An increasing number of innovative tech products and platforms are built each day, challenging industry conventions and making consumers’ lives easier. They need a payments system that can be set up quickly and cope with a fast-paced market, so as not to restrict their functionality or hinder their growth.

Unfortunately the payments industry simply isn’t keeping up. It tends towards out-dated services that require manual processing and substantial operational overhead. Many financial service providers only offer one or two of the services, such as processing or acquiring, but not other necessary additional services like Know Your Customer Checks. Processing anything other than simple inbound payments requires a combination of multiple services, meaning companies have to take a piecemeal approach to payments.

The upshot of this is that many tech companies have to shoehorn their offerings to fit with existing, often antiquated and expensive, providers. We spoke to Paybase CEO, Anna Tsyupko, to find out how they are looking to address these issues.

Let’s start by describing in your words what your company is and what it does?

The Paybase Platform is an end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk. It is perfect for platforms, such as online marketplaces, sharing and gig economy companies and crowdfunding sites. It delivers all the services needed for a sophisticated payments infrastructure which can offer more than simply processing inbound payments.

Let’s take online marketplaces as an example. Currently customers buy an item and the payment goes directly to the marketplace. The marketplace then takes its percentage, which may vary from merchant to merchant, before finally transferring the adjusted monies to the vendors. This is a complicated and labour intensive process. With our platform and our technology, payments can go directly to the vendors with the marketplace automatically taking their desired cut, while making sure that all regulatory standards are upheld. This allows the marketplace to concentrate on providing the best service they can, rather than spending valuable time processing payments.

What do you think makes it distinct to any other companies – what’s its USP?

Our USP is twofold. Firstly, we derive much of our market advantage from our unwavering ‘tech-first’ approach. We do not settle for adequate off-the-shelf solutions, we rather learn and develop what is state of the art to solve problems in the best possible way. Secondly, our commitment to creating the most accessible payment solutions is not matched by anyone in the industry. Regardless of the size of our partner, we are able to provide the most user-friendly option available whilst remaining affordable.

An example of both of these elements would be our Logic Engine, which allows our clients to hook directly into the lifecycle of customers, accounts, transactions and more. In these hooks, Rules can be defined that change the behaviour of the Paybase Platform to meet a bespoke set of requirements – instantly. This is important because it means our clients can inject their own business logic directly into our Platform, without us having to intervene at all. Rules are extremely powerful, and can block, flag and tag transactions; add fees and commissions; allocate points and rewards and much more.

It is this type of flexible, user-friendly, technologically advanced feature that sets Paybase apart from other payments companies.

What is your personal background?

I’m a finance and payments specialist with a long standing passion for technology. I know from first hand experience the struggle that businesses go through in order to integrate payments to their product. The goal to democratise payments infrastructure for companies of all sizes is what I’m striving for and I’m lucky to have a very talented team around me to help achieve this.

What inspired you to start the company?

When creating the peer-to-peer payments app Payfriendz, there was no one offering anything close to the type of end-to-end system that we wanted, and having to work with so many partners was frustratingly difficult. Because of this we decided to build our own. It was immediately clear that we wouldn’t be the only company that could benefit from such an infrastructure.

Payments are often an afterthought for businesses which can regrettably slow them down. Succeeding as a start-up is difficult enough, so we set about building a payments platform which would save companies time, money and resource. And thus, Paybase was formed.

What is the story of the company from launch until now? How big is the company now?

Whilst the Payfriendz app has been running since 2013, the idea of the Paybase Platform was born in summer 2016. We have since been building our platform, speaking with potential partners, making important hires in compliance, operations, tech and marketing – all whilst powering and running the Payfriendz app on our own processor and infrastructure.

We have recently moved to a higher capacity office in London Bridge, a buzzing hub for FinTech innovation and are now a team of 16.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your company?

I would say that the biggest challenge we’ve faced as a company so far is treading new ground that hasn’t been covered before.

The payments industry is fraught by legacy technology and lack of automation. This is something we want to change which in turn means bringing together payments, compliance, operations and state-of-the-art technology and to automate as many processes as we can. It’s no small task but it’s certainly very rewarding!

What’s the next step for growth?

Paybase is actively powering the payment infrastructure behind Payfriendz and the Platform graduates from private beta, becoming available publicly, early next year. We have grown our team substantially this summer and will be adding more staff in the near future – particularly to the tech team.

We are actively, but not exclusively, looking for partnerships with marketplaces, sharing or gig economy platforms, charities and crowdfunding sites and we’re also interested in hearing about other businesses and possible collaborations.

Will you be looking for more funding?

We have received funding from both Innovate UK and private investors but we are always passively looking for strategic investment that can help us grow and open up new distribution channels.