Interview

How optiles headstrong attitude paved the way to payment orchestration

Tuesday 1 October 2019 13:59 CET | Editor: Melisande Mual | Interview

What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur in the world of payments? For optile Founder and CEO Daniel Smeds, reaching success means being headstrong and staying committed to big ideas beyond short-term obstacles.

 

In this interview, Daniel Smeds discusses how perseverance has been incorporated into optile’s unique approach to payments. He further goes into recent market developments, the need for payment orchestration, and the role of optile in the dynamic space of payments.

Could you explain what it takes to become an entrepreneur?

Often with entrepreneurs, you have people who are a bit stubborn. This can be dangerous but its also a side condition to being successful. After founding your own company, there is always a point after 2 or 3 years when the initial excitement goes away. At that point the success is not yet there and the unmet expectations can be frustrating. You don’t do it primarily for the money, because if you were in it for the money you’d probably try to exit early and move on to something else.

Many people look to see what their peers are achieving and then jump off too early. Yet if you don’t care as much about what others around you are doing, then you’re more likely to pursue your dream or goal. There’s a difference between becoming an entrepreneur and just running a business. In the long run, it takes a lot of commitment to pursue big ideas.

How did you incorporate this headstrong attitude into optile’s approach to payments?

The majority of payment businesses see what is in the market to carve out their own share via incremental improvements—this of course is a very logical approach. However, we wanted to reimagine payments to give companies something they did not yet know that they needed.

There’s a quote often attributed to Henry Ford saying, if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses [and not a car]. In a way, this is similar to what we do at optile. We first had to create this concept of an open payment world and then give it to the people and companies so they could understand what this concept is and leverage it for their own benefit.

What is the goal for optile?

The goal is to be the leading payment orchestration provider. When we say payment orchestration, we mean coordination amongst the classical payment methods, acquirers, and providers around the world.

This approach allowed us to pilot orchestrated communication between payment players and merchants, delivering benefits such as new streams of revenue and strengthened brand awareness. If you can rethink everything surrounding customer experience, then payment moves beyond just pure cost saving, automation, or optimisation. 

What is the payment marketplace currently missing?

Of course, payments today is a lot of back and forth, starting with customer data entry at the checkout, payment confirmation, etc. If you go to a normal payment checkout, the main hurdle to buying is having to enter so many details. This is cumbersome and I assume so many people buy at Amazon for the sake of convenience: they have already entered their information once, so they don’t have to do so again.

If you can deliver this convenience independent from any payment method, then you create great benefit for small and medium-sized merchants who have a hard time delivering the same customer experience as their larger counterparts. Right now, you can only do this after pre-entering data with the big five (Google, Apple, etc). Thus, there is a real market need for the ability to leverage customer data outside of these large identity providers.

Could you mention any optile products that are addressing the issues of payments and communications between merchants and providers?

Up until now we helped merchants coordinate their payments via our smart routing application, powerful risk management, orchestrating payment processing across different cloud providers and regions, and optimising checkouts.

Recently we also started focusing on delivering the best-in-class, frictionless customer experience by creating an ecosystem of merchants and allowing them to securely exchange and own their valuable customer data rather than giving it to Google or PayPal. Our product, optile X, enables single merchants to transparently collaborate with many merchants or build their own ecosystems, benefitting from up- and cross-selling along with a whole new level of customer experience.

Can you describe the role which payment orchestration plays in payments today?

Although we have been working on payment orchestration for a while now, we’re not the only ones. PSPs are a way to use a vertical integration of the payment market to satisfy the payment needs of online businesses.

Today, mature, high-volume online merchants need a horizontal integration— one that is neutral and abstracts the entire payment market while putting merchants in the driver’s seat. And that’s the main goal of a payment orchestration provider.

What we can expect from optile as the world of payments continues to evolve?

We will work more with these integrated merchant scenarios and ecosystems. So, at the end it won’t be an orchestration of what the merchant does, but instead an orchestration of everything in payments around the merchant as well. Every merchant, every payment method, every bank, payment service provider, or a third-party service and, of course, the end customers are part of this scenario.

If you want to have a platform or an infrastructure software that alleviates the communication inside this network of payments, then you also need a way to control this. We will be speaking more about this concept in the near future.

About Daniel Smeds

As an innovator of the payments industry for over 20 years, Daniel Smeds has worked to simplify countless intricate payment challenges. He spent time as CTO at Wirecard and Founder at PAY.ON before starting optile: a company creating an open payment world and reimagining the concept of payments from a merchant perspective. Daniel sees himself as lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time and believes that if the end customer is happy, then the merchant ends up satisfied as well.

 About optile

optile is an open, independent payment orchestration platform to scale, unify, and optimise your payment setup.

optile is designed for international enterprises to scale faster to new markets, unify all payment-related processes, optimise customer experience, and boost conversion via intelligent payment tools.

 


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Keywords: Daniel Smeds, optile, payments, PSP, payment orchestration platform, customer experience, ecommerce, merchants
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