Americans can take online shopping for granted because it is so ubiquitous. Almost any legal good or service is available to them with nothing more than the click of a button.
eCommerce is not so easy in many other parts of the world, however. In South America, for example, a complicated bureaucracy and the lack of developed infrastructure combine to make buying and selling online a very complex process for merchants.
Or at least it was until recently.
Enter Henrique Dubugras, Pedro Franceschi and Henrique Coelho- two Brazilian high school students and a 23-year-old elder statesman who co-founded a company with the modest goal of changing the face of payments in their home country.
The pair recently were in Boston to present their company, Pagar.Me, at the Innovators Expo at Innovation Project 2014, and they made a big splash. Despite a very impressive slate of competitors at the expo, Pagar.Me stood out and was voted Best In Show.
The $25,000 cash grant they took home with them will go toward further developing their start-up, a software-as-a-service application that allows Brazilian merchants to easily accept direct payments on their websites.
PYMNTS.com caught up with Pagar.me’s youthful founders at the expo shortly before the Best In Show award was announced. Dubugras noted that that the business grew from their desire to solve a problem, namely to reduce the staggering number of steps merchants must complete just to take a simple credit card payment in Brazil.
(Jump to: 0:44) “It’s a really tough process. You have to affiliate yourself with an acquirer; that’s pretty bureaucratic,” Dubugras said. “You have to hire a payment gateway; you have to hire a bank; you have to hire a third party anti-fraud system and a third party reconciliation service. That whole process takes two or three months and, if you’re a merchant, you just want to start receiving payments right now.”
Pagar.me aims to be that “right now” solution for merchants. The company essentially acts as the digital intermediary between merchants and the bureaucracy in that, through its software, online retailers are ready to accept payments as soon as they sign up for an account with Pagar.me.
While there are other services in Brazil that allow merchants to accept payments, only Pagar.me allows it to happen in-site. It is important for merchants not to be forced to send their customers to other parts of the Web while shopping on their sites, Duburgas said.
(Jump to 2.49)”Real merchants, they want to seem professional with a check-out inside their website, with their own form, not PayPal’s form or some other form,” he said.
Though Pagar.me is new to the market, it already has completed an initial venture round for an amount they declined to disclose. The founders are only slightly older than their company – well, not really, but Dubugras is only 18 and Franceschi is just 17 – but they are not inexperienced, if they say so themselves.
(Jump to 3.47)“We’ve programmed since we were kids, I’ve programmed since I was 12, Pedro since he was nine,” said Dubugras said. “We already knew how to code [the software] and then we learned how to do payments and everything. We saw there was a huge opportunity in Brazil to do this.”
And doing it they are. However, not content to merely overachieve, they are also planning for additional education stateside.
To hear our whole interview with the Pagar.Me’s boy genius founders, click here.
*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.