Kintsugi: the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer containing gold, silver or platinum dust, taking something fragmented and making it whole, smooth and beautiful.
That’s what Toronto startup nanopay wants to do with instant payments, particularly cross-border transactions. There are many different platforms for sending payments, and not all of them play nicely together.
This fragmentation of payments infrastructure creates a disjointed end user experience. Even within the U.S., noted nanopay Founder and CEO Laurence Cooke, banks have a choice between Zelle and the Clearinghouse, and the fragmentation is more severe in less developed economies.
Cooke said it shouldn’t matter where international payments are initiated, which rails they’re on or where they end up. But today, if a customer’s bank has chosen different payment rails than the bank where the customer wants to send money, it becomes complicated and difficult to send funds. That, said Cooke, should not be the customer’s problem.
“As far as they’re concerned, they want to send money, and it should just magically happen,” Cooke said.
The startup is all about making that magic happen by simplifying the process for banks so they can then extend that simplified experience to end users. It has just connected with rails in Canada and India so that any customer of any of each country’s 200 banks can transfer funds to any other customer at any of those banks, regardless of which rails the bank is using.
Cooke said the approach has enabled nanopay to work with all of the banks in each country rather than signing each one on individually, which would only further worsen the fragmentation issue.
The startup has its sights on the U.S. next, with two new senior executives to help with the expansion: Chief Risk Officer Amir Sunderji, formerly of YapStone, Fiserv and CashEdge, and Chief Revenue Officer Nilesh Dusane, formerly of Ripple.
Cooke said nanopay is starting with international payments, but that its end goal is to provide instant payments solutions as a service to smaller banks and credit unions at a lower cost than what is currently available, so that those smaller financial institutions can integrate with Zelle and the Clearinghouse to do real-time payments in the U.S.