Once a week we catch up with a trending Latvian startup, check in with their progress and future plans. This week's guest: automated e-commerce payments for business Swipe.
About Swipe: Swipe eliminates three pains that plague most online transactions: (1) for the buyer, the payment is as simple as swiping their Visa or MasterCard, (2) for the merchant funds arrive fast and without hefty charges, (3) for both, recurring payments do not interrupt their day: no need for annoying follow-ups and no fines for missed payments.
Questions answered by Swipe.lv development manager Reinis Ābiķis
- How many clients do you have and how are their numbers growing?
160 clients have signed up, but not all of them are actively using the service yet. There are legal procedures that cannot always be made as convenient as one would wish.
User growth is good. A lot of small Latvian companies find our application themselves, there is also notable interest from the West. We have even observed that London market is much more ready to adapt our solution than Latvia, even though the trend to experiment beyond traditional banking services is on the rise here, too.
Our observation is that an average Latvian with a bank card is ready to send and pay for an invoice worth of €50, using Swipe.
For 2016 we are planning to integrate our services in some of the big Latvian companies and grow the number of clients to 500. In the nearest future we are planning to make Swipe available across the world throughout a free-invoicing solution where companies could gather all their client information, automatic subscriptions and all the information about the sent invoices. This would be a free service from us with the idea to appear everywhere in the world, gather the right range of clients, to monitor them and to offer them some freemium services at some point.
- Who are your competitors?
In Latvia there’s a company called OpusCapita that offers rekini.lv, which isn’t really a FinTech solution but also focuses on invoicing. People in Latvia also use services provided by FirstData that offers payment modules for web pages. There is also a company called Stripe.com which is based in Dublin.
The scene is hot, but each solution is focusing on different services, so there is a wide range of competitors and opportunities at the same time. The biggest interest for Swipe comes from B2C companies, particularly from nonbank lenders and companies for whom it is really important to make the payments easier and faster. We see that our focus on fast and easy invoicing service catering to the needs of SMEs and B2C companies is the right direction to go to win a slice of the pie.
- Which countries are you planning to expand in first? What about the recent business dinner with FICIL?
We clearly see ourselves in Western Europe as well as USA, but at the moment we are slowed down by legislation, anti-fraud laws, stolen card data. And yes, France is really interested in our services, but we have to do the paperwork before any practical moves.
- What are your next major improvements planned for the service?
We are planning to functionally and safely integrate a service where the client can choose if their money is drawn from their card to pay an invoice automatically or after some time.
We are launching a public API code to be used by other programmers and developers so they can build around their own products and develop the technology. This is something we have taken as an example from the West where startups let other fintech enthusiasts try what you have created and develop the industry together.
- How are you planning to create your service more mainstream between businesses?
Our vision is not only to be a platform for services but also to become a movement which helps the new companies develop in Latvia. Latvia is a great incubator for start-ups to test their products and businesses, and we are the right service to remove some of the startup pain.