Delivering mass payments in the corporate world – globally, quickly and efficiently – takes the right technology platform and the right network of financial institutions to pull off. That’s why global payments provider Hyperwallet teamed up with Western Union in a strategic partnership to leverage both players’ core capabilities. In an interview with MPD CEO Karen Webster, President and Chief Commercial Officer at Hyperwallet, Peter Burridge, and President of Western Union Business Solutions, Kerry Agiasotis, explained how the partnership would solve critical problems in the global mass payments space today, and what’s next on their roadmap.
KW: So we’re here today to chat about the news you guys made about a strategic relationship to bring innovation to the global mass payments marketplace. That’s an area of business that Hyperwallet specializes in, and Western Union being the global player it is moves money around the world every second of every day.
Kerry, in reading the news about this partnership, you suggested that this strategic relationship has enabled you to introduce a new way of delivering mass payments globally. What’s new about it?
KA: In many cases, moving money around the world is becoming increasingly challenging. If you think about global banking systems and the fast pace at which regulation is changing – this is building onto problems that already exist. On top of that, there are newer challenges that new economies are facing, having to deliver quick payments in masses, cross-border, in smaller values. That’s a whole new world of complexity.
Hyperwallet’s core capabilities offer advanced technologies to address some of these key challenges, delivering funds in the way consumers want them, and organizing and managing funds for corporates. Those technologies combined with our strengths in being a global financial institution that moves money around the world – it’s a very good mix of capabilities that we’re bringing to market.
KW: Peter, I’d love to get your perspective on the partnership and how it evolved. Give us a little context.
PB: This is the final product that we’ve been working on for some time now. When we look at our business [Hyperwallet’s], we sell our services to corporates; we’re not a P2P or C2C business in any sense. And these corporates have both domestic and international payment problems, such as controlling and recording bank instructions, for example, or securing various payment types. To solve these problems and pay people in a form they want to receive funds (onto a card, or into a bank account for example,) required us to make a big investment in our network and the payment options we’re plugging our technology into. When Hyperwallet expands our network, we go into a country, we open a bank account in our name, and we make sure we pass all of the compliance checks. Without the right resources, that can be very tedious and costly.
As a partner, Western Union solved two pretty big things for us: who is the person the corporate is paying? They made the process of securing, scanning, and screening the payee frictionless thanks to their global physical presence. Second, Western Union has a massive network – this enabled us to extend to long tail countries and add financial network redundancy in our bigger countries. So it’s just one plus one equals three.
KW: So Kerry, is this partnership one that gives Western Union Business Solutions the ability to go out and offer existing clients new capabilities, or to find new business that can leverage Hyperwallet technology?
KA: Yes, very much so. I can give you an example of an existing customer we have – the organization is part of a global eCommerce footprint. We’ve been working with them for a number of years to manage their high-value payments, and addressing exchange-related issues.
But they’ve got a number of parts to their business, and one of them has to do with being able to manage payments for services that a freelance community provides to them. This required us to really understand the space – how to receive the funds, where they were going, and how the people wanted to receive them. But when you’re talking about tens of thousands of people, that gets really complex.
Hyperwallet is a solution for that – the core technology gives the power back to the receiver to direct how they want to receive those funds, and lets them choose the bank account or payment type. That really reduces the overall complexity that we have historically had to manage. So this partnership now makes that service available to our customers, and I’m really excited about it.
KW: So Peter, you described a number of challenges in making mass payments real on a global basis. Is the ability to offer the consumer the choice of how they would like to receive payments at the top of the list? Is that the hardest piece of the puzzle to solve?
PB: Well, choice means that people can get paid. When you look at different industries they have different relationships with payees, some are very concerned about the global payment experience. For example, an organization sending a distributor their sales commissions – that payment piece is very connected to their overall business. The options we provide, receiver choice, and allowing people to get paid as quickly as possible with transparency, are key. The choice really does drive the solution in these verticals – in digital marketplaces, for example, they’re all paying 1099 workers (contractors); the ability to improve the payment experience for these people matters. Choice is what people expect, and Western Union helps us reach banks in some of these long tail countries that Hyperwallet doesn’t have access to already.
KW: I know you mentioned you’ve been working together for a number of years. So Peter and Kerry, what’s next? This is a significant strategic relationship designed to focus on a particular area of money movement around the world. What does the roadmap look like?
KA: The first release of the product is really focused on addressing those core issues we were talking about. For us, also, key considerations were finding a partner with a technology that plugged into our environment and ecosystem as they were. It was really critical that we could continue to leverage our core strengths in treasury management, plugging into our global banking infrastructure to automate our compliance systems and processes, and addressing foreign exchange concerns. Hyperwallet really did stand out in the marketplace in being able to do that.
We then dug a little further and understood the broader capabilities – that’s when it started to really make sense. Today, we’re talking about in meshing the core strengths of both Western Union and the Hyperwallet platform.
PB: So Western Union has obviously got something quite unique in that it allows us [Hyperwallet] to use their rails to transfer money as well as their agent locations to verify payees. We’re just really focused on leveraging our technology with Western Union, and continuing to build our network and give our clients more choice. It’s good for everybody.
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President & Chief Commercial Officer, Hyperwallet
Peter Burridge is the President and Chief Commercial Officer of Hyperwallet Systems Inc. Specializing in global business, enterprise marketing and sales, foreign exchange trading, business management and strategy, Burridge strives for excellence in his every endeavor. He is currently in charge of managing aspects of customer engagement, as well as marketing, sales and account management; he also handles financial and strategic planning initiatives, and product marketing and capital planning.
Burridge has achieved outstanding success holding executive positions across the globe for many years. Having started his career in the Software Industry, he moved to the Financial Services industry in 2006 as the CEO Travelex Global Business Payments, based in London. Prior to moving to London, Burridge ran major Software Businesses (Oracle and then Siebel) across Asia Pacific and Japan. He was President of Siebel Asia Pacific and Japan during which time he was a Section 16 officer of this NASDAQ listed company. During his career, Mr. Burridge has managed complex M&A challenges ranging from Oracle’s aggressive acquisition of PeopleSoft in 2005, through to his time at Travelex where the business made a $440 million acquisition of Ruesch in 2007.
President, Western Union Business Solutions
As President of Western Union Business Solutions (WUBS), Kerry Agiasotis is responsible for leading the continued growth and expansion of all WUBS products and services worldwide. He reports directly to President and CEO Hikmet Ersek.
Previously, Agiasotis was Senior Vice President of Global Sales for WUBS. In this role, Agiasotis led the sales activities of more than 900 sales professionals accountable for generating all of WUBS revenues worldwide. Agiasotis has been with the company since 2006 through the acquisition of Travelex Global Business Payments (TGBP) and has held roles of increasing responsibility, including Regional Divisional Director for TGBP in Asia Pacific and Head of Global Sales Strategy and Operations and Regional Divisional Director in Asia Pacific.
In addition, Agiasotis has held a number of senior management roles with both Oracle Corporation and Siebel Systems selling Business Intelligence and CRM solutions.
Agiasotis holds an Executive MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.