ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: FIDESMO
Have you ever paid with a bracelet or a keyring before? Well, we have a Lighthouse alumni who allows you to do just that. Fidesmo is a Swedish tech company founded in 2013, that is on a mission “to make the world more contactless.” With one of their services, Fidesmo Pay, based on tokenization technology, it is possible to leave your wallet at home and instead choose one of their device partners wearables to tap and pay. We sat down with founder and CEO Mattias Eld to discuss their journey and progress since we saw them last in the fall edition of 2018.
Fidesmo has really stayed true to its core technical platform,
“We integrate with different systems that are in need of secure contactless credentials. We manage the special chips, in a secure way, but then it can manifest itself in different ways.”
Founder & CEO
On the surface, Eld notes that it looks like a lot has changed, but in fact their initial platform has stayed the same. When they started, they were approached by a few watch brands that asked, “could you just shrink this card and put it into a watch strap” and have since then worked with Mastercard, Samsung and others on other applications of a card. With Mastercard, the fintech took their core platform, worked with the same chip but with a different antenna and together with Mastercard got all the certifications in place. At the end of the day, their initial platform has allowed them to be very flexible and grow with their clients over time.
Fidesmo has had a great relationship with Mastercard from the start, so participating in the Lighthouse Program was a natural endeavor for them. They were, however, also looking to broaden their network within the banking industry, as they wanted to grow their connection with their supply issuers: banks. “The benefit is that we got this network of issuing banks throughout the Nordics and Baltics and since then it has intensified; we are working more and more with them,” shares Eld. Ultimately, the Lighthouse program helped them with their goal of building partnerships with other banks and emerged from the program with three partnerships, one of which was with Mastercard. Today, the vision with Fidesmo Pay is to enable consumers to #leaveyourwallet at home with a wearable as a payment alternative. Fidesmo will also be releasing a new project in the upcoming months called “Fidesmo Go!” related to a public transportation payment solution.
The main payment trend Eld sees is that contactless is growing. “It has been mandated in Europe since January 2020 that payment solutions should be able to support contactless payments by both Mastercard and Visa. So the infrastructure is there, everyone has a contactless card and all the POS sustems support contactless cards,” he shares. The Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated the trend as more people want to avoid touching terminals. Eld continues by explaining that they make payments faster, more secure and more convenient. When consumers get used to it, Eld explains that it gets easier to go over to other kinds of devices as well. In other words, it doesn’t need to be a card and the form factor can be much more fluid and that is of course important for Fidesmo.
As for the pandemic’s impact on Fidesmo, Eld shares they have not been impacted much since a lot of their projects with bigger players have been more long term focused. While discussing other challenges, Eld says, “Fidesmo is really working as a connector between a few different large players. It could be Mastercard or public transit in different markets on one side and on the other working with wearable manufacturers usually based on hardware. So we have large organizations on one side and hardware on the other, and these are slow moving organizations.” A lot of decisions need to be made before a big impact can be made. “That is also why our network is so important and that every connection we make can be reused. These large organizations want to work with us because they know the process takes time and that we can reduce time for everyone else with our network. In that sense, our network is our biggest asset.”
The future looks bright for Fidesmo, as all around Europe, the demand for contactless payments is rising rapidly. A greater portion of the population now uses a contactless card, partially as a result of people having access to digital cards on their phones, as well the coronavirus pandemic. CEO Mattias Eld believes that there will soon be more of a shift to wearables once everybody is familiar with contactless payments. We look forward to seeing Fidesmo continue to grow and break into new markets.