How a Fintech Builds Partnerships

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Guest Blog by Paul Birkness, Co-Founder and CEO, Pungle




Building technology solutions for payment acquiring is a difficult challenge. Great solutions require market insight, advanced architecture and modern design. But beyond the technology itself, a fintech provider must be adept at working within the complex ecosystem of the payments industry. A successful fintech will utilize the partners, tools and systems available to them. A leading fintech will realize that collaboration and cooperation from some of the leaders in our industry will help foster growth and success.


Understanding the ecosystem


The most important part of being a successful player within the financial services industry is understanding the players in the ecosystem. That means understanding the roles, responsibilities and interests of each stakeholder. Industry newcomers often mistake companies’ roles; what is an issuer versus an acquirer, a bank versus a network, or a gateway versus a processor? It starts with learning the terminology, however, it isn’t enough to know what a company is – you need to understand what is important to them. A stakeholder analysis should be used to review the opportunity through the partner’s lens. What are they trying to accomplish, what will they eschew and how will they measure success? Then, tailor your plans to ensure you meet their needs. If you appreciate the partner’s goals and needs, they will be far more willing to support the opportunity.


In our business, we listened to the partners who expressed the importance of secure data and secure transactions. We were building a cloud-based architecture and wanted to ensure we met everyone’s needs for a secure environment. We found reliable partners to support us, and we invested in people, processes and tools to make sure we built a strong data security framework.


Take advantage of those who are willing to help


As most start-ups are aware, success often comes when you win that first big deal. When a start-up signs a key reference client, it’s typically an inflection point to drive growth. In the fintech space, often it’s finding key partnerships that take you to the next level. However, many fintech start-ups don’t take advantage of the opportunities around them. To do so requires investing time and effort to connect with people in the industry and have open dialogues. A successful fintech can’t be shy about asking for help and should keep their eyes open for those who offer a helping hand, share insights, and lean in to your business.


At Pungle, we were lucky to  connect and  collaborate with Visa in the early stages of building our platform. We became involved with the Visa Developer Community and started using the wealth of tools, capabilities and knowledge that it offered within the Visa Developer Platform. More so, we found individuals at Visa Canada who were willing to offer their time, knowledge,  experience and network to help us build relationships with other partners.



Find partners who are the right fit


Once you identify the types of players that you want to work with, understand their roles and their needs, and get connected through people willing to help, it’s important to forge partnerships with companies who are the right fit for your business.  A good partner should share similar values, and their vision and strategy should include or support the opportunity that you’re after. You should have a common goal for the future that includes your solution. A great partner will show leadership in helping drive change and create opportunities for growth. The partner you choose should have the drive, flexibility and willingness to invest resources to support your initiative.


Alongside Visa, we have partnered      with strong acquiring and bank partners. Once they committed to our business opportunity, they provided time and resources to get the business launched. We are lucky to have partnered with companies that have the vision and leadership to make it happen.


Building a tech start-up is a challenge. Building a fintech comes with even greater hurdles like regulation, licensing, and security requirements. A successful fintech will quickly realize that they cannot stand alone in this market. Finding      a way to work within the payments ecosystem with the right partners to help you get there is the formula for success.


The Pungle payments platform


Pungle leverages various AWS services and technologies in order to deliver highly available and highly reliable real-time payment services via Visa Direct in partnership with its acquiring financial institution. Pungle provides its clients with proprietary real-time fraud prevention services and real-time data analysis using AWS services. In particular, we use SQS, Kinesis, KMS and Auto Scale amongst other services in order to process high volume payments in a secure cloud environment. Other technologies in our stack include Elixir, Golang, Scala, and Kafka.


About the author


Paul Birkness is co-founder and CEO at Pungle. Paul is an innovation professional with a background in strategy and business consulting. Prior to starting Pungle, Paul managed the PSiGate acquiring business and started the prepaid issuing business at Home Trust. Before that, Paul held various marketing, business development, and strategy roles at Moneris Solutions, 724 Solutions, and Deloitte. Paul is a Chartered Accountant with an MBA from the Schulich School of Business and a BA from the University of Western Ontario.


Contact details:

Twitter: @pbirk1



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