ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: SOFTPAY
“In the last 20 years, we have worked a lot within services around payments. We started a company called Storebox – one of the largest suppliers of digital receipt solutions in the Nordic region – and often had problems integrating payment checkpoints. That is when we started Softpay.”
Co-Founder and Part Owner of Softpay
In an interview with Jacob Aisen, successful entrepreneur, co-founder and part owner of the Danish fintech Softpay, Aisen discussed the origins of Softpay, the future of the payments industry and his advice to other fintech founders.
Seeing the opportunity to follow Google, Visa and Mastercard in providing payment terminals as pure software, Aisen and his colleagues at Softpay bought back a company they had started many years ago called Unwire, a mobile mobility and payments platform employing around 70 people. “We then took 25 people from that team and told them we were going to do something new,” he shared. After organizing a team experienced in developing innovative payment solutions and after investing €3m themselves, Softpay was born.
Within a matter of minutes, Softpay customers are able to integrate contactless online payments onto any device and easily use their devices as payment terminals in their businesses. The company participated in the Lighthouse Program this spring, 2020, with the ambition to work closer with our partner banks. The fintech also recently announced €3m in investment from a few selected private investors, which will be used to expand their product development team.
While discussing rising trends in the industry, Aisen noted the shift in merchant perspective. Merchants no longer feel the same sense of fear around potential instability of trying new payment providers. “Many other large payment companies often say they know the ‘good old stuff’, which has worked for many years and customers have felt very locked to a payment provider, but we now see a shift.” In other words, many large merchants are willing to try something new.
Businesses are also requiring more and are thinking ahead of payment companies when it comes to services. Retailers need to be much more service-oriented in order to compete with the internet and online shopping. Seeing these trends, Softpay is working on solutions to meet the new merchant demand to have relationships with their customers.
“They want to integrate payment into more services. For example, when you go to a supermarket and you want to scan the goods yourself, payments should be much more integrated. When it comes to how you service customers in a shop, they increasingly like the potential for a salesperson to walk around a store and complete a purchase with a customer without needing to walk back to an old, fixed cashier system.”
A true entrepreneur at heart, Aisen also shared a few words of wisdom for his fellow founders in the fintech ecosystem. While discussing the realities of building a company and potential exit strategies available, he shared,
“We always say that we never build a company to sell it, because then you have the wrong focus. Then you start to do timelines and never manage to do the product and get the customers exactly on time. If you start a company based on the idea that it should be sold, you are not doing the best you can do for the future. You are doing things basically optimized for timing, but not for the future. We build a company because we love the products.”
Having declined many offers to be acquired, Softpay still wants to focus on building quality solutions and are instead more open to buying other companies to find missing parts and solutions. With the recent investment Softpay has secured, the team is growing and looking to expand into more markets and secure more partners.