Fintech in Atlanta #5 - Interview with Steve Vickers, CEO of Thunes
1. Tell us about your company Thunes.
We are a global interoperable payments network which enables our customers to move funds in and out of emerging countries seamlessly and in real-time, while supporting both local and global payment methods. In essence, we make financial services accessible to everyone. Through our network, our partners are able to effortlessly transfer funds between different payment systems in more than 80 countries and 60 currencies. By making payments across multiple platforms easier, we want to build a community of connectivity and drive the adoption of digital payments around the world, especially for emerging markets. This will ensure that the 1.7 billion people who are currently financially excluded have access to digital financial services globally.
2. What pain points are you trying to address?
Businesses and consumers are facing a number of challenges when transacting with overseas counter parties in emerging markets. The first of these is that payments infrastructure systems remain fragmented. Our interoperable grid allows Mobile Wallets – that are heavily used in parts of APAC, Africa, and LatAm – to interconnect readily with bank accounts, for example. In addition, we offer near real-time payments flow, improving end user satisfaction and service adoption.
Customers can access our platform through a simple API integration, and with that limited resource investment they can access our full global platform providing interoperability with financial systems in more than 80 countries. This hugely increases the time and effort required to reach these hard to access geographies.
3. What is your edge over other cross border payments platforms?
A strong global network of payment providers and our focus on emerging markets that allows our partners to facilitate the faster, cheaper, more efficient transfer of funds between markets that are hard to reach are what sets us apart from others.
More importantly, we recognise that digital payments play a critical role towards financial inclusion and this has informed our objective, to grow an ecosystem of payment providers, bringing different payment interfaces together so we can help move funds efficiently for everyone around the world.
For example, we link up PayPal and mPesa payment methods in Kenya. Before our solution, mPesa mobile wallet users could not input their funds directly into a PayPal account. Now with the help of Thunes, it is a simple matter for the mPesa mobile wallet user in Kenya to push funds directly into their PayPal account anywhere around the world. Critically, this allows the mPesa user in Kenya to participate in the global digital economy, making payments for services rendered or online shopping. The connectivity we provide enables our partners to push funds to many hard to reach geographies across emerging countries, and this helps to give us the edge over other cross-border payment
Additionally, our real-time transactions are key for some of our partners whose users depend on instant payments for their daily lives. For example, one of the things that makes us distinctive is mass payouts for companies that need to pay thousands of employees and providers abroad. We have already seen significant growth in this area and anticipate it will continue to increase at a rapid rate. As you can see, we are able to handle financial transactions for all purposes, delivering a seamless experience which helps build trust. This is why our partners rely on us for their business needs.
4. How exactly does Thunes work? Can you tell us, in simplest terms, what the startup does? How does the platform make profit?
To put it simply, we help money transfer operators, mobile wallet providers, merchants and corporates move money across borders and different payment systems. While there are some slight variations in terms of how they work, Thunes serves as the conduit for businesses and end-users of digital wallets for the movement of money. Think of us as a bus interchange. One needs to get from point A to point B. However, there are no direct routes from A to B, and they would need to change buses at an interchange in order to get to their destination. In this context, Thunes acts like a bus interchange which helps get people from point A to B, with minimal fuss.
Regarding the question on our business model, we charge a fee basis per transaction, and also earn small increments on the FX spread. We have a full treasury and FX trading department in-house responsible for managing our FX rates and daily purchases.
About the interviewee
Steve Vickers is a strategic business advisor with 25+ years’ experience between Europe, USA, and APAC. Passionate about leveraging technology to help companies capture new opportunities, he joined Thunes in August 2018, to lead the business expansion and transformation of the enterprise as a pure play fintech organisation. Steve has worked for Xiaomi, Grab, Navteg/Nokia and McKinsey & Company amongst others, has an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, and a BSc from Oxford University.
Thunes is a B2B cross-border payments network for emerging markets. It is headquartered in Singapore with regional offices in London and New York.
Our global platform provides seamless transfer of funds between payment systems in more than 80 countries and 60 currencies, enabling mobile wallet providers, technology companies, PSPs, money transfer operators and banks to make financial services accessible worldwide.
For more information visit www.thunes.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fintech in Atlanta
“Fintech in Atlanta” aims to showcase the fintech scene in Atlanta by interviewing C-level executives and entrepreneurs to talk about the growth of the industry, and how they contribute to the rapid development in the region.
Dubbed as the “Transaction Alley”, Atlanta’s thriving fintech industry continues to seek for a demandof talents in the fintech and payments industry. Payments & Cards Network extended our footprints two years ago and set up our U.S. office in Atlanta to serve the fintech community by helping companies to connect with fintech talents in the region.