Project rundown interview — Payment Porte
Payment Porte is a fintech startup that is building The NEW WAVE of digital payment solutions, utilizing a decentralized, public blockchain, and distributed ledger technology.
Jeff Catalano, thanks for reaching out. You are the founder of Payment Porte, right? Can you give us a quick introduction to your background? How did you get where you are today and what does your company do?
I am a serial entrepreneur, who has been blessed to have experienced so many different business sectors, and challenges in my life and career. I started out a self-taught fashion designer, building multiple apparel and accessory businesses from scratch. During that period I learned hands-on about overseas manufacturing, importing, exporting, sales, marketing, and basically played many roles as a multi-hat juggling executive, owner and founder. Then I branched out into the restaurant business, successfully building and selling 2 popular brands in Panama. I then accepted the roles of GM and executive chef for two restaurants in a high-end resort. After this chapter, I turned to real estate and sold property and luxury villas in the same high-end resort. My quest for new challenges and sectors had brought me to Blockchain, DLT and digital assets a few years ago, and after a year of due diligence, I decided to found Payment Porte and PORTE token in June 2018. We are a Fintech company that is harnessing public Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Tech and creating a hybrid enterprise that is focused on solving the challenges of cross-border payments. We chose the niche market of the maritime and shipping industries, as they were one of the largest and most in need of disruption. I also had experienced the pain points first hand in my years of sending cross-border payments abroad in my import/export days, and knew there was a more efficient way of sending payments to our many suppliers, and service providers across the Pacific.
If you could write your own job description, what would it say? What key job functions are you most passionate about?
Gatherer of the minds, creator of fearless challenges, I am the guy rallying together entrepreneurial specialists to help build something life-changing for the good of all. I most enjoy creative direction, company vision architecture, building friendships and new alliances for deployment of products and services, and listening to my team and molding the future.
Did entering in crypto space changed your life? If so, how?
Yes of course entering the crypto space as a startup, bootstrapping entrepreneur at the start of a massive bear run made me stronger than ever! You just do what you can with what tools you have on hand, and even baby step progress is forward motion. Our team has seen so much change over the last 4–5 years in the space, that we learned many of the mistakes by the example of failed ICO projects, and coins/tokens with no business sense or vision, and where they ended up.
Interesting! So, let’s jump to the project. If we understand correctly, Payment Porte is fast, affordable, and secure, online payment solutions, utilizing Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology. What unseen opportunities did you see that may result in making your startup a huge success?
We are building these solutions that we hope will positively affect the bottom line of businesses and the lives of individuals. One of the most important areas that we recognized as a massive pain point for enterprises needing payment solutions is quality customer service and personal client care. Many of the payment processors who have held a monopoly on customers have failed to offer quality 24/7 client services. Payment Porte will offer a boutique approach to user education, client services and benefits.
Well, that is great. In fact, there is a lot of company offering the same thing. Do you know who are your competitors?
We try not to focus our energies on what others are doing, outside of seeing some of them as industry architects and potential curators of interoperability. We see how strong Ripple has become in partnerships with central and commercial banks and partnering with major money transfer services. We see what our native network protocol Stellar has done with bringing adoption to large enterprises such as IBM’s network and also with offering a foundation for projects to build on like Payment Porte and PORTE token. There are many other wallet/payment projects using blockchain and others who are just fintech companies, we strive to bridge the best qualities of both.
But your current competitors have more money and resources. What prevents your current or potential competitors from pivoting and doing the same thing? Why do you believe that this startup is unique in comparison to its competitors?
Yes, this is certainly true. Payment Porte is just an early stage startup holding a torch in the night, where our peers who have been at it for many years have weathered the storms and have much of the easy capital cushions that flowed during 2017. We are entrepreneurial-minded, gritty and crafty. We are the new kids on the block that need to build up from hard money fundraising and building quality teams without having industry-standard capital for full-time commitments. This will make us resilient and ready to build one block at a time. We will also use that team/entrepreneur approach in creating an enterprise built on partnerships, alliances and resources, versus corporate hierarchy.
Ah, ok. Seems like you have a good idea behind the project. Tell us more about your non-profit PORTE token foundation?
Sure, we are still just an infant so the foundation is at ground level. We plan to build up our board of community-driven individuals who want to help us in Panama and Latin America to create education programs, and assist those in need of better living conditions. We have a lot of great ideas scribbled on paper that we plan to bring to life as our friendships and alliances grow! We are networking with the best organizations and new government to better shape the lives of Panamanians and bring new tech tools to better the country and its citizens.
And what about IEO you planning to hold in about 2 months? What are the details on that?
Yes, we are listing on two international exchanges that have been very supportive of startup projects and new token ecosystems. PORTE token is launching during a public sale IEO on Probit.com and exmarkets.com from August 19th-24th. The PORTE token is a true utility token that will be used on Paymentporte.com as use case and transfer of value for all on platform transactions.
Sounds great! Who are your partners and who would you like to partner with in the future?
We have strategic partnerships with; Chainzilla.io, appinventiv.com, buildblocks.io,
Chameleon pay wallet, ICOdesigner.com, DIYnucleo.io, and we are just starting to work on a new partnership and future support with CoolbitX hardware wallet. We desire to obviously work closer with Stellar’s SDF, and maybe even IBM or Red Hat at some point in the future?
In your opinion what makes your team members special?
As I mentioned before our team of quality entrepreneurial-minded advisors and core team members have a wealth of knowledge from many areas of business, and from private and public sectors. Our team has seen the best and worst of the crypto and blockchain/AI space, and steers our ship into the future of change, real adoption and functionality for our future products and services.
What is your next “big move”? What are you working on at this moment?
Well like most startups we are focused on the key foundational pillars of product development and fundraising. Our IEO is our first step of crowdfunding efforts, then we seek to align the project up with quality over quantity investors, who can share in increased incubation, value addition and assist in real growth and partnerships/MOU’s.
What is the biggest risk to the company?
The biggest risk for the company as a startup is lack of quality capital for product development, core team hiring and marketing and branding. It is always a risk when you are a small fish in a big pond! But there is nothing to fear, but fear itself, right? The biggest risk takers in our world are also the most rewarded for their efforts and fearlessness.
If you were an investor considering an investment in your company, what would be the biggest hesitation you would need to overcome?
If I were an investor in Payment Porte…which I am, I would share the need to tap into the vision of the founder, and this team of experienced advisors. I would need to look beyond the startup, and the lack of funds, and look towards our potential target market for real enterprise solutions, to real-world problems. To see the rewards of a token project that is morphing into a real Fintech enterprise with massive goals of disrupting traditional heritage business, and educating them on the positives of our future digital-friendly world!
Well, Jeff, we wish all the best with the project. Thank you for now and make sure to keep us updated.