower and you know, some some pressures due to COVID and otherwise. Is speed and the time value something that is critical? Are you doing anything in this area? Or is it really not been for these SMB's? It's much more about the banks can't give them a great turnkey solution. And so that's maybe next wave and you're really tackling, you know, an experiential component first? I'm just curious, do you see any convergence around this kind of credit and lending and payments?
Marwan Forzley 45:54
This is a good topic. Thanks for bringing it up. And then I think the work you guys are doing in this area is quite valuable for customers. And I think capital and payments are cost cousins. If you ask customer what else can I do for you, besides payments, usually they bring up lending. So, you know, they're very close to each other. So I think I think there is a lot of room in this market as well, you know. And thanks for bringing that up, it reminds me that that's an area that is a key area in the future as well. You're going to see more convergence between what used to be typical and things used to be conditional payments coming, getting closer.
Ernest Rolfson 46:39
That's right. It's just natural. I mean, for me, I really think of FinTech and what you're doing and what I'm doing as a kind of a rail and infrastructure provider. This is all stuff that banks could and should do. And at the end of the day, everyone has a bank account. You need a bank account to be accessing the system. And so it's incumbent upon us software players to make these products and services available in one package, because they're starting to buy financial products and services from software firms like Veem, where they don't even think to call up Chase, they don't think to call up Bank of America anymore. So you can make these banking products available. It's more natural for them. Because companies and consumers are used to now software, and they're used to their phone and accessing--Right? You said earlier, you don't feel the payment or think about the payment when you're booking Uber, you're not thinking about how that's getting paid, right? You're just pressing a few buttons on your app. And it's happening and a payment occurred. So I see that opportunity for us, both together and on our own journeys around how you bundle in these services and products in a way that they would never even understand that to have that conversation with their bank. And if we can deliver a good solution with a good experience, you're going to get a lot of adoption.
Marwan Forzley 48:01
Totally agree. And I think that's the reason Fintech exists. The reason we exist is new.
Ernest Rolfson 48:08
Yeah, that's right. Yeah.
Marwan Forzley 48:11
That's it. I mean we provide what is not being served today by their current providers. Thanks for bringing it up.
Ernest Rolfson 48:25
Yeah. Look, to get business me and you have to beat a bank every single time. 100% of the time, we have to be better than the bank. Yeah. They serve the great place, you know, and that's fine. But um, there's a gap right now. So we'll take advantage of it as long as we can. While keeping friends with everyone, keeping as many good relationships as we can along the way. It's a very small industry. So have to be very friendly to everybody.
Marwan Forzley 48:58
Ernest Rolfson 49:00
As you know, I try to only offend one or two, I try to only offend one or two people or companies a year if I can. I try to really limit it. I don't know about you. I used to be about one a quarter. And I've cut it down to about 50% reduction.
Marwan Forzley 49:17
That's a wise thing to do .
Ernest Rolfson 49:22
I think so. I think so. Yeah. Yeah. Be someone that people like, it's a good thing. It's a good thing. Well, look, man, I know you've got to run. Really fun. I really enjoyed it. I hope I'll see you maybe in Vegas at a payments conference at some point. That's where we usually interact, but hopefully not before long in the Bay Area as well. The one thing you can count on is there's always going to be good weather. r
Marwan Forzley 49:51
Weather and good food.
Ernest Rolfson 49:53
The bad thing about Vegas, we'll have some cigarette smoke and someone spilling alcohol on our shoes. In the Bay Area you can have some nice sun and probably some nice, you know, some nice day, see some sea lions or something and no complaints.
Marwan Forzley 50:08
Well, it'll be good to see you again. Hopefully so.
Ernest Rolfson 50:11
Absolutely, absolutely. Well, I'm going to shut us down here but thanks again and we'll be talking again soon. All right, thanks a lot Marwan
Marwan Forzley 50:20
Thank for having me.
Ernest Rolfson 50:21
Take care of yourself now. No problem..
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