Across the ocean. PayLane is going to… the United States.
We’re building PayLane for about 6 years already. And since the very first day, we have always thought about PayLane as a global company.
Not European company, not Polish company (we’re originally from Poland). A global company.
And what global means for us? We have always known that there is no such thing as a purely global company. Especially in our industry. If we liked to be purely global, we would need to be on each market. And every market is different, customers from different countries are different, they expect different services, different experience.
In online payments industry — if you want to sell in Asia — it means that you need to have everything your merchants need to sell in Asia. That means local payment methods, local currencies, offer, web site, devzone, Merchant Panel in the Asian languages etc. The same is with South America. The same is with Africa. The same is with Europe or North America.
Moreover, there are also lots of local regulations. Often different regulations in each country. Not just different regulations on each continent, but in each country on each continent.
A huge and complicated thing. Especially for a small company, like ours.
But come on! That’s why we all build businesses. To achieve the impossible. Sky is the limit. Right?
Of course it is.
That’s why a couple of years ago, I built a plan. A plan for being global. For being a global payment service provider. A Global PayLane.
Plan was as follows:
- Become a basic payment service provider for European companies.
- Become a great payment service provider for European companies.
- Give the access to our services to people from outside of Europe.
- Go outside Europe — the United States.
- The future.
Become a basic payment service provider for European companies.
That was the beginning. I wanted to build a company, that offers a platform to process online payments. With basic functionalities. The most important ones.
It may sound easy, but it’s not. That means lots of work. That means building relationships with payment institutions, acquirers and banks. That means PCI, that means building the whole payment platform, integrations, Merchant Panel. That means the website, devzone and blog. Last but not least, that means building a brand. A trustworthy brand. A payment brand that merchants want to use.
We achieved this goal around Q3, 2012. An incredibly interesting and freaking hard ride. But we did it.
Become a great payment service provider for European companies.
Great… yeah, we always wanted to be great. Such a wonderful phrase. A great company.
That was always our #1 mission.
Even at the beginning of building PayLane if you had asked me about the main reason why merchants should choose us, not our competitors, I would answer: because we are great. Because merchants like us. They gain everything they need to sell their products and even more than that — they like to work with us.
But at that time it was not easy to think about us as a great company. After achieving goal#1, we still had a lot of things to do. Lots of functionalities that could work better, lots of processes that should be optimized, lots of payment methods that we were not able to offer in a way we wanted to offer, lots of other things we had to do to interest many more people.
Having functionalities of a basic payment service provider is a lot (really a lot!), but it’s not enough. Once we had systems and we were able to offer basic stuff, time has come to do more. To scale.
And that means a lot more work to do. That means becoming a regulated company, that means implementing new payment methods, offering new functionalities, building even closer relationships with business partners, acquirers and banks. And again… building a brand. Much stronger brand.
We achieved this goal around Q4, 2015. That was the time of working hard on building company structures, procedures, policies, regulations, internal systems etc. Lots of boring things that had to be done. And lots of much more exciting things to do, e.g. building new functionalities, new relationships, selling, promoting, testing new internal processes, hiring new people etc.
And we did it. At the end of 2015 we had everything we wanted to have. I was damn’ proud of everything we did.
Give the access to our services to people from outside of Europe.
Even if we might offer everything we wanted to offer at that time, we still had one huge problem. Being a payment service provider is not like being a SaaS company. If you are a typical SaaS company, you may sell your product wherever you want, without huge investments. You may wake up tomorrow morning and say: yeah, we are a Canadian-based company, but we want to sell in Australia. Let’s do it. Today.
And you may be able to do it. Because why not? You may change a few tiny things on your website or in your product and you may be able to sell there. Even without changing anything on your side — people from around the world may use your product. They just need to sign up. And that’s all. If they like it — they may use it.
It’s not like that in online payments industry. Here you have licenses, often for specific territory. Here you have regulations and systems that may allow you to sell something. But only in some specific country or area. If you are a payment service provider and you offer credit card processing, it still doesn’t mean you may offer it wherever you want, whoever you want. In credit card processing you have acquirers. And often they have licenses, territory licenses. Such as in Europe — e.g. they have licenses for selling Visa and MasterCard in European Union. They can’t sell it to companies from Japan. Or Australia. Or Brazil. And if they’re not able to sell it there, we — as the payment service provider — are not able to sell it there either.
That’s why we decided to build PayLane Evolve! program. A program that would allow people from outside of Europe, use our services. We’ve built relationships with other great European companies and we have offered anyone in the world selling their products and services as a European company. That means that if anyone would like to join PayLane Evolve! program, we (or our partners) would help them create a company in some country in Europe, set up a bank account there and do everything they need to sell as European company (including processing payments with PayLane).
We started PayLane Evolve! in Q1, 2016. That was a huge thing for us. We still were not able to cooperate with companies from outside Europe, but we were able to cooperate with people from these companies. We thought that would be a huge step. Before Evolve! we were receiving lots of enquiries from people who we were not able to cooperate with (because their companies were registered outside Europe).
In fact, it was not as big as we thought. Of course, we have some people who have joined PayLane Evolve! program, but unfortunately not that many. Entrepreneurs, even if they like what we’re doing and they are willing to use our services, they don’t want to move their companies to other countries. If they are based in the US — they want to sell as a US company, if they are based in Brasil — they want to sell as a Brazilian company. The same is with almost everyone.
We don’t treat this project as a failure and we still want to run the program, as we truly believe that Europe is a great place to do global business. But anyway, if we want to be global and cooperate with merchants from outside of Europe — we need to do more. We need to go outside Europe. By ourselves.
Go outside Europe — the United States.
Right now we have customers in 25 countries. In Q2, 2016 we accepted clients’ payments from 205 countries. We’re setting lots of production accounts — actually processing accounts — month after month. We process hundreds of thousands sale transactions on monthly basis. But time has come for something new… for the US.
That’s the very first step. An extremely important one, as the US is incredibly important market for us, but still the very first one.
Why the USA at the beginning? The answer is quite simple: because we know this market. That’s the biggest market for most of our merchants. Dozens of transactions that we process on behalf of our merchants are from US customers. We also know some companies, banks, acquirers and media companies from the US. And what’s also important: we know the language.
More than that: the US market is a huge market. And that’s a market where lots of startups begin their journey. Also that’s a country where companies from other countries move once they want to go to the next level (e.g. raise more money, build relationships with bigger companies etc.).
And what I want to announce right now: we achieved this goal. Today. July 12th, 2016.
After many years of preparing — we did it. At last. Huge thing, huge milestone. For PayLane, for the whole team and for me — personally. And I’m so freaking proud of it.
I’m not gonna tell you what’s going to be next. But I will let you guess… it’s going to be something related to new markets :)
Stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter to be the very first to know.
I’ve originally published this article on the Across the Board blog.