Harness the potential of emerging markets with PayFuture

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The world’s emerging markets represent approximately 85% of the world’s population, offer their most attractive economic growth rates and are characterized by a growing middle class with real purchasing power. Why don’t companies in more developed markets target customers in these countries?

The answer, say the founders of British fintech PayFuture, is not that Western companies don’t want to sell in emerging markets, but that it is often impossible for them to do so. The demand for their products and services is there – and growing rapidly – ​​but the practicalities of meeting that demand, and in particular getting paid, hamper opportunity.

The emergence of online retail has solved the problem of how to reach new markets in recent years, points out PayFuture co-founder and CEO Manpreet Haer. But actually closing the sale and getting paid is another matter. “If you want to enter these markets, you have to offer local payment types and that’s something that many companies just aren’t set up to do,” he cautions.

PayFuture’s ability to solve this problem has seen it grow remarkably rapidly since its launch in 2019 – despite having no funding from outside investors, with the fintech founders initiating development themselves.

The company now offers payment services in more than 40 countries and is on track to support $2 billion in transactions this year. It’s been in the black since its debut, grossing $4.3 million in 2020, its first full year in business, hitting $11.1 million last year.

Growth appears to be continuing on this trajectory. For 2022, PayFuture now expects profits to at least double, and it has been recruiting at a brisk pace to support its expansion. The company’s workforce has grown from 14 people in 2021 to more than 70 today.

The company’s unique selling point is its ability to connect merchants in developed markets to multiple local payment solutions in the emerging markets they currently serve. It offers access to more than 30 of these markets around the world.

“It’s about solving a problem that hasn’t been solved before,” adds Haer. “We want to be the bridge between merchants and these emerging markets to help them gain valuable access to growth territories, but in a safe and secure way.”

PayFuture now has customers in the UK, mainland Europe and North America, says Haer, although it also works with companies selling from one emerging market to another. Digital service sectors such as education technology, travel and online gaming are a particular target; the company has also had discussions with online retailers, although these companies have proven slower in embracing emerging markets given the complexity of logistics and fulfillment.

As well as ensuring the free flow of payments, PayFuture also offers services to help customers set up shop in emerging markets for the first time – helping them overcome bureaucracy and red tape such as the need to set up local entities, for example. It can also support payments to emerging markets where needed.

The company began by focusing on India, long seen as an engine of global economic growth – and economists now expect it to become the world’s third largest economy by 2030. But the key has been to be led by where customers want to do business. , Haer adds. “It’s ultimately what traders tell us that has determined where we grow,” he says. “They tell us where they want to do business and we aim to help them get there.”

In doing so, fintech is something of a beacon, providing early evidence of emerging markets where international companies see the most opportunities. Haer points to Southeast Asia as a region in particular demand, especially Pakistan and Bangladesh. East Africa also attracts many traders, he says, with Kenya and Tanzania in particular.

The company believes there is still a lot of growth to be had and will continue to market the ease of connections it offers to popular payment methods in each region. Its business model depends on taking a small commission on transactions going through these connections.

“As Internet usage grows in these regions, the opportunity for e-commerce merchants to enter these new markets and find previously untapped growth markets also increases,” says Haer.

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