FintekNews is pleased to offer our readers our “3 Questions With…” column, where we chat with a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Marwan Forsley of Veem, a global payments company built for small businesses reaching 96 countries including US, Canada and Asian markets.
NAME: Marwan Forzley
WEB ADDRESS: https://www.veem.com/
How do you feel consumers (or if more relevant to your firm, businesses) are adapting to the facet of fintech that your company operates within?
The legacy banking industry has consistently taken advantage of small businesses. Whether it’s outrageous foreign exchange rates on global payments, unnecessary fees, or loss of funds, small business owners have fallen prey to an outdated system that doesn’t keep their needs in mind.
But, they haven’t had much of a choice. Large financial institutions around the world have monopolized the processes business owners need to keep their operations running. For example, most cross border payments processed by banks travel over the SWIFT network: a 40 year old, broken system that has historically lost and delayed transfers around the world.
Business owners have craved change in the global payments space for too long.
As global payments processors like Veem began to challenge this system, it was like a breath of fresh air. Some business owners welcomed the idea of a personalized global payments processor, while others were a bit hesitant.
Banking institutions are very good at instilling confidence in their processes, even if they don’t merit it. There’s a secure feeling of walking into a building protected by locked doors, walls and safes. It can be hard for some people to imagine that same security from fintech companies operating online. But, change is coming.
What has been the biggest success of your firm to date?
Since 2014, Veem has grown from zero to a global network of 100,000 businesses in more than 95 countries. This is great for the fintech industry largely, but is also a sign of growing acceptance and trust in our platforms, and a growing distaste for legacy financial institutions
Our growth has been by far our biggest success. But, growth doesn’t just mean company size. We’ve grown in many ways in the past few years, and each of them contributes to Veem as we know it today.
Google Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, TrendForward, Kleiner Perkins, Pantera, and many more have been vital to our growth through our first two funding rounds.
Recently, and importantly, we raised $25M in a funding round lead by Goldman Sachs. This funding was not only crucial to Veem’s growth and expansion, but also to our identity.
As mentioned before, some business owners find it hard to leave their established bank after working with them for so long, regardless of the issues they’ve encountered. Being backed by organizations as recognizable and established in the finance industry as Goldman Sachs, has allowed us to grow in ways and avenues we would have never thought possible.
Since then, Veem has grown to 100,000 customers in more than 95 countries, and has most recently expanded to service businesses in Canada. This rate of growth isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
In all, that has been our biggest success. Raising funds, building our teams, and expanding our reach is all in an effort to help as many businesses around the world with simple payments.
What do you believe the next major innovation in financial technology will be and why?
There are some great technological innovations coming out of the fintech industry, especially when it comes to international payments. Blockchain technology, however, will surpass them all.
The use of blockchain as a medium for exchange is nothing new, especially considering the Bitcoin explosion and subsequent fall between 2017 and 2018. Everyone from Alibaba to Kodak has either tried or succeeded in implementing blockchain technology in the secure and distributed exchange of information and assets.
As Bitcoin continues to fall, blockchain rises to the surface as the technological innovation to outlive this bubble. As adoption expands and innovation ramps up, we’re going to see uses of blockchain technology like none we could have imagined. We’re already seeing it in healthcare, supply chain management, and data security.
Fintech has the advantage of being Ground Zero for blockchain. It began as an innovative, distributed currency transfer system for cryptocurrencies, and has continually progressed in this area.
At Veem, we saw the potential of blockchain technology to help small businesses back in 2014. The speed, low cost, and unrivaled security of distributed ledger technology simply cannot be challenged by today’s financial institutions, let alone yesterday’s.
We’re going to see blockchain technology take off. As cryptocurrency values fall, blockchain will find itself implemented in the exchange of fiat currencies, and will revolutionize the exchange of funds globally. The cost and time spent to transfer funds will become so miniscule, that legacy bank’s models of revenue generation (high FX rates, outrageous fees, etc.) will become obsolete.
If our current institutions don’t take advantage of this technology, they will find themselves to far behind to catch up.
As for fintech, we’re way ahead of the curve.
Marwan Forzley is the co-founder and CEO of Veem, a global payments company helping small businesses transfer money internationally, and author of “Small Business in a Big World: A Comprehensive Guide to Doing International Business”. Forzley is a thought leader in global finance, innovating the space through disruptive technologies like blockchain.