“A couple of years ago, everyone was talking about integrated payments,” WePay CEO Bill Clerico told Karen Webster in a recent conversation. “Now people aren’t just talking about it – they are doing it and focusing in on it.”
That can only mean one thing: The old model of resellers and hardware and using ISOs to acquire SMB merchants is ceding to one that has payments fully embedded into the software these SMBs use to run their businesses. Conversations about terminals and rate cards are starting to become a thing of the past – and banks are no longer the first stop these SMBs are making to get connected to payments. Instead, SMBs are opening up new dialogues with the software platforms that are core to their business: accounting and eCommerce shopping carts, to name just two.
For WePay, whose business is integrating payments into those software platforms, those conversations have driven the growth of their business since its founding. For others, Clerico says, it’s “an upending discussion,” simply because SMBs find it more economical and efficient to get all they need to run their businesses, including payments acceptance, from one source.
With those big shifts come big challenges, which is why Clerico says there’s been so much M&A and activity in the sector, and why he suspects there will likely be a lot more on the way.
This includes acquisitions like JPMorgan’s of WePay, which was first announced in October and was finalized yesterday (Dec. 4).
In conjunction with that news, WePay also announced its first new deal as a Chase company: eCommerce firm Volusion will deploy a new payments service called Volusion Payments, powered by Chase with WePay. Volusion has 30,000 active SMBs and a cumulative $28 billion in sales.
It was a big day, Clerico told Webster – and the start of what will likely be a very big year.
The “Best Funded Startup In Silicon Valley”
Much of the next 18 months, Clerico told Webster, will be an exercise in thinking bigger – much bigger than they ever have before.
“For us, it’s really a shift in mindset over the next 18 months, as we are doubling our team and thinking much more broadly in terms of impact and results. The good news is that we now have the backing and resources necessary to do that.”
With four million small business customers behind it, Clerico noted that Chase not only grows the scale and scope of WePay’s purview, but also accelerates the conversations and partnerships they are able to pursue.
The Volusion deal, Clerico said, is just one example of that, as WePay has broadened its focus over the last couple of years. What began as group payments evolved to crowdfunding and enabling payments for marketplace sites. In the last two or three years, the firm has honed its focus as an integrated payments solution for a variety of SMB platforms – from accounting software like FreshBooks to email platforms like Constant Contact. An eCommerce platform like Volusion, Clerico said, is the next evolution – and having Chase to back WePay’s technology has only accelerated those conversations.
The Road Ahead
Clerico noted that among the more exciting things for WePay as 2018 approaches is thinking about all the “cool things” that WePay will be able to do as a Chase company, including expanding its services and enabling faster settlements.
“[Chase] customers are definitely excited about having a modern technology platform to power integrated payments on software platforms – that is something Chase is hearing repeatedly in conversations with their SMB customers, and something we are very excited to be a part of," said Clerico.